Fort Laramie Council finalized office hours, treasurer’s salary

FORT LARAMIE – During a special meeting the Fort Laramie Town Council finalized its new office hours based on the salary and working hours of newly-hired town treasurer on November 14.

During its special meeting, Fort Laramie town council members discussed an earlier monthly meeting in which they discussed how to extend the office hours based on the working hours of the town’s new treasurer and based on her salary.

Council Member Kelly Loveland was concerned about the town budget in relation to new Fort Laramie Treasurer Sondra Ellis’s salary and hours requirement. She asked the council to clarify if Ellis is a salaried or hourly employee.

After some apologies, clarifications and discussion regarding the need and goals the town council set out to achieve with hiring a new treasurer, ultimately, the council decided with Ellis and the outgoing treasurer, Kim Craft, the office hours would be: Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The council also determined, with Ellis, she would work through lunch so that the office can be available during the town’s busiest time, which is the lunch hour from just before noon to just after 1 p.m. They also agreed Ellis would work 6.5 hours Monday through Thursday and six hours office time on Friday’s, however, she would be expected to use additional time on Friday’s to do bank runs and attend all city council meetings, including special sessions during the month.

Fort Laramie Mayor Joyce Evans said this meets and is a starting point for the town to hit its goal to be more readily accessible to community members.

Ultimately, the council determined Ellis would be a salaried employee, with a base pay of $25 an hour and would work at least 40 hours a week, if not more with council meetings and other non-office hours requirements.

Fort Laramie Councilman Mike Doan said he understands Loveland’s budgetary concerns, but noted there are other ways the council can rectify those concerns.

Fort Laramie Councilman Ryon Brown reminded council members the current town clerk and treasurer Kim Craft was retiring from the position at the end of the year, which would help bring the budget into alignment again.

When Fort Laramie Councilwoman Laura Curtsinger asked Loveland what she would propose instead, Loveland did “math backwards” and determined a better salary which would help the town budget would be $23.12 an hour for a salaried position of 40 hours a week; a $1.82 per hour difference from what council members ultimately agreed to.

Both Loveland and Evans decided the $1.82 difference was inconsequential and not worth nitpicking because the goal of the office was to extend its hours in a fiscally responsible manner so that more town members could do business at the office.

Together, town council members decided reaching its goal to have longer office hours for the community was worth the investment of the $1.82 difference, which they agreed can be made up and reevaluated at a later date.

Mayor Evans thanked Loveland for always being concerned about the budget and keeping Fort Laramie fiscally responsible to which Loveland responded it was in her nature due to what she does for a living.

Loveland also addressed Ellis and said, “I feel like you’ve (Ellis) stepped outside and tried to expand your comfort zone and I appreciate that – I appreciate your willingness to jump in and get your feet wet – I really do think that you’re going to do great in this position. I don’t want you to think that any of my frustration has anything to do with the hire that we chose.”

The Mayor also apologized to Loveland for not being clearer with the town council after some final negotiations occurred between her and Ellis.

All town council members walked away from the meeting feeling a bit more comfortable with the council’s final decision and appreciative they are one step closer to meeting its goal with community members to be available more often.

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