At a meeting of the City of Wisconsin Rapids Human Resources Committee on October 13, wage increases were unanimously approved by committee members for the positions of mayor, chief election inspectors and non-union employees.
The mayoral salary was increased for the two-year term beginning in May 2016. Currently, the Mayor Zachary Vruwink earns $64,706 per year before taxes and benefits are taken out. This is below the comparable state average of $66,178 according to HR Director Beth Bakunowicz. For comparison, she said Stevens Point Mayor Mike Wiza currently earns $71,050 per year.
Vruwink was not available for comment.
The committee unanimously voted to increase the mayor’s salary to the comparable state average of $66,178. The increase will not take effect until May 2016 following the next mayoral election.
The mayor’s wage increase usually parallels the non-union employees’ which this year is 1.5 percent, but the increase was more than that so the city could catch up with the rest of the state.
“Otherwise there will be a big leap,” said District 2 Alderperson Todd Ferkey.
The mayor also receives a mileage allowance capped at a maximum of $1,800 per year.
Wages for chief election inspectors were increased from an area low $9.25 per hour plus $10 per day to a set $15 per hour. By comparison, Stevens Point election inspectors earn $12 per hour. Marshfield pays $18 per hour. The city employs six election inspectors, two of whom work at each of three polling places and typically work a 12 hour day during elections.
District 7 Alderperson James Stack said his wife is a poll worker and typically begins working the elections at 6:30 AM and doesn’t finish until about 8:30 PM.
“I’m thinking maybe it is appropriate,” said District 3 Alderperson Scott Kellogg.
The increase was requested by City Clerk Shane Blaser who was not present at the meeting.
“It does sound like it’s a lot of work,” said Bakunowicz. “I know when I talked to the gal over at Marshfield she said the $18 they pay an hour isn’t worth it.”
Non-union wages were increased by 1.5 percent and matched the increase approved by the Police and Fire Department unions. The increase applies to clerical staff, department heads and non-union members of the Police and Fire Departments including lieutenants and captains.
“Why not have all of them at 1.5 percent. They’re working together. They’re working as a team. I think it’s only right,” said Kellogg.
“A dozen eggs cost the same for everybody I guess,” said Ferkey.
Wage increased go to the Common Council for final approval on October 20 at 6:00 PM at City Hall.