WSI board is leary of raises for itselfBISMARCK — Workforce Safety and Insurance board members will likely get a slight increase next month in the stipend they receive for attending meetings.
By: Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK — Workforce Safety and Insurance board members will likely get a slight increase next month in the stipend they receive for attending meetings.
But it’s a recommendation a board committee made only reluctantly Tuesday, citing probable public backlash.
“I don’t want to make a big negative publicity thing about the board granting itself a raise because there’s money in the (WSI reserve) fund,” said board member J.P. Wiest of Jamestown.
“I’m leary of a general large increase at this time,” agreed John Dyste of Forman.
Two recent consultants’ reports and an audit recently recommended WSI board members be paid more than their current $104 per day while meeting, the same as what legislators make when they meet.
They were scheduled to begin getting $108 per day for meetings, beginning July 1.
Dyste, Wiest and board member Roberta Ripplinger of Minot voted Tuesday to recommend to the board that it raise its members’ pay to $130 per day for the coming 12 months and that they also be paid for the time they spend preparing for meetings.
Their recommendation will go to the full board at its next meeting, June 19.
The committee’s recommendations are that, in addition to per diem pay for attending meetings, every board member should get an extra half-day pay to prepare for each board meeting and a half-day of pay for preparing for each regular committee meeting, such as the Audit Committee. The chairman of the committee will get a full day of pay for preparing for the committee meeting. The chairman of the board would get two full days’ pay for preparing for each meeting.
Committee members said Tuesday that they’ll still likely have to read headlines about “board votes itself a pay raise” regardless of the modest increases, but said they had found a medium between following the consultants’ and auditors’ recommendations and yet keeping the increase modest.
“None of us got on the board to make money,” Dyste said.
The board is also set to beginning meeting more often, which auditors and consultants also recommended. Instead of meeting quarterly, the board will now meeting six times a year starting next week.
Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.