Trustee says $1,500 salary hike approved by board in fall was based on misleading comparisons
Last fall, the Fredonia Village Board voted to give the next village president a substantial pay raise — from a base salary of $3,000 to $4,500.
Trustee Jill Bertram has asked that the issue be brought up for reconsideration after learning that the comparative numbers presented to the board may not have provided a complete picture.
If the pay hike stands, it will not go into effect until April 2017, following the next village president election.
Bertram cast the only vote against raising the president’s pay in September.
In calling for a reconsideration of the vote, she said a closer look at how other municipal executives are paid suggests a 50% pay hike is not justified.
Bertram said after checking with neighboring communities, she learned many — including Random Lake and Cedar Grove — do not offer their village presidents meeting pay. Those presidents have salaries of $4,750 and $4,500, respectively.
A chart given to trustees during the earlier discussion mistakenly said both of those presidents receive meeting pay in addition to their salaries.
The Village of Fredonia pays its president a salary, pay for each board and committee meeting attended, as well as a $300 annual stipend for expenses.
If the president attends all scheduled meetings, the total pay would be $6,180 under the new salary, compared to $4,680 at the current pay rate.
“The numbers we were given were not comparable,” she said. “I think we were misled. We are already in line with what other communities are paying.”
Bertram said she came to that conclusion by collecting the pay rates of nearby communities of comparable size, then eliminating the highest and lowest numbers.
The average president’s pay for the eight remaining communities comes to $4,415 per year, she said.
“I am not saying there should be no increase, but $1,500 seems a bit excessive,” Bertram said.
Trustee Lisa Dohrwardt said the pay hike appears justified based on the added workload anticipated as the village pursues economic development opportunities, such as the creation of a new industrial park.
Bertram said village presidents are not supposed to have the authority of a mayor.
“They are supposed to be one of us. I think our system says everything is supposed to go through committee,” she told her fellow trustees.
Village President Don Dohrwardt tried to separate himself from the discussion, saying he had nothing to do with the comparative numbers provided at last fall’s consideration.
“It is hard to compare apples to apples when you are looking at different communities. Everyone pays differently,” Dohrwardt said.
Trustees decided to bring the issue back for a new vote in April.