The Weyauwega Common Council voted a second time Dec. 17 on wage adjustments for members of the police department after some members of the council asked for clarification on the matter.
“I was confused. I talked to Chief (Ed) Janke. It wasn’t how it had been done before. I just felt there needed to be clarification,” Ald. Donna Allenstein said.
When Allentstein was last on the Common Council, there were separate motions for wage adjustments for each city department.
She previously served on the council for a total of 10 years, up until 2009.
Allenstein was re-elected to the council last April and said she personally did not feel the council had ever made a motion pertaining to 2013 police wages.
Ald. Amy De Santis said the police department’s 2013 budget was approved during the Nov. 26 council meeting as part of the overall 2013 city budget and that a wage adjustment was part of the department’s budget.
Minutes from that meeting – in the portion related to the 2013 budget – state, “The council had a discussion on staff evaluations and employee salary increases. Police employee wages have been finalized but no other employees have. A cost-of-living increase will need to go through Finance next month for Public Works employees and City Hall staff.”
The 2013 city budget was adopted by a 5-0 vote, with Allenstein, De Santis, Bruce Brunner, Mike Kempf and Scott Rasmussen voting in favor of it. Ald. Jim Zandrow was absent.
Mayor Don Morgan said Janke included the wage adjustments in the police department as part of his 2013 budget request.
Janke submitted a balanced 2013 budget – a budget which was approved by the police and finance committees and discussed and approved as part of the overall 2013 city budget, the mayor said.
During the council’s Dec. 17 meeting, three separate motions were brought forward from the Finance Committee related to wage adjustments.
They were a motion to approve a wage adjustment of 3 percent for general employees, a motion to approve an additional $1 per hour wage increase for Deputy City Clerk Rebecca Loehrke and a motion to approve the wage adjustments for police department personnel per the 2013 budget.
The motions for the 3 percent wage adjustment for general employees and additional $1 per hour for Loehrke were approved unanimously.
Council members said Loehrke deserved the additional $1 per hour on top of the 3 percent raise because of the amount of work she did this year in the absence of a full-time city administrator.
The motion to approve the wage adjustments for police department personnel was also approved.
Allenstein, Brunner, Rasmussen and Zandrow voted in favor of it. Kempf voted against it, and De Santis, whose husband is a part-time police officer in the city, abstained.
Prior to the vote, Kempf said, “This isn’t what I was told at Finance.”
He was referring to the spreadsheet, which included the wage adjustment for general employees and also the wage adjustment for the police department, which had been included in the council packet for the Dec. 17 meeting.
Interim City Administrator Bill Forrest said the decision was made to separate the motions related to wage adjustments into three separate motions to avoid confusion and to clarify.
Kempf said he was told everyone who works for the city was getting a 3 percent cost-of-living increase.
“What I see in front of me I would not have voted for,” he said.
De Santis noted that Kempf, a member of the Finance Committee, arrived late to the Dec. 11 committee meeting and missed part of the discussion about 2013 wage adjustments.
She said the adjustments in the police department were based on the wages of police personnel who work for area departments.
“You need to pay what these people are worth,” she said. “If you want to keep employees here, you have to pay them what they’re worth.”
Sgt. Jerry Poltrock, who takes over as police chief on Jan. 1, will have a salary of $55,800 in 2013. As sergeant this year, his salary was $49,457.76.
During the Dec. 17 meeting, Corporal Brandon Leschke was promoted to sergeant, effective Jan. 1. He will have a 2013 salary of $50,220. His salary this year was $46,354.92.
The 2012 salary for the department’s two patrol officers – Adam Rogge and Matt Batte – is $35,491.37. In 2013, it will be $42,687.
De Santis suggested that if there is a question in a committee meeting, the matter should be tabled.
She expressed her unhappiness about discovering, after receiving the agenda for the Dec. 17 council meeting, that there was a motion to approve the wage adjustments for police department personnel when those adjustments had already been approved at the council’s Nov. 26 meeting.
Kempf said he wants to see a line item for what members of the police department are paying for health insurance.
De Santis, who worked with Forrest on the city’s 2013 budget, said, “You can do the next budget, Mike.”