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Riverfront Commission OK's raise for manager

Contract still needs approval from City Council

DIXON – Despite concerns from the Riverfront Commission's treasurer, the board approved a raise for its executive manager.

The contract, approved Tuesday evening gives Executive Manager Kay Miller a monthly salary of $800. Since late last year, Miller's monthly salary has been $200, but before that she was being paid $1,000 a month.

The salary increase still must be approved by the Dixon City Council, something Commissioner Dennis Considine wanted to make sure of.

The city commissioner attended the meeting, he said, to learn more about the council-appointed board and its plans. He was especially concerned about how the commission would pay back the city for the Riverfront project.

"I think for big picture, for our community, we need to start being aboveboard and being aware of where we're spending our money, whether it's $800 a month or $500 a month," Considine said.

Miller's original salary was cut last fall amid concerns that the Riverfront was not bringing in enough money to support it.

Her contract then called for her to receive $200 a month, plus an additional $800 if the sale of amenities supported it. She had consistently received the $800 bonus even though a review of monthly treasurer reports from 2011 doesn't necessarily show that revenues merited it.

Sauk Valley Media requested treasurer reports for all of 2011. It did not receive one for April, which may affect the totals.

In 2011, the Riverfront's maintenance fund lost about $9,500, bringing in about $30,500 and spending nearly $40,000.

The numbers for 2012 were better. In the first 8 months, the commission's maintenance fund brought in about $29,000 and spent about $19,000.

The maintenance fund, from which Miller is paid, is separate from the foundation account, from which payments to the city are made.

Commission Treasurer Coral Tichler said she would have been in favor of, perhaps, an increase in Miller's monthly pay to $500. She was the sole no vote in the 3-1 decision. Two board members were absent and Paul Miller, Kay's husband, abstained from voting.

"It scares me going forward because the money's not coming in," Tichler said.

Of the events Miller put on, Tichler said, only the Midsummer Jubilee turned a profit.

Other events that served as fundraisers were hosted by other organizations and businesses.

But the other three commission members thought the $800 salary was justified.

Chairman Larry Reed said the executive manager's job was not a volunteer job, that $200 barely covered Miller's expenses, and that it requires the person to be on call all the time.

The contract allows for reasonable expenses to be submitted for reimbursement.

Pointing to the list of activities that took place on the Riverfront this year, he said, "To coordinate an activity like that is probably more time than any of us know."

The commission's secretary, Pris Brickley, agreed.

"To volunteer is basically someone who works without being paid but is not legally bound to produce because no pay is involved," she said. "That being said, most if not all volunteers do so because they feel that what they are doing is important.

"There comes a time due to the requirements of a job, decisions need to made that a contractual salary would be the solution to assuring the continual effort be put forth to produce the required results."

Also Tuesday

The Riverfront Commission also approved an agreement with a grant writer during its meeting Tuesday.

Under the contract, Frank Rausa of Sterling would receive a commission only if the grant application was successful.

The commission would depend on the size of the grant and would not exceed $10,000, according to the contract.

The contract still must be approved by the Dixon City Council.

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