Oak Creek considers a raise

Town Board will consider raising the mayor's salary

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The Oak Creek Town Board will consider raising the mayor's salary to $1,100 a month from $90 a month.

The ordinance also would change salaries for each Town Board member from $75 a month to $35 per regular meeting, $25 per special meeting and $20 per work session, said Oak Creek Town Clerk Nancy Crawford.

The salary increases were proposed by several Town Board members and not by Mayor Cargo Rodeman during a budget work session in the fall, Crawford said. The proposed increase in the mayor's salary would encourage more people to run for the position and would allow the mayor to devote more time to the job, trustees said at that meeting.

The current pay plan has been in place since the town's last election in 2002, Crawford said. If the town wishes to change salaries, those changes have to be made before the next election in April 2004.

Crawford, who has been town clerk for 24 years, cannot remember a time when the mayor was paid the more than $13,000 a year the increase would provide.

"This is something that's completely new for Oak Creek, that amount of money," Crawford said.

Rodeman recently was named the town grant writer and is paid $800 a month in that capacity. If the town board passes the new salary ordinance tonight, Rodeman's total yearly salary from Oak Creek could be almost $23,000.

The town's highest paid positions are the police chief, who makes $44,500 a year including holidays and overtime, and the public works director and town clerk, who each make $38,000 a year, Crawford said.

The position of mayor can take up a lot of hours, or not so many, depending on the person, Crawford said.

"It doesn't have to be a full-time job, not at all," she said. "For many years, we've had mayors that we barely saw and things were fine. It just depends on the person."

Rodeman said that she puts in at least 40 hours a week at the office, not to mention the time she spends working at home and talking with people in town.

She said she was not involved in the discussion to raise salaries for the mayor or board members, but thinks that if the mayor is going to work all the time and do more than just attend meetings, he or she should get paid more.

"If the town's not going to hire a town manager, they're going to need to have a working mayor," Rodeman said.

The Oak Creek Town Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. today at Oak Creek Town Hall.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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