Council finalizes contract extension for interim city administrator
Keith Kost to also receive city health insurance after Jan. 1
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The Rhinelander City Council has finalized a six-month contract extension with the addition of health insurance benefits for interim city administrator Keith Kost.
Kost, whose contract was set to expire at the end of December, has been receiving an annual salary of $51,000 with no insurance benefits. In the amended employment agreement approved at Monday’s City Council meeting, Kost will receive a salary over six months of $25,500, and health insurance benefits worth $6,598.
Though his salary is based on 60 percent of a full-time administrator, the amended contract states he will be expected to work approximately 30 hours per week, or a 75 percent schedule, to qualify for health insurance.
Kost, a retired attorney, has held the city administrator’s position on a part-time basis since February. Prior to Kost’s hiring, the city had been without an administrator for more than five months after council members voted 6-2 on Aug. 29, 2016, to terminate the contract of the city’s last full-time administrator, Kristina Aschenbrenner, who had been in the position for not quite a year and received an annual salary of $85,000.
Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier said the contract extension for Kost will give the city more time to search for a new full-time administrator.
“We may have to amend (the contract) again if it took an extra month or something like that to get somebody,” Pelletier. “If Keith is not going to be ready to race out the door, he’ll make sure that we’re sitting good (with a new administrator).”
Though the amended contract runs from Jan. 1-June 30, 2018, it may be modified at any time upon approval by both the city and Kost. The council would also be able to terminate Kost at any time before the end of June on a majority vote, or the city could provide him 60 days’ written notice. Kost could elect to leave sooner by providing the city 60 days’ written notice.