Thursday, January 22, 2004
The decision to raise the Oak Creek mayor's salary from $90 a month to $1,100 a month was put off by the Oak Creek Town Board of Trustees at their Thursday night meeting.
The more than ten-fold increase in salary would not have gone into effect until after the April 2004 election. Also on the table were changes to the town trustees' salaries, which would have paid the trustees $35 per regular meeting, $25 per special meeting and $20 per work session, instead of the $75 a month they now receive.
The raise to the mayor's salary would allow future mayors to devote more time to the job, which town trustees said is important because the town currently does not employ a town manager.
"We definitely need to pay a working mayor," Town Trustee J. Elliot said.
"We've either got to have a town manager or an active mayor."
But, Elliot said he feared that a future mayor could get the pay without doing the work.
"Not all mayors are going to put the time, the effort and the desire into the position that you have," he said to Mayor Cargo Rodeman.
Rodeman recently was named the town grant writer, a position for which she is paid $800 a month.
If the Town Board passes the new salary ordinance at their meeting in three weeks, town trustees disagreed about whether the $1,100 would be added to Rodeman's grant writer salary after the April election, or if the grant writer position and pay would be eliminated.
Rodeman said earlier that the increase in salary was not her idea but that she supported payment for any mayor who puts in the time.
The raises were tabled so staff could research whether it would be legal to add a clause saying the salary could be reduced back to the original $90 if the mayor was not putting in $1,100 worth of work each month.
Mayors in the past often have put in a lot of time but also relied on their paid staff, said Gerry Greenwood, chairman of the Oak Creek Planning Commission and former Oak Creek mayor.
"I think if we're going to make a paid position for the mayor, it's a major change for Oak Creek," Greenwood said. "I think you ought to put it to a vote of the people."
The salary discussion that will take place at the board's next meeting also will focus on whether Rodeman should be employed as a grant writer when she also is an elected official, a point that was brought up by Town Trustee Mike Kien.
In other business:
n The Town Board approved the subdivision of 235 Arthur St. into four residential lots. The land to the west of the lot is used as light industrial business, but developers said they felt mixing residential and light industrial uses in an area could be a positive experience for business owners and residents.
n The Town Board discussed and agreed on a revised list of services provided by and for the Sierra View Development Group, which has proposed a 51-lot subdivision. Both developers for the group were present.
n The Town Board discussed a list of properties to designate for parkland and agreed to designate several town parks and the hockey rink at their next meeting.
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