Wendi Bixby backed for Rhinelander finance director
Financial assistant/payroll specialist position may go unfilled
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee wants the vacant city finance director/treasurer position to be filled from within.
Committee members voted Thursday in favor of hiring current city financial assistant/payroll specialist Wendi Bixby to the position at $30.29 an hour for an annual salary of $63,003. If approved by the full City Council at Monday’s meeting, Bixby’s pay would increase from the current $20.08 an hour and $39,156 annually.
Bixby would replace Julie Ostrander, who began working for the city of Rhinelander in October 2008 and left as finance director in May to begin a new position as the director of administration for the city of Lodi in south central Wisconsin.
Rhinelander interim city administrator Keith Kost said he and Mayor Dick Johns conducted interviews for the finance director/treasurer position.
“We had some good candidates, we even had some candidates with MBAs, but Wendi has knowledge of what needs to be done,” Kost said. “Julie left on May 12. Wendi and (finance assistant/utility billing) Beth (Mannikko) have both stepped up. We haven’t missed a beat whatsoever, so it’s my recommendation that you promote Wendi to the finance director/treasurer, and I think she can handle it without any problem.”
Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier said the payroll specialist position had been part-time, and it was difficult retaining someone for that position, so by making the payroll specialist a full-time position, that person took on some duties in the finance department, above and beyond payroll.
“That kind of worked out perfect this time,” Pelletier said.
Upon Bixby becoming the finance director/treasurer, committee members agreed with a recommendation from Kost to leave the financial assistant/payroll specialist position vacant for the time being.
Kost noted the person taking over as his administrative assistant at the end of July, Stephanie Rajnicek, is from Muskego in southeast Wisconsin where she has done all of the payroll for that city, as well as human resource duties.
“For the time being I feel we should not fill the position and see if that is something Stephanie can do and we can combine a couple positions here,” Kost said. “And if that does work, then I can come back and ask for a little more work for her. The other thing I looked at is possibly even outsourcing the payroll position. I talked to Wendi, and we can get through this, as we have before.”
Rajnicek will be replacing Kathy Johnson, who retired in May as the administrative assistant.
Kost said he doesn’t see a reason to immediately post and fill the financial assistant/payroll specialist position.
“I’d like to get a couple months under our belt and see where we’re at,” Kost said.
“I like that,” Pelletier said in response. “It gives us a lot of opportunities and flexibility.”