Displaced dispatchers to be given clerical jobs

Village Board OKs plan to keep six GPD employees on staff with reduced pay
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton Village Board has decided to create new clerical positions for the police department’s dispatchers at reduced salaries as the village moves to consolidate its dispatching services with Ozaukee County’s Sheriff’s Office. 

Six dispatcher positions will be phased out when the village transfers dispatching services to the sheriff’s office by the end of 2018, after the Village Board and county approved the move in April. 

While the police department will no longer have dispatchers, it will need employees to perform clerical tasks that have been handled by dispatchers. 

In past meetings, there was discussion about reducing the current salaries of the dispatchers because the savings the village would realize from having county employees handle emergency dispatching duties for the village would be reduced or eliminated if the village pays people in the new support staff positions the same as dispatchers. 

Village Administrator Jesse Thyes said the current salary range for dispatchers is $42,425 to $57,324 per year. 

The police support specialist position was placed in an annual salary range of $36,391 to $49,217. Currently, there are three employees who exceed the maximum pay grade. 

At previous village meetings, there was debate about allowing the three dispatchers to be paid a higher wage than the proposed salary. 

Police Chief Charles Wenten said the dispatchers are talented and loyal employees to the village, and more duties could be added to the position to justify their salaries.

“Certainly the dispatching portion of their duties is going to be gone,” Wenten said during the Village Board’s July 16 meeting. “Make no mistake, they’re not going to be sitting around that percentage of time.

“Those individuals are at that pay rate, because of their length of service certainly, but mostly because of their evaluations.”

A motion to approve the positions that included adding an annual lump sum payment to make up for the lower salary failed on 3-3 split vote with Village President Jim Brunnquell and trustees Dean Proefrock and Tom Krueger in favor. 

“It’s not the board that runs the village, it’s the staff. I think what we’re looking at here is supporting our staff who have done a great job,” Brunnquell said. 

Trustees Lisa Uribe Harbeck, David Liss and David Antoine voted against the proposal, citing cost, pay equality and concerns that could crop up with other village employees.     

Trustee Sue Meinecke wasn’t at the meeting.

The board ultimately approved creating the police support staff positions with a lower salary range by a vote of 4-2, with Krueger and Proefrock dissenting.

Brunnquell was the only board member who supported both options.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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