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Deputy fire chief will be paid more than chief

May 28, 2009

Germantown — - Germantown - The village will pay Deputy Fire Chief John Delain a higher salary than his boss, Fire Chief Gary Pollpeter.

The Village Board on Monday unanimously approved a flat salary of $66,016 for Delain. The village pays Pollpeter $64,900.

Pollpeter was the only department head not given a pay raise for 2008. Village Administrator David Schornack has been working continuously with the fire chief on his performance.

Delain, formerly a full-time firefighter/emergency medical technician and deputy fire captain, was promoted to full-time deputy fire chief last year. He also is a paid-on-call firefighter.

Delain's duties as deputy fire chief include 50 hours of service per week during the day shift plus 218 hours a month on call during nights and weekends. Last year, the village paid him $62,486, which included his salary, stipends and on-call wages.

Job description, salary not set

The General Government and Finance Committee members May 26 struggled to set a job description and salary for the newly created position. Previously, the Fire Department had two part-time deputy chiefs; it now has a full-time and a part-time deputy chief. Delain was the only person to apply for the full-time position.

The committee members discussed setting a flat salary or paying Delain on-call wages in addition to a salary. However, the additional on-call wages would not resolve the issue of removing Delain from the department's two unions. As a full-time firefighter/EMT and paid-on-call firefighter, Delain is a member of both unions. Delain's management status could create a conflict of interest during contract negotiations with the unions.

Delain said, by state law, as No. 2 in the department, he has to get out of the unions. He said he remained a member because his salary and job description had not been set.

Setting same pay grade

Schornack started the discussion with a recommendation of $58,775 as a base salary, which would be the same pay grade as three of the four Public Works superintendents, with the addition of a paid-on-call wage option.

Delain said that would mean he would be paid less than last year with more responsibilities if the on-call wages are not added.

Trustee Art Zabel said the police and fire chiefs should be paid the same grade; the police chief is at grade 25, which starts at $80,696. Zabel recommended grade 22 for Delain, which would be $69,415.

Trustee Daniel Wing said he was concerned about overextending the village budget.

"It is possible he could be paid more than the chief," Wing said. "Then the chief is going to want more money."

Trustee Dean Wolter recommended a compromise of setting a salary of $66,016, which is between a police captain and lieutenant, with no on-call wage.

Wing voted against the recommendation.

Pollpeter had no comment.

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