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Supervisors vote down automatic raises

The Marathon County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to stop giving themselves automatic raises.

Past practice was to grant board supervisors automatic three percent salary increases unless the board passed a motion to do otherwise.

A board majority, however, voted to grant supervisors no raise without an approved motion to increase their pay.

In Thursday’s debate, supervisors argued for both sides of the question.

Supervisor Allen Opall, Rib Mountain, said board members who increase the next board’s salaries will “get a bad rap in every kind of publication.” The result, he said, is that supervisors will go without a pay raise for a long time.

Supervisor Donna Krause, Wausau, said that it was “hard to budget on a fixed income” and she didn’t see a three percent board pay increase “as so terrible.” She noted that other people throughout the economy were getting raises these days.

Supervisor Bill Miller, Rib Mountain, said it wouldn’t “sit well” with county employees who will, as proposed in a 2020 county budget, receive a two percent raise and cuts to their health insurance and see county supervisors get a three percent pay increase. “It just doesn’t look good,” he said.

Weston supervisor Loren White said he supported board members voting on any salary increase. “We all run for local office and not because we are looking for the big bucks,” he said. “I am not in favor of anything that is automatic.”

Supervisor Katie Rosenberg, Wausau, said she supported the board voting on pay increases. She said that pay increases should be granted the board only after a performance review.

“That review is called the ballot box,” said county board chairman Kurt Gibbs, Cassel.