Council divides over employee compensation
RIVERSIDE — The topic of compernsation for professional development quickly divided city council members at the Monday, Aug. 5, meeting.
City deputy clerk Lory Young recently attended clerk school. On the agenda it was listed as a resolution to approve compensating Young with a 50-cent per hour wage increase. Councilor Nate Kasdorf didn’t agree with the compensation.
“I’d like to make a motion to table this,” Kasdorf said. “The reason being is that just last meeting we voted to have Rusty [Rogerson, city administrator] make a pay scale for the city employees and I don’t know how we just say we were going to do that two weeks ago and now we’re going to give somebody another raise here?”
At the previous city council meeting in July, council members asked Rogerson to work on setting up a pay scale for city employees, which Riverside doesn’t have currently. Kasdorf said the council should wait until the pay scale is set up before giving out anymore wage increases or compensation for classes that were taken.
Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen said the city had resolutions in 2005 and 2006, which compensated city employees for pursuing education to assist them in their job with the city. He asked if this was something they were changing and why.
Councilor Chris Kirkwood said yes. She said there wasn’t anything in the employee handbook about the compensation. She also said there wasn’t anything listed in the handbook requiring city employees to attend classes.
Mayor Bill Poch said that in the past city employees have been compensated 50 cents for obtaining further education, in their position.
“We’ve always done it,” Poch said.
Councilor Bob Schneider Jr. agreed with Poch and remembered other employees getting compensation for taking classes required for their position. He said it wasn’t necessarily a base pay increase. He asked city water and wastewater employee Kevin Engel how many classes Engel was compensated for.
“Seven,” Engel said.
“Seven that you were compensated for or seven that you attended?” Kasdorf asked Engel.
“Well, I’ve attended a whole lot more classes, but I’ve had seven grade increases since I’ve started,” Engel said. “Grade one, two, and three for wastewater. Grade one and two for water treatment. Grade one and two for water distribution.”
Kasdorf asked Engel if this was part of the pre-employment contract, and Engel said yes. He said this was part of the stipulation for Engel’s employment.
Kasdorf also argued the council should look at other citiess and how much they pay their deputy and city clerks before approving anymore wage increases.
“I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there’s many people in our town who are going to want to see our deputy clerk make over $20 an hour; and if you think that’s going to fly, then good luck,” Kasdorf said.
Schneider asked Kasdorf if this was a way of hiscontrolling the job or discriminating against the job. Kasdorf said it was neither.
For a few moments Schneider and Kasdorf went back and forth about what Young’s job description was. Schneider said she was a clerk and when you looked at the job description between city clerk and deputy clerk it wasn’t that different.
“The job description may not be that much different, but the pay scale is,” Kasdorf said.
Poch brought the discussion to a close and asked for a vote on the motion to table the resolution. The motion passed with three votes approving it. Those who voted for it were councilor Kevin Kiene, Kirkwood, and Kasdorf.
Please see tomorrow’s edition of The Journal for more on Monday night’s city council meeting.