West Bend Common Council takes no action on proposed compensation plan
After more than an hour discussion the West Bend Common Council took no action regarding a decision to move forward on a cross-the-board staff compensation plan.
After much discussion the council took no vote but indicated it would follow up on issuing a request for proposal to hire an outside consultant to conduct a salary study.
What started on the agenda as ‘Discussion and action on Implementing a Compensation Plan’ quickly turned to aldermen weighing in on a vague presentation made two weeks ago by the City Administrator and the head of Human Resources.
“I’m not denying that any of our employees do or do not deserve a raise. I think many of them do,” said District 4 alderman Randy Koehler. “But why was council never approached. Why would we do a study like this in house with that data I can’t make heads or tails of.”
Koehler said there was no data on an employee’s compensation package, wages, tenure, experience, insurance costs, vacation.. all the details that would go into a full compensation study. “All I’ve got here is strictly wages,” he said. “We’ve had turnover. Why have we had turnover… is it strictly wages? Is it management, culture, or people transferring closer to home? We don’t have any of that… it’s strictly wages.”
Koehler said, “In good faith without having a complete study there’s no way I can support this.”
District 8 alderwoman Meghann Kennedy echoed Koehler’s concerns citing a lack of hard data on an internal study. “I reviewed a lot of this and I do data analysis for a living and I really do not have a good understanding of the data and the numbers behind this. It was really difficult to comprehend … The suggestions may be 100% right but nobody in this room is a compensation expert, like we’d get if we went to an RFP and added some council members to committee,” she said.
The data presented by city administrator Jay Shambeau and Human Resources director Michelle Hoey indicated all City staff was in good standing and an across-the-board pay raise was needed to bring compensation in line with other communities of similar size and help reduce turnover.
District 8 alderman Justice Madl praised the staff for completing the study inhouse. “I do trust the numbers,” he said.
The compensation study completed by Shambeau and Hoey showed 100 employees deserved pay increases. Data provided by the City showed Hoey, who started with the City in March 2017 at a salary of $80,000 received an increase to $85,312 by 2020.
According to the compensation study Hoey was in line to receive more than a $14,500 increase to a recommended salary of $99,840. Data showed Hoey would receive the second highest pay bump in the compensation study which she completed.
While the compensation study was designed to help curb turnover there were 10 raises over $10,000 a year that went to nine department heads.
There were four raises between $7,500 and $9,900.
Twenty-four raises were between $5,000 and $7,499.
Thirty-five percent of employees received at least a $5,000 a year increase.
Nine employees out of 109 saw no increase and the overall average increase was $4,519.
District 5 alderman Jed Dolnick said, “I can’t believe if there was a compensation study that came back it would be welcomed with open arms.”
Dolnick said Washington County government was in the same situation as the City regarding compensation. “The County did the right thing. They could not retain and attract new employees and they discovered they were really behind the eight ball and we’re in the same situation,” he said. “I understand wanting an outside firm but I’m pessimistic it would make a difference to some of you.”
Discussion also included possibly placing $450,000 in a separate account in the next budget so once the salary study is complete the earmarked money would be available should the council move forward with the consultant’s recommendation on possible pay increases.
No action was taken on any item discussed regarding compensation during Monday’s meeting.
Trusted vehicle service at Hoffert’s Auto Repair
Bob Blair has been working in the automotive business since he was 19 years old. “I’ve been at Hoffert’s for more than two decades,” he said.
It was a sunny, Friday afternoon and Blair was busy fielding calls in the office at Hoffert’s Auto Repair, 449 S. Main Street. The walls in the office are decorated with birthday cards, an outdoor thermometer with a racing theme and the windowsill is lined with solar powered toys that dance in the sunlight.
It is Blair’s second home. For years he worked alongside shop owner Art Hoffert, who opened Hoffert’s Auto Repair and Towing in 1977.
As the years passed… so did the baton. The seasoned Art Hoffert stepped back a bit and the young Bob Blair stepped up.
Blair eventually bought the business from Hoffert and recently, on June 30, 2021 he purchased the building. The 3-bay auto repair shop with the old orange Union 76 sign on the northeast corner of Main and Maple sold for $170,000.
“This is what I do; it’s what I’m good at,” said a humble Blair. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Blair is proud to say Hoffert’s is still locally owned and run by family. “My wife works here, my father works here and my cousins work here too,” he said.
Blair is committed to providing trusted service and keeping Hoffert’s part of the fabric of the community.
Slinger High School announcers to receive recognition
On Friday, August 20 the Slinger School District will recognize three long-time public address announcers for their 28 seasons of service.
Ron Naab and Steve Krebs announced football games, at all levels, for 28 years. Jay German joined them in 1997 to account for a 22-year stint as a trio.
“We are honoring Steve, Jay, and Ron for their years of service to the Slinger High School athletic programs and the community of Slinger,” said Slinger Athletic Director Mike Daniels. “The School District of Slinger is so appreciative for all their years of service, volunteerism, and dedication to the football program, SHS athletes, and the community of Slinger.”
While Naab served as the announcer in the press box, Krebs worked to give scoring highlights and he spent hours selecting and recording music to play during the time outs.
“Steve would help with spotting the football during the games,” said Naab. “We tried to be efficient and correct with the call.”
In 1997 Jay German joined Naab and Krebs in the press box as a spotter.
Those first years the team worked for peanuts… literally. Athletic Director Doug Resop kept the booth well stocked with salted peanuts throughout the season.
When Dan Karius became the athletic director, German began filling in for Bob Seto as the clock operator and then took on the position after Seto retired. Bob took off the night of the Homecoming game against Wisconsin Lutheran in September 2012. The game was televised as the “Friday Night Lights Game” and Jay was operating the clock.
The three men will be presented a plaque at halftime of Friday’s non-conference game as Slinger hosts Menomonee Falls.
The Football Field had a recently installed a new wireless-controlled scoreboard and several times before half time the clock unexpectedly zeroed out. The officials were not happy but nowhere near as unhappy as the WISCO head coach. It was later determined the TV signals were creating interference affecting the scoreboard.
Jay graduated from Slinger High School in 1971 and played football for four years. He wants to express what an honor it was for this opportunity to serve the Slinger High School football program.
This is coupled with the 2nd Annual Hootie Fest & Corn Roast. Dave Hora continues announcing in his second year of service.
Moving day for Gentle Dental Emporium in Town of West Bend
It was a bittersweet move for the family at Gentle Dental Emporium as the team worked to relocate its locally owned practice from 533 S. Main Street in West Bend to the northwest corner of Highway P and County Highway NN/Rusco Road.
Construction on the 3,400-square-foot facility began in October 2020.
Dr. Kristine K. Neuburg DDS and her husband were busy directing traffic, lifting boxes, and organizing. “Welcome to the GTE,” said Neuburg. “We’re all still working and getting things moved in. We’re so excited, this is going to be so much fun.”
The new Gentle Dental Emporium has a decorative entry with a waiting room that features high ceilings, plenty of natural light, an elegant stone fireplace and the traditional red topped gumball machine with prizes.
The new office has eight rooms with four for doctor operation and four for hygiene.
Chris Schmidt from Schmidt Building Co. designed the location and Preferred Dental Services was hired to layout the individual rooms.
Dr. Neuburg’s dad Kenneth Bero started the Gentle Dental practice. A 1980 dental school graduate, Bero worked at a practice on the second floor of a building on Hawthorn Drive and S. Main Street before stepping out on his own.
“I can’t believe how gorgeous and unique this is… it reminds me of my daughter,” said Bero.
Some of the recognizable artwork from the old location on S. Main Street will be placed in the entryway of the new practice.
The new office will open Wednesday, August 25 to see patients and a grand opening will be held possibly in September.
Quest Engineering to build $14 million facility in Village of Richfield
The Village Board in Richfield voted unanimously Thursday night on industrial development revenue bonds not to exceed $10 million to finance a project on behalf of Quest Engineering which is looking to build a new 100,000-square-foot facility on 10.5 acres at Richfield Parkway and Endeavor Drive in the Village of Richfield.
Quest Engineering, currently headquartered on Helsan Drive in Richfield, is a family-owned wood products and custom cabinetry manufacturer that’s been around for 20 years. It currently employs 44 people full time and operates out of four different facilities in Richfield and Jackson.
The new facility would act as a state-of-the-art manufacturing headquarters and office space and it would help serve the company’s growth. The other sites would be consolidated so the business can run its office and manufacturing out of one location.
“We should break ground next week, August 23, 2021,” said Kris Aubrey with Quest Engineering management group. “Construction is expected to take between six to nine months. We liked this spot because of its access to I41 to help with shipping and receiving.”
It was March 2021 when representatives from Quest Engineering went before the Richfield Plan Commission with a design proposal.
Missed snaps undo Germantown’s comeback vs. Homestead By Jason Howarth
It was a high-quality matchup between two powerhouse football programs as the Germantown Warhawks faced host Homestead Highlanders.
The first two minutes of the game alone saw Homestead senior running back Joseph Rossman take the ball 50 yards for a touchdown, only for Germantown to strike back on the following kickoff, as senior Aaron Grant went 70 yards for a touchdown to make the game 8-7 (Homestead converted a 2-pt conversion attempt).
Homestead answered back on its next drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by senior Joseph Ollman; his first of three rushing touchdowns on the night.
The Highlanders were able to maintain a vice grip on the ball in terms of possession throughout the first half due to their successful running attack and failure of the Warhawks’ passing game.
Homestead led 25-7 at halftime.
Despite being down, Germantown managed to get a touchdown as junior quarterback Henry Kelley threw a 7-yard strike to make it 25-14. Germantown even got an interception on the next Homestead drive but was unable to capitalize as the first of many botched snaps cost them dearly, this one resulting in a fumble while knocking on the Highlanders’ red zone.
One the Warhawks’ next offensive possession, another costly mishandled snap cost them 20 yards and ultimately forced them to punt, which was their last gasp offensively.
Homestead would chip away at the clock, getting it to just over two minutes in the fourth quarter when Ollman scored what would be the final touchdown.
Germantown head coach Jake Davis was disappointed by his team’s mistakes but remained optimistic. “It’s week one stuff and that’s why you play opponents like Homestead; I wanted a non-conference opponent that would challenge us.”
Davis said the team would turn its focus to several things in upcoming practices. “Getting better at getting players in and out (adjustments), snaps, running the right routes and making the right reads defensively,” he said.
Despite the struggles Davis expressed complete confidence in his team to rally back in its next game against Hartford.
Homestead’s Drake Zortman won his first game as head coach of the Highlanders having replaced the team’s previous head coach, the legendary Dave Keel who resigned in 2020 after 30 years coaching.
Kewaskum Indians vs. West Bend West Spartans Varsity Football By Jason Howarth
Kewaskum defense forced five turnovers and senior Maxwell Melzer scores four total touchdowns as the Indians downed West Bend West 38-16
It was a game decided by defense, even in the very beginning as after just two plays from scrimmage Kewaskum fumbled the ball and West Bend West recovered. The Spartans did force another fumble later, but it was really the Indians who capitalized on the Spartans mistakes recovering three Spartan fumbles in the first half.
The Indians were able to translate opportunities into points as senior quarterback Matthew Bueche opened the scoring with a rushing touchdown midway through the first quarter.
Senior Maxwell Melzer also got the first of three rushing touchdowns, beginning what would be a monster day for him to put the Indians up 16-0.
The Spartans got several unlucky breaks on offense as fumbles came when they were driving down the field, including one by sophomore wide receiver Cameron McAndrews that was recovered on Kewaskum’s 4-yard line.
The Spartans did get a safety off a botched punt snap to trail 16-2 at halftime. However, the Indians really put the defensive pressure on in the second half and got two interceptions for touchdowns, one by Melzer, the other by senior Gavin Schwantz.
Despite the offensive struggles Spartans junior quarterback Johnny Daley was able to throw two touchdown passes, one to McAndrews and the other to junior Nolan Wulf. These signs of life in the second half were not enough to overcome the Indians established lead, and the Spartans fell 38-16.
Postgame Melzer was humble about his performance, putting the praise primarily on his teammates. Melzer made clear the mission this year is, “to get this team a conference title.” Melzer also gave a special thank you to his father “who has really helped me, always pushing me to do great things at school, on the football and having me help out at the family farm.”
West Bend West (0-1) will play its next game on the road in a non-conference match against Fort Atkinson on Friday August 27 at 7 p.m.
Kewaskum (1-0) will return home to play Campbellsport in its next game, a non-conference match on August 27 at 7 p.m.
Closed session | Village of Richfield talks sewer/water deal with Village of Germantown
The Village of Richfield will move into closed session at the end of its meeting on Thursday, August 19, 2021 to discuss a sewer/water agreement with the Village of Germantown.
This is not the first time the topic has been approached as the Village of Richfield has been pursuing the idea for maybe the past five years but according to Village Administrator Jim Healy it was a hot topic in 2020.
According to the agenda: in closed session, inter-governmental agreement with Village of Germantown for purchase of water and sewer infrastructure to service Northeast Corridor.
Healy said the area in question is about 200 acres of land north of the Kwik Trip along I41 bordered by STH 175 and Pleasant Hill Road. “This has been an area we’ve long kind of discussed as being ripe for industrial development,” he said.
Couple of bullet points about the issue:
The land is owned by brothers Brian and Kevin Kazmierczak; it is currently farmland
The entire Village of Richfield has wells and septic systems. There is no sewer/water in the Village. Even the Kwik Trip on STH 167 has wells/septic.
Healy said he believes at the time the Village of Richfield is very much engaged in doing it.
“It’s been a hot topic issue in our community for a number of years. But at that same time, over the course of the last decade, we’ve done numerous studies to show the benefit of this area, developing industrial and the positive effect it would have on the tax rates and the ability to have good family-supporting jobs right here in our own backyard,” Healy said.
The Village of Richfield has a population around 12,000. Some neighbors fear, once sewer/water are in then high-density housing will follow.
Healy said that won’t happen, primarily because of the location of the subcontinental divide.
“So, we have an ordinance that talks about this very thing on our books, where sewer and water utilities cannot extend west of STH 175,” said Healy. “If it does, it triggers a referendum. We were that confident in the fact we only want this isolated to a very particular region of the village of Richfield, and no more.”
Healy said the Village of Richfield has worked hard to keep the community informed.
Questioned whether a decision would be made on Thursday, he said “no.”
“It’s not like we’re digging the lines tomorrow. We’re still very much having preliminary discussions not only with Germantown, but also with Jackson,” Healy said.
Germantown Village President Dean Wolter agreed, the talks are very preliminary.
“We don’t we don’t have an agreement with them,” said Wolter. “I mean, and we’re not proposing one. We may be discussing the sewer and water and what it would take for us to bring sewer and water to what they are trying to do over there off Holy Hill Road.”
Wolter said the Village of Germantown has had an open discussion on the issue. “The last time our board didn’t come to an agreement to offer the sewer and water in fact, even though we expanded the base of our water tower, we didn’t bring in the steel to make it higher. So in order for us to supply water to them, we have to bring our water tower up to a certain height and we didn’t approve that.”
Healy and Wolter said the Village of Richfield was also in talks with the Village of Jackson.
“They’re talking to both communities to see which one makes the most sense,” said Walter.
“We’re the shorter route and I imagine we’re less expensive but what would it take with regard to the cost that we put into the infrastructure to bring it up there.”
Wolter was also concerned about adding to the competitiveness of luring development to the community if the Village of Germantown helps to make the Village of Richfield more attractive. “Since we paid to cover the cost to bring it up there, would we start competing against them for possible development opportunities,” he said.
Thursday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Village Hall in Richfield, 4128 Hubertus Road. The meeting is open to the public.
This is a working story and more details will be added as information becomes available.