Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 30 June 2010 17:21
Proposal to pay elected officials extra for lengthy meetings gets shot down
Northern Ozaukee School Board member Kendall Thistle floated a trial balloon about raising board pay at last weekâ€™s meeting, but the suggestion found little support.
Thistle asked that the boardâ€™s Policy Committee consider altering the pay schedule to compensate members for attending meetings that drag on too long.
He suggested the pay rate for committees be increased from $25 to $30 for the first two hours, with an additional $30 for meetings that run longer than two hours.
Thistle said a similar approach should be used for board meetings, paying members an additional $30 for sessions that run longer the 2-1/2 hours.
Board members are paid $600 a year.
To avoid the extra expense, he said committee chairman would have to make sure deliberations are kept on point. Better decisions are made when officials are not weary, Thistle said.
â€śThe amount of distributed materials at meetings could be absorbed at home if it was provided in advance,â€ť he said.
Board member Stephen Burmesch saw little reason to talk about boosting board pay.
â€śIn the economic conditions we are living in, now would not be a good time to look into this,â€ť Burmesch said.
Board member Rick Hamm said he has no complaint with the way he and his colleagues are paid.
â€śI canâ€™t believe we get paid what we get now,â€ť Hamm said.
A better solution to the problem of lengthy meetings is to put a limit on agendas, said longtime board member Francis Kleckner.
â€śMeetings should run only two hours. If there are leftover items, they should be deferred until the next meeting,â€ť Kleckner said.
â€śOtherwise, we could go to two meeting a month if we have that much on our agenda.â€ť
As a point of information, board members asked that a comparison of what other school districts pay their board members should be prepared.
â€śI hear interest in finding ways to shorten our meetings, which is what Kendall is trying to accomplish,â€ť said Board President Paul Krause.
â€śBut even if we find out other school districts are paying their board three times what we are, are we really looking to raise our pay? Really?â€ť Krause asked.