Gunter named water super

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It was a head-to-head showdown between the mayor and mayor pro tem in River Falls Tuesday night, after Mayor Patricia Gunter asked to be paid as the water superintendent.

Gunter asked to be paid $110 per month and asked for retroactive pay since the current administration took office.

“I’ve talked with the League (of Municipalities) and they said it was OK,” she said.

Gunter said a resolution was passed naming the mayor the water superintendent during the previous administration and that the council also serves as the water board.

Mayor Pro Tem Mattie Freeney asked if the pay was for duties actually performed.

“We don’t want to get back into a situation like we were previously in,” she said.

Gunter said she had given an email from the league to council members Richard Bowden and Cleveland Harris after an evaluation of an employee recently.

“What are the duties?” Freeney asked.

“Well, the buck had to stop somewhere,” Gunter said.

“That’s not telling me anything,” Freeney said.

Gunter said basically she would be making the decisions for the water department.

“Shane (Cook) will ask me questions,” she said.

Bowden, Robert Clark and Gary Wages voted in favor of making Gunter the water superintendent and retroactive pay.

Freeney voted against.

“I don’t think that all of the policies in place by the previous administration are necessarily right,” Freeney said. “We have made great strides in the last three years and I don’t want to see us back where we were.”

City Clerk Mary Ann Andrews asked Gunter about previously discussed pay adjustments, specifically putting Police Chief Greg Jackson on salary.

“I did not recommend any raises in the budget,” Garner said. “I am in favor of a one-time salary adjustment.”

Additionally, she said she asked Jackson to drop down to working 25 hours per week and the department could hire two part-time officers.

“We need weekend coverage badly,” Jackson said.

Wages said as a business owner he would like to see more patrolling during non-traditional hours.

“We will most likely have to hire someone from the county,” Jackson said. “That’s who makes up the majority of the part-time help. Most of the older officers have part-time jobs and everyone else is looking for one.”