Watertown City Council Considers Cutting New Mayor’s Pay 14%

To the victor usually go the spoils. But in Watertown, might the victor face some spoilsports?

At tomorrow night’s meeting, the Watertown City Council will consider Resolution 17-21 (agenda item #14), which would set the mayor’s salary at $69,360. That’s a reduction of 14% from the $80,437.20 that the council set just six months ago. Resolution 17-21 does not change any other city salaries, so it does not appear to be part of any broad cost-cutting measure. Resolution 17-21 does not indicate that the city is experiencing any major negative fiscal change necessitating this reduction.

The only major change in Watertown city government over the past month has been the swearing-in of new mayor Sarah Caron, who defeated Republican-PAC-favored incumbent Steve Thorson last month.

We’ll see which city councillors support this pay cut at the top and why tomorrow night.

35 Responses to Watertown City Council Considers Cutting New Mayor’s Pay 14%

  1. This looks corrupt to me. Whatever happened in this city, state and nation to the will of the Voter?

  2. Hmmmmm. $86 pay for $100 worth of work. Oh well, she’s merely a woman, eh ??

  3. She’s a woman. No Republican would be willing to pay equal money to a woman.

  4. Faye Lenards

    Are you saying Sarah Caron is not as educated and capable as Steve Thorson? Whose idea was that?
    I will be very anxious to see who votes for that.

  5. Thanks for making us aware of this important story.

  6. David Newquist

    It’s confusing. The supporting documentation for the resolution has the signature lines of the city finance officer and the mayor. Who proposed the resolution?

  7. Come On Watertown, do Not let them get away with this. This is not something to sit quietly by on

  8. Porter Lansing

    Let Mayor Caron use Thorson’s sports car. 😁

  9. Janet Workman

    If this goes through and Mayor Caron’s salary is reduced…. I will never be able to trust or back our city council again! This is ridiculous! We will see who supports this pay cut. There can be no good reason and it looks like Watertown government is more corrupt than I thought. Hopefully, those I helped elect will not vote for this pay cut. I will stop short of completely going into a rage until I know which of Watertown’s council members make a statement of how they feel about having a woman as mayor (because that is truely what it comes down to!)

  10. Susan Buhler

    The starting pay for any incoming employee is usually less than an employee leaving with experience under their belt. Any HR in any company has a pay grade for any position, and pay grade increases accordingly. This is not sexist and no sour grapes on the part of the Council because of how an election turned out. Speak to the City Finance Officer. They City Council has nothing to do with this.

  11. Porter Lansing

    Watertown will continue to be a “second tier” town until it gets a significant immigrant community, like Aberdeen, Huron and Sioux Falls. IMHO

  12. Sounds like sexism or sour grapes to me but I will wait for more information about the reasons for this and who proposed it and who supports it.

  13. Jan Brandriet

    I am new to this community,I believe your past Mayor and council has done alot of unnecessary spending when it should of went to repair your terrible streets,trashy homes and much more. I say give this lady a chance before you cut HER wages by 20,000 dollars. The council needs to make improvements to their retail business so they don’t keep losing revenue in tax dollars,then they wouldnt even have to think of cutting wages. I used to be able to come to your city and do most of my shopping as I lived 36 miles away. Now I find that its easier to shop in Sioux Falls rather than here.

  14. Susan, did the Watertown City Council knock down the mayor’s salary when Steve Thorson first took office?

  15. The salary schedule in the January city resolution on wages includes pay grades for many city employees; however, it establishes a single wage, with no steps for experience, for numerous administrative positions. It sets a single wage for all city aldermen, without any distinction between incumbents and rookies. If the lower wage for Caron is really just a corporate HR practice applied to city government, why does this proposal not ask for a similar wage cut for newly elected alderman Josh Weyh?

  16. Dixie Powless

    SD usually gets by with this kind of sexism, let’s don’t let them this time.

  17. Roger Cornelius

    Has anyone ever know of an elected politician that was on a wage scale?
    Qualified or not, these officials get elected knowing what the salary is.
    If we are going to use wage scales for elected officers, I suggest that the senate cut Trump’s salary down to $1.00 a year.

  18. Mr. Lansing, I realize you are not from South Dakota, but the vast majority of South Dakotans believe that Huron hasn’t even achieved 3rd tier status. Their dreams of being half as good as Watertown are like Snow White dancing at the ball in the glass slippers while high on apple juice. Put down the hash pipe and get a grip on reality, sir.

  19. Porter Lansing

    Mr. Grudzie … I realize you’re not from South Dakota. You’re from Rapid City which is more a part of Wyoming than anything. Your knowledge of the eastern prairie pothole region is nothing. Mind your own business, go back in the closet and hide. New things don’t scare everyone.

  20. Such a move is patently unfair, vindictive, arbitrary, and capricious. It’s likely illegal. It certainly also appears as blatant gender bias. The general principle from the US Constitution down, is to not molest pay during a present term; while it is fair to adjust pay for future terms.

    Is Watertown yet another insular South Dakota town at war with itself? Or is its problem this anti-government zealotry nonsense? If the it’s the latter then cancel their air service subsidy, cancel Coddington County farm payments, etc., and let them see how they make things better on their own.

  21. Grudzie . . . how many state hockey titles has Watertown won? Cannot see the ceiling in the Huron ice rink for all the banners getting in the way. With all of its immigrants – the highest ratio in the state as measured via school enrollments – shortly Huron will be the state soccer powerhouse and is coming back as an economic and cultural power.

  22. Porter Lansing

    Of course, many of my friends in Sisseton, Eagle Butte and Pine Ridge will say Watertown is already an immigrant community. :0) Uninvited immigrant community.

  23. Rapid City has about 85% immigrant population. If you’re going by color of skin or race and are into that sort of superficial nonsense.

  24. Glad Huron is making a comeback! Many fond memories of going to the state fair and occasionally other events. Immigrants add so much to communities, good workers, cultural enrichment and fresh ideas! And apparently athletic talent as well!

  25. Porter Lansing

    You’re a little high, Grudzie. Probably a little drunk, too.
    80% of Rapid are Caucasian immigrants and 10% are Native Americans.

  26. I have all your goats tonight, Mr. Lansing. I am shaving them poorly.
    You don’t know what an immigrant is.

  27. Roger Elgersma

    Just because she is a woman. In Sioux Falls we had a school superintendent who had a lot of experience when she retired and they hired someone with less experience from a school district one third the size and gave him more than ten percent more than she got. Just prejudice.

  28. I have to wonder is there a starting pay scale for this, I mean If I go and get a job that someone that has been working at for 4-5 years and they have earned pay raises, I walk in and get that same job and wage even though I am just starting and have not yet shown my abilities to earn more??? I think I understand everyone wants equal rights for pay but have to look at big picture too.

  29. Porter Lansing

    Does anyone else see the, “Let’s just scare her and let her know who’s really the boss of Watertown angle?”

  30. I get what you’re saying about starting pay and promotion, Cindy. But if that’s the motivation behind this resolution, why does it only apply to the mayor’s position? The January salary resolution sets experience steps for some city employees but fixed salary for a host of administrative positions. Did the city apply such a pay cut when Thorson came into office? Will the city apply such a pay cut to newly elected council members? Does a new mayor who has experience working in city government (like former assistant city engineer Caron) get a higher starting salary than a new mayor with no public service experience? If someone who has been mayor of another town moves to Watertown and wins election, does that person get extra pay for experience? Should a former mayor of Brookings or Sioux Falls get a higher starting salary than a former mayor of Hayti or Kranzburg? Should a mayor who has lived in Watertown all of her life get a higher starting wage than someone who just moved to town ten years ago?

    I love looking at the big picture. The resolution before the council tonight seems to be looking only at this mayor in this moment.

  31. Susan Buhler is the wife of council president Bruce Buhler

  32. Is Councilman Buhler sponsoring this measure?

  33. The Watertown Public Opinion picks up the story and notes that in 2014, Thorson’s first full year in office, the council raised the mayor’s pay to $69,627.57.

  34. I talked to a couple councilmen, the Mayors pay has become a hot enough topic no one wants to take ownership of. It appears it will not pass tonight or get pulled form the agenda. Finger being pointed at the finance office of the city of Watertown

  35. The finance officer is the only employee that the mayor can not fire, she answers directly to the council. I cant believe she has the imagination to come up with this on her own. IMO this is the council trying to intimadate the new mayor.