Council sets special meeting for Oct. 23 on city administrator
Keith Kost’s contract to expire Dec. 31
BY KEVIN BONESKE
With less than three months left on Keith Kost’s contract as Rhinelander’s interim city administrator, the City Council agreed Monday to schedule a special meeting for Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. to consider what to do about the position in the future.
The special meeting was set at the suggestion of the city’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee.
“Given the fact that it is not only budget time, but also it’s pretty close time-wise…no matter what direction we’re looking at going,” said Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier. “It’s time to bring it to the table.”
The employment agreement between the city and Kost pays him an annual salary of $51,000, which is based on a part-time schedule for Kost of three days per week, and runs through Dec. 31. However, the contract could also end sooner by either party providing at least 60 days’ written notice or by the council terminating him at any time, without reason and without cause, on a majority vote.
Kost has waived any health, life or dental insurance plan available for city employees, as well as participation in the Wisconsin Retirement Fund as part of the contract.
Prior to the special meeting, Pelletier said council members will be provided contracts of the three full-time city administrators who were in Rhinelander before Kost, a retired attorney, was hired in February.
Rhinelander had been without a city administrator for more than five months after council members voted 6-2 in late August 2016 to terminate the contract of the previous administrator, Kristina Aschenbrenner, who had been in the position for not quite a year. As a full-time administrator, Aschenbrenner received an annual salary of $85,000.
Following Aschenbrenner’s termination, the city obtained the recruiting services of the Oshkosh-based Public Administration Associates in a search for a new city administrator. At PAA’s suggestion, the Finance Committee had recommended that the job be posted as a full-time position with an annual salary of between $85,000 to $95,000, plus benefits.
However, the full City Council put that hiring process on hold when Kost appeared at the council’s Jan. 9 meeting to offer his services on a part-time basis.
Kost has informed the Finance Committee he would be willing to continue as a part-time city administrator after his contract expires at the end of this year or help out in the transition of a new administrator taking over.