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Brown County 8th in state in overtime costs

Feb. 3, 2013
 
Electronic Monitoring
Brown County jail staff demonstrates using the GPS electronic monitoring device. / File/Press-Gazette Media

Executive pay

A Gannett Wisconsin Media survey of top officials’ pay in 48 counties found La Crosse County Administrator Steven O’Malley received the highest pay: $176,626. Rusk County Clerk/Administrative Coordinator Denise Wetzel was the lowest paid, at $51,348
This listing shows name, title, county, population and pay of officials in Northeastern Wisconsin counties.
• Sorensen, Ellen, Administrator, Marinette, 41,749, $96,500
• Hamann, Kevin, Administrative Coordinator, Oconto, 37,660, $92,725
• Dorner, Edward, Administrator, Kewaunee, 20,574, $89,645
• Streckenbach, Troy, Executive, Brown, 248,007, $88,137
• Murphy, Maureen, Administrator, Door, 27,785, $87,422
• Ziegelbauer, Robert, Executive, Manitowoc, 81,442, $77,207
• Corn, Ronald, Administrative Coordinator, Menominee, 4,232, $75,275
• Madsen, Tom, Administrative Coordinator, (25 hrs/wk) Shawano, 41,949, $52,000

Top counties for OT

This list shows rank, county, population and overtime
1. Milwaukee, 947,735, $11,206,023
2. Dane, 488,073, $3,996,426
3. Waukesha, 389,891, $2,610,836
4. Kenosha, 166,426, $2,519,890
5. Rock, 160,331, $2,478,777
6. Outagamie, 176,695, $1,916,054
7. Racine, 195,408, $1,664,278
8. Brown, 248,007, $1,642,707

More

Brown County continues to try to manage the cost of employee overtime, an amount that saw it rank in the top 10 of Wisconsin counties for extra pay among workers making $25,000 or more.

A Gannett Wisconsin Media review of county payrolls ranks Brown eighth in the amount of extra pay for employees, despite the county having the fourth-most residents in Wisconsin. The $1.64 million paid by Brown County includes overtime, longevity bonuses and shift-differential premiums to employees earning $25,000 or more.

The review was done on payrolls for 2011, the most recent year for which complete data were available.

Wisconsin’s three largest counties led the state in the amount of extra pay shelled out to workers. Milwaukee County workers were paid more than $11 million in extra pay, followed by Dane at almost $4 million, and Waukesha at $2.6 million.

Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said county leaders are proud that overtime accounts for only about 1 percent of Brown’s payroll costs. But he said that some of the overtime costs benefit taxpayers because they mean the county is able to perform its duties without hiring and paying benefits to additional employees.

“You have to look at the functions of each department individually,” he said.

Locally, Shawano County ranked 22nd, Door 27th, Oconto 45th and Kewaunee 53rd in extra-pay costs among the 69 counties that responded to Gannett’s open records request for overtime and extra pay data.

Brown County had 24 employees who received more than $10,000 in extra pay in 2011. Most worked in law-enforcement or corrections.

Sheriff John Gossage said his department strives to limit overtime costs by keeping a section of the county jail closed, and by allowing certain low-risk inmates into electronic-monitoring programs, which require less supervision and enable inmates to shorten their sentences. But, he said, factors ranging from weather emergencies to visits from presidential candidates mean that the department can’t always limit OT costs.

“There are some Doubting Thomases who’ll always say, ‘Why don’t you just hire more staff?’ ” he said. “But we’re always cognizant of the need to keep payroll costs down.”

The list of county employees paid more than $10,000 in overtime also includes an electrician, nurses and a highway laborer.

dschneid@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @PGDougSchneider

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