Seven Ashwaubenon employees receive $2,500 bonuses
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – Merit bonuses totaling $17,500 were approved earlier this year in closed session by the village board.
According to the board’s Feb. 23 closed session minutes obtained in an open records request by The Press Times, bonuses of $2,500 each for seven Ashwaubenon employees were approved by the board after Village Manager Joel Gregozeski and Village President Mary Kardoskee provided an update to the overall performance of the department head staff team for 2020.
The board voted to approve the lump sum merit bonuses for Village Attorney Tony Wachewicz, Finance Director Greg Wenholz, Public Works Director Doug Martin, Community Development Director Aaron Schuette, Administrative Assistant Terri Lewis, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Rex Mehlberg and Public Safety Chief Brian Uhl.
Gregozeski and Kardoskee said the bonuses were provided to those seven employees because of the financial challenges in dealing with the pandemic and having to handle extra duties with Ashwaubenon not having a village manager for almost five months last year.
The village manager position was vacant from when Allison Swanson resigned in early July until Gregozeski was hired in late November.
Kardoskee said the board “recognized the extra efforts of the staff that dealt with things on a daily basis.”
“The department heads and some staff had to absorb the duties of the village manager, while also doing their day-to-day duties,” she said. “The duties of village manager were divided up between many of the staff to make sure we were always following the legalities of each situation…”
Kardoskee said the board also “recognized the significant stress of everything that we had to deal with in handling COVID-19.”
“Our department heads needed to issue direction to the employees for something that was so new to everyone, and did it while also balancing the day-to-day operations,” she said. “The policies they put into place limited the number of quarantines we had to deal with.”
Gregozeski said the unbudgeted merit bonuses were provided on a one-time basis for the seven village employees, whose salaries remain the same, with the bonuses paid for with surplus funds from the village’s general fund.
He said the village ended 2020 with a budget surplus for the year.
The board transferred approximately $421,000 in excess 2020 general fund dollars at its March 23 meeting by placing $100,000 into the employee retirement fund and the remainder into the village’s building fund.