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Marathon County OKs new compensation schedule

Current and future Marathon County employees will be able to earn more money under a new compensation plan approved by the county board of supervisors last week Tuesday. The plan, which will go into effect by the end of this year, will boost wages and salaries to make them more competitive with those offered by other local units of government across Wisconsin.

Unanimously approved by the board, the new pay schedule will cost the county approximately $1.6 million next year, though the total cost is closer to $2.7 million. Several departments will pay for the raises with self-generated revenue and money from the state.

Prior to the board’s vote, supervisor Tim Sondelski, Mosinee, said he supports paying employees more money but he wants to make it up with decreases elsewhere in the 2023 budget.

“I think we need to support our employees here at the county,” he said. “I will be voting in favor of these pay increases but, in return, I’ll be asking for some cuts elsewhere. We need to compromise. We need to serve our employees well, but we also need to be responsible to our employers – our property owners and taxpayers here in Marathon County.”

Sondelski said he and other supervisors will be proposing amendments to cut the budget, saying he thinks the current $18.5 million increase in the budget is “unacceptable.”

Under the new compensation plan, which was developed in consultation with the McGrath Consulting Group, employees will be divided into 23 pay grades with minimum, maximum and market rate wages set for each grade.

According to a study by McGrath, salary was the top reason for employee resignations, with 52 percent of county jobs falling below the market rate.

In October, county administrator Lance Leonard told the board that employees would be receiving an average 8 percent pay raise starting at the end of this year.

Molly Adzic, county human resource director, told the board last month that the sheriff’s department has lost 17 percent of its workforce this year. The highway department lost 20 percent, the library 27 percent, the Conservation, Planning and Zoning Department 54 percent and the Health Department 16


Other business

n Leonard told the board that he misstated the total number of county employees in a budget presentation the previous week. He said the county has 699.58 full-time equivalent positions, not 706.72 as originally stated. He said the sheriff’s office eliminated six positions after it relinquished control of a shelter house in the county.

n The board approved three rezoning ordinances, shifting properties from agricultural to residential, submitted by townships: Larry and Patricia Lang, W. 26th Rd., Town of Spencer; Don Sebastian, corner of STH 97 and Galvin Ave., Town of McMillan; Daniel and Jennifer Schreiber, Wuertzberg Rd., Town of Holton.

n The board adopted an updated all-hazards mitigation plan and an emergency management plan for the county.

n The board approved revisions to Chapter 6 of the general code, which deals with emergency management. The revised version eliminates the ability of local units of government to declare states of emergencies within their jurisdictions, leaving that up the county board. The new language also establishes a local emergency planning committee, with the members appointed by the county administrator.

n The board approved several budget transfers within county departments.

n The board approved a jurisdictional transfer of a portion of CTH B– 1,600 feet from STH 107 to South Road – to the village of Marathon City. The county plans on reconstructing that portion of road, after which the village will assume ownership and responsibility for maintenance. The reconstruction project includes curb and gutter along 8th Street for 192 feet along STH 107 and paved roadway with 12-foot driving lanes and four-foot pedestrian/bike lanes.

n The board approved a resolution calling on the state of Wisconsin to raise the entry-level salaries for assistant district attorneys, which currently sits at $54,000 annually ($26.70 per hour). The resolution said higher starting wages are needed to reduce turnover within district attorneys’ offices and make the positions more competitive with those in other states.