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Crossing guard wages OK'd amid contract review


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau will pay the salaries of its crossing guards through the end of this year even though some city leaders question a decision to outsource the job to a California company.

The City Council agreed Tuesday to transfer $41,500 from an account for police crossing guard salaries to a police account for other special services, which is currently $300 overdrawn.

Alderwoman Lisa Rasmussen was the most vocal City Council critic of the decision to outsource crossing guard duties to All City Management Services. But she agreed to the transfer so the employees can be paid.

“We owe it to the public to make sure that we're doing this the best possible way at the best possible price,” she said.

Police Chief Jeff Hardel signed a contract in August – just weeks before school started – outsourcing the duties. He has said the change will save a police lieutenant from spending 10 to 15 percent of his time on crossing guard issues and free up patrol officers who had been pulled from the street to cover for guards who did not show up to work.

But the $93,000 contract is $18,000 more than the city had budgeted for crossing guards.

Rasmussen has asked Mayor Jim Tipple to schedule a committee of the whole meeting where the City Council can review the contract and decide whether to modify it. A meeting date has not been set.

“We also have work to do before we continue the rest of the school year under this current arrangement,” Rasmussen said.