Council hires officer, OKs $5,000 hiring bonus

Local News

Winnebago may soon have another police officer and new pay incentives have been adopted as recruitment tools for the police department.

City Council members unanimously approved a contingent offer of employment for Michael Sharp at their meeting Tuesday night.

Sharp was interviewed on June 4 by Police Chief Nathan Goette, City Administrator Judi Hynes and members of the Personnel Committee.

If Sharp passes background checks and physicals, he will be paid a starting Step 1 wage of $30.29 per hour.

Goette says the hiring committee also discussed implementing a hiring bonus for new officers hired.

This month there were 214 job postings for police officers on the Minnesota POST Board website, says Goette, and a significant number of the agencies advertise a hiring bonus.

It’s a bit more common to have hiring bonuses. To separate yourself from the pack,” he says.

Goette says most of the bonuses he has seen are $4,000 to $6,000 and some are as high as $10,000.

Council members unanimously approved the hiring committee’s recommendation of a $5,000 bonus. To help retain officers, it will be split into three payments: $1,500 when hired; $1,500 after one year of employment; and $2,000 after two years on the job.

Hynes says bonus payments can be made from the $60,258 in Public Safety Aid the city received in 2023.

Councilman Tony O’Donnell and Mayor Jean Anderson asked whether the council should consider offering more than $5,000.

Councilman Paul Eisenmenger says there was a lot of discussion before deciding how much the bonus should be.

For right now, we thought it is fair and competitive,” he says. “I think we should leave it at that for right now.”

Goette also asked council members to change the hourly-wage scale to be more competitive with other area law enforcement agencies.

The current wage scale has seven steps, with starting pay being $30.29 per hour and the top at $36.16.

Council members passed a six-step wage schedule leaving the entry-level wage at $30.29 but increasing the final step to $40.72.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *