Letter: Officials are overpaidI have learned that some town residents think elected town officials and staff are unpaid public servants. No, these are very well paid part-time positions.
By: Dolly Qualls, Town of Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
I have learned that some town residents think elected town officials and staff are unpaid public servants. No, these are very well paid part-time positions.
The largest town in Wisconsin, near Milwaukee, has 20,520 people, a large retail center and city amenities. I spoke with the full-time clerk, who said her salary is $50,000 and she works 60-plus hours per week to get everything done. There is no deputy clerk. The town chairperson’s salary is $20,500. There are two regularly scheduled town board meetings per month. It is insane that “small potatoes” town of Hudson has higher salaries compared to a town nearly three times our size.
The March 12 letter to the editor from Jeff Johnson fails to state that the chair salary of $11,000 in 1989 was reduced to $6,000 in 1990. Nor does he share that “but for” the citizen vote at the 2008 annual budget meeting, which froze the chair salary at $17,500, the new salary would have increased to $21,000 in April 2009.
A central Wisconsin town of 7,989 residents (about our size) pays their full time clerk $43,000 with no deputy clerk. The chairperson’s salary is $232/month plus $33/meeting.
The Wisconsin Towns Association published a survey showing salaries grouped by town population. It listed average, low and high salaries for each group without hours worked. The town of Hudson fits in the 5001-and-up group that includes the 20,520-person town near Milwaukee. Appointed clerks average is $41,634.58, low is $7,000, and high is $69,700. Chairperson average is $9,984.22, low is $3,300 and high is $35,000.
Per the WTA, these numbers are only survey results and not a suggested formula for town salaries.
I personally talked with staff in all of the towns much larger than ours. I could not find any town with the high salary numbers. Not even in the 20,520 town. I learned some larger towns have converted into villages since the survey.
For towns with a deputy clerk, the pay range was from $14 to $20 per hour.
It is time to stop the baloney about how hard everybody works. It’s expected! As an educator I felt that I always had a zillion balls in the air. I knew that when I chose that profession and always loved it. Harry Truman once said, “If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.”