It’s been a common practice that probably shouldn’t have been occurring.
Winnebago City Council members have been docked a month’s pay whenever they miss a regularly scheduled monthly meeting.
But, that’s going to change thanks to Councilman Rick Johnson.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Johnson asked City Administrator Chris Ziegler and City Attorney David Frundt to clarify whether a council member’s salary can be reduced.
“To me getting a salary means you get paid, even if you miss a meeting,” Johnson says. “You still do all the work, making phone calls and going to committee meetings.”
Council members are assigned to various committees and attend meetings, however, they do not get paid.
Johnson serves on the finance, personnel, utility and emergency services committees, as well as the firefighters relief association.
Reading from a manual, Ziegler referred to an ordinance passed in October 2000 to set compensation for the council. And, Frundt offered his legal interpretation.
“I don’t think deductions for not attending (council) meetings is authorized,” says Frundt. “There has to be an ordinance to do that and I don’t think it does.”
Currently, council members earn an annual salary of $1,800 and the mayor is paid $2,400 a year.
Their salaries are divided by 12 to arrive at a monthly amount and they are paid twice a year, in June and December.