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New Berlin mayor's salary to stay flat next term

Council locks in pay at $88,900 per year

Dec. 4, 2012

New Berlin - With a mayoral election in April, the New Berlin Common Council in a 4-2 vote last week froze the pay for that position at $88,900 per year for the length of the winner's four-year term.

Alderman David Ament said he voted to keep the mayor's pay the same because it seemed fair when considering other nonunion employees' wages. While their pay was frozen for the last four years, the mayor's pay rose 2 percent a year, in accordance with a Common Council-approved ordinance, he said.

Alderman Ken Harenda said he supported keeping the mayor's salary at $88,900 because it is fair compensation for the job.

Mayor Jack Chiovatero's second term expires in April, and he has said he probably will run for a third term, although he hasn't made a final decision yet.

But regardless of who is mayor, Chiovatero said, $88,900 is not sufficient for four years. The job requires some 60 hours a week to serve as both the chief administrative officer and top elected official and appear at evening, weekend and holiday events, he said. With all those time commitments, many people might not be interested in being mayor.

If the city were to hire a city administrator, he or she would probably command a salary of $100,000 to $115,000, Chiovatero said.

Voting against the freeze were aldermen John Hopkins and Deena Liska.

Hopkins said simply, "I felt the mayor's position warranted the raise."

However, he didn't think freezing the salary would mean the city will have trouble interesting candidates to run.

Ament also took issue with the 2 percent raises. They should have been given in April instead of in January as has been the custom by ordinance, he said. Chiovatero said finance officials told him that it was easier for budgeting purposes for the raises to be in January and that's why it was done.

The latest pay ordinance leaves the door open for interpretation allowing the shift to January, city attorney Mark Blum said.

The change had been approved by both Blum and by the city treasurer, Chiovatero said.

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