City Council Undecided On Domestic Partner Benefits

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MTT News Desk's picture
Francesca Mastrangelo

An ordinance that would require city contractors to provide domestic partner benefits provoked a heated discussion by the Middleton Common Council last week.

Disagreement over the proposed rule’s necessity sparked debate over an issue that carries both social and fiscal significance.

Ald. Mark Sullivan (Dist. 8) questioned the long-term monetary impact this ordinance would have upon the city. Sullivan asked that the matter be referred to the public works and finance committees in order to “analyze the ordinance’s impact” and assess what implications the change might produce downstream.

When advocating for the ordinance, ald. JoAnna Richard (Dist. 3) expressed frustration with Sullivan’s recommendation, saying “the change does not incur additional costs.” Richard said the ordinance would simply enable domestic partners to jump onto already existing benefit plans.

“If a contractor already provides a family plan then this change would just allow domestic partners to be seen as part of that plan,” Richard stated.

After a lengthy conversation resulting in no accord, the council resolved to suspend the motion and push the vote to a later date. Consequently, the council delayed voting on a related ordinance which would have codified existing city policy to include domestic partner benefits for city employees.


Downtown Redevelopment Talks Continue:

The council also discussed plans to implement a comprehensive downtown brick terrace and streetscaping project. In considering two potential avenues for construction, the council favored an option supported by the finance and public works committees.

The chosen option will create placeholders for spot curbs, replace defective crosswalks, offer new concrete tree well edging and grates, among other improvements.

Ald. Hans Hilbert (Dist. 7) said he feels the project is a “good long-term investment” for Middleton.


Should City Increase Finance Department Pay?

Additionally, last week’s council meeting included some deliberation over both upgrading the pay of Finance Department personnel and filling clerical vacancies in the Finance office. The council expressed some discord about the need to make any changes to select positions’ pay.

While Richard felt the suggested pay increase was “too high and unnecessary in order to remain competitive within the current market,” Hilbert viewed the recommended change as a “unique opportunity to not only fill current positions, but improve them as well.”

The council agreed to move forward with filling the clerical vacancy, but failed to garner enough support for upgrading any financial position’s salary.





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