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Supervisors increase per diems

ELLSWORTH - Pierce County Board members gave themselves a raise Monday.

The board voted 10-7 to increases supervisors' per diems for committee meetings from $35 to $40. Pay for County Board meetings will remain at $50 per meeting.

Board members will now receive $75 for attending meetings outside the county, a $5 bump over their previous per diems for out-of-county meetings.

The rates will take effect next year.

"The amount that supervisors are paid per meeting hasn't changed in 10 years," Supervisor Rich Purdy, Town of River Falls, said before the vote.

Board members in favor of the pay bump said it would help attract future board members and would offset expenses incurred by attending meetings, which would help less affluent people serve on the board.

Supervisor Ken Snow, Town of Spring Valley, said increasing per diems during the current recession sends the wrong message to county residents.

Supervisor Ronald Bartels, Town of Bay City, agreed.

"I think the timing couldn't be worse," he said.

Voting for the raise were Leo Simones of Prescott, Jim Camery of River Falls, Rich Purdy of River Falls, Ben Plunkett of River Falls, Nikki Shonoiki of River Falls, Ron Lockwood of River Falls, John Kucinski of River Falls, Don Rohl of Ellsworth, Dan Ries of Ellsworth) and Mel Pittman of Plum City.

Dissenting were Paul Barkla of River Falls, Ken Snow of Spring Valley, James Ross of Elmwood, Greg Place of Ellsworth, Ronald Bartels of Bay City, Jerry Kosin of Prescott and Jeff Holst of Hager City.