Letter: Alderman explains views on finance position

To the editor:

I am writing this letter to address a few inaccurate comments that were made in a recent article. I also want the residents I represent to know how I represented them during the hiring process of the finance director.

We did receive applications from applicants who I believe would have accepted the position within the original salary range of $75,000-$85,000. Three of the candidates interviewed actually live in the greater Shawano area; two of whom graduated locally.

It is often mentioned, “how do we get our graduates to return to Shawano?” This was a perfect opportunity, and I believe the candidates were qualified.

Upon learning of the hiring/salary of the new hire, finance manager Nancy Schauer, who worked for SMU for 30-plus years, tendered her resignation with an effective date of Oct. 6.

Although the new finance director position is important, I think it is overrated. When considering the responsibilities of the position as compared to the responsibilities of public safety (chief of police) and maintenance of our streets (DPW director), I fail to see how this position commands a higher salary.

Throughout the years I have represented District 1, I have voted consistently with what I felt the majority of my constituents would want. I did not vote to approve the $94,000 salary along with the generous benefit package.

I do not feel the salary represents our community’s pay scale. Expecting our taxpayers and (SMU) rate payers to financially support this salary will add to financial strains many families experience.The article also referenced reviewing existing salaries of managers who receive much less in comparison.

I am also concerned that SMU has just requested another rate increase. With the recent $1.8 million borrowing, a proposed plaza with estimated costs of $1.6 million, the recent increase of our self-imposed borrowing limit, and the addition of TIF districts, I could not in a good conscience vote in favor of this salary.

Bob Kurkiewicz,

Alderman, District 1