Employee salary increase defeated by split council

REED CITY – Reed City treasurer, chief of police and wastewater treatment plant superintendent salaries will not increase after a split council failed to pass the resolution for a wage increase on Monday.

The resolution included an increase in the chief of police and city treasurer’s salary by 1.5 percent, bringing their salaries to $53,260 and $49,811, respectively. An increase of more than 8 percent to the wastewater treatment plant superintendent’s salary, bringing it to $52,000, also was included.

The proposal was recommended to the council by City Manager Ron Marek, and was turned down by a vote of 3-3. Dave Scharlow, Darlene Fuller and Phil Rathbun voted no and David Bisbee, Marlene Fatum and Bonnie Danzeisen voted yes. James Anderlohr was absent from the meeting.

Marek said he proposed the salary increase for waste water treatment plant supervisor Curt Brackenrich due to his performance and acquisition of state licensing while on the job, certifying his increasing ability in his position. He has received D, C and B licenses, and has recently taken a test to receive an A license.

“Based on what I see Curt doing out there and the job that’s going on, the relationship with the DEQ and the way he’s handled himself, I’m trying to get (his salary) up closer to where it ought to be,” Marek said.

Council member Fuller said she would not approve the increase until Brackenrich receives an A license.

“It was my understanding that when he was hired, he would come here under the (terms) that he would become A-licensed,” Fuller said. “He’s just taken the test. We don’t know yet (if he passed), and I think that pending those results and a passage, we should table this.”

Marek researched typical wastewater treatment plant supervisor pay scales and feels that Brackenrich is underpaid.

“At minimum, I would recommend that if council feels that they do want to propose some of that for the license, maybe consider $51,000 and then $1,000 with an A license, or $50,000 and then $2,000 with the license. I feel he needs an adjustment in his salary,” Marek said.

Council members Bisbee and Fatum said they agreed that Brackenrich deserves a salary increase.

After being questioned by councilman Scharlow why the proposal included a higher raise for the wastewater treatment plant superintendent than the chief of police or treasurer, Marek said he plans to research typical pay scales for the police chief and treasurer and present the council with adjustments if necessary at a future meeting.

Though the council voted down the wage increase, it still may discuss the increase at a later meeting.

In other business, the council:

n Re-appointed Jim White and Joe Kichak to the zoning board of appeals;

n Appointed Mike Saez to the Greater Reed City Area Recreation Authority;

n Scheduled a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday to take action on allowing Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital to place a 24-foot by 42-foot concrete pad on the city right-of-way, as well as vote on whether or not to allow Marek to use the city truck when visiting the construction site.

The next regular meeting of Reed City Council will be at 7 p.m. on July 16 at Reed City City Hall.