STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Stevens Point’s City Council accepted the proposed employee pay plan Monday.
During a special meeting of the council before the regular meeting, the alderpersons expressed the same displeasure and frustration as they have in previous meetings about the data they could not see, their questions about pay grades, and some reluctance to give potentially large raises to some upper level department officials.
Council President Jerry Moore was not pleased with what consultant Carlson-Dettman provided them. “What has also been difficult is answering questions to constituents by not having all of the information. It’s very uncomfortable and challenging to do that. I get tired of saying I don’t know, I don’t have that information.” Moore is also concerned about giving pay raises when taxpayers are having a tough time getting by.
Leaders acknowledged that Wisconsin’s Act 10 made it possible to make several changes, including implementing a pay plan based on similar comparable positions in the private and public sectors. Mayor Andrew Halverson says this study and recommendation is an attempt to be fair, and not an attempt to single out a group of workers. “I’m not trying to advocate, well, let’s take money away from the unions and apply it to management. That’s not what we’re trying to do. There were several hourly positions that in essence were regraded as well.”
During the last meeting, Halverson said the changes under Act 10 definitely prevented several layoffs of city workers.
Council member and Personnel Committee Chairman Michael O’Meara pointed out one area he would like to see an appeal filed. The pay plan continues to pay water department workers more than sewer workers for the same underground construction skills, which he says is not fair.
The city council passed the pay plan on a 7-2 vote with two council members absent.
Expect some appeals almost immediately. For example, the top three sworn officers in the police department are presently in a pay grade thousands of dollars below their counterparts in other communities. Police Chief Kevin Ruder says he will appeal on behalf of his two assistant chiefs because he believes the pay study didn’t properly show the range of tasks they perform. Ruder didn’t say if he will appeal his own scale, but did tell the city council he is paid nearly $26,000 per year less than one of his counterparts, Chief Jeff Hardel in Wausau.