RACINE — It’s been three weeks since the City Council voted to extend City Administrator Tom Friedel’s contract, giving him a $10,000 raise over two years.
But whether he will accept their offer, and stay on in the job still remains unclear, at least for the public at large.
With his current contract slated to expire on Sunday, July 12, calls made to Friedel over the last few weeks have not been returned, and other city officials have remained mum on the issue.
Asked about the situation on Monday, Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney, who oversees the city’s human resources department, wrote in an email: “it is not his place to address this issue.”
A call made to Mayor John Dickert on Tuesday regarding the situation was not returned.
An email sent to Friedel on Monday received an automatic reply that he would be out of the office until July 13.
City Council President Dennis Wiser said Tuesday evening he was not aware of Friedel’s plans and there had been no updates from Friedel or the administration, as far as he knew.
“I haven’t gotten anything to that effect,” he said.
The relative silence that has fallen upon the issue in recent weeks comes after close to a month of contentious debate among aldermen about the city administrator position and its salary.
With the expiration of Friedel’s current contract fast approaching, Mayor John Dickert and Deputy City Attorney Scott Letteney approached the Finance and Personnel Committee on May 26 requesting that Friedel’s contract be extended by two years and his salary increased by 31 percent.
Under Dickert and Letteney’s proposal, Friedel’s current $99,237 salary would have climbed to $115,000 on July 13, and then to $130,000 one year later. The men said such an increase was necessary if the city wanted to put compensation for the position in line with what city administrators in similar communities are paid.
In a letter Friedel sent to aldermen in early June, he wrote that while he “never made any demands for a specific salary,” he did ask to receive a pay increase that would put his “salary at a level more consistent” with his predecessors and “peers in the region.”
The debate over his contract and pay ended on June 16 with aldermen ultimately voting 8-6 to extend Friedel’s contract by two years, and increase his salary by $5,000 this year, and $5,000 next year.
With no official word on his plans available the following week, members of the Finance and Personnel Committee had planned to discuss allocating funds for a possible search for a new administrator and wages for that new administrator, but ultimately ended up deferring the discussion of the proposals.