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November 23, 2017

11/14/2017 7:26:00 AM
City making progress on Kost contract extension

Jamie Taylor
River News Reporter

Interim Rhinelander city administrator Keith Kost's contract extension is expected to be finalized this week.

Following a discussion Nov. 7, the city's finance committee directed city attorney Carrie Miljevich to prepare a contract addendum for the full City Council to approve. A vote on the addendum was scheduled for Monday's night council meeting which took place after press time.

Kost told the council last month he would be willing to stay on until the end of June but the city would have to find a new administrator after that time.

His current contract is due to expire Dec. 31.

"I'm willing to stay until the end of June. I'm not willing to stay indefinitely," Kost said during an Oct. 23 special council meeting.

He has since clarified that if it takes a little longer to get a replacement onboard and up to speed, he would be willing to stick around until that can be accomplished.

One change to the contract Kost is seeking is the addition of insurance benefits through the city plan as part of his compensation package.

At present, Kost is paid as a part-time employee, although he has frequently worked enough hours to qualify for insurance coverage.

"Overall, this expense would be way, way lower than what we're looking at once we have a full-time administrator anyway," finance chair Mark Pelletier said. "We do have budgeted for 2018 the cost of a full-time administrator with benefits."

The extension would pay Kost $65,098 in wages and benefits for the six months out of the 2018 budgeted amount for the city administrators.

Alderperson Sherrie Belliveau asked if there would be a new contract for Kost covering the first half of 2018.

Kost said that extending the contract while adding the insurance compensation could be handled via an addendum to the present contract that would take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

"What would happen is the addendum would require me to work at least 30 hours a week, which I'm already doing," Kost said. "My salary is based on 60 percent, which is fine. But the insurance amount there is based on 75 percent because that is what I'll be working."

He said he is required to be a 75-percent employee to be eligible for coverage under the city insurance plan.

City attorney Carrie Miljevich said it would be possible to have the addendum ready for approval by the full council to approve at its Nov. 13 meeting.

"It would be real simple," Kost agreed.

Pelletier noted that the cost of the search for a new administrator could be covered by the savings the city will experience as a result of Kost not taking a full salary during the extension period.

The committee voted unanimously to direct Miljevich to prepare the addendum.

Jamie Taylor may be reached at

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