RHINELANDER - Most city council meetings are fairly quiet.
But what brought Rhinelander residents out tonight was a battle that's become a common one in Wisconsin.
"Equal pay for equal work,"
That's what Union workers wanted to maintain at tonight's city council meeting in Rhinelander.
"We are going to be advocating that this is not how we entered this agreement in good faith," AFSCME staff representative, John Spiegelhoff said.
"Therefore we're advocating for the city to not go through with this ordinance change and to vote it down."
The city is looking for ways to save money.
One way is to lower the wage rate on new department of public works hires by four dollars an hour.
"Before you make the move to reduce four dollars an hour from the wages of people who do the type of work that are covered in the contract which is a tremendous cut in pay," said Rhinelander resident, Dennis O'Brien.
"It really would be fare and prudent at your part to review this more carefully."
A union rep says doing so won't just affect the department of public works.
"This is going to adversely affect labor relations within the city if it goes through," Spiegelhoff said.
"As well as the businesses that are going to be adversely affected."
But the city says it doesn't have more money to give.
"The words that I heard were we want more not less. There is no more." Rhinelander Alderman, Mark Pelletier said.
"If you look at the tax increase that the city has done in the past few years, there's not much capacity to raise taxes on our residents going forward, said Rhinelander Alderman, Alex Young.
"There just isn't money in the piggy bank to keep going the way we're going."
The council voted unanimously in favor of the decrease.
"All those in favor signify by saying "I" "EYE" votes opposed. Motion carried. Ordinance stands."
Young thinks the new wage rate is still a competitive rate.
This new proposal will not affect the current workers, only the new hires.
ONEIDA COUNTY - Back in November, a 20-year-old Rhinelander man drove and crashed his car after a night of drinking, killing his best friend in the passenger seat.
That driver will now spend nine months in jail.
Randall J. Lego was sentenced in Oneida County Court on Friday.
He faced two charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
According to court documents, Lego's car hit a power pole on River Road just outside Rhinelander.
The passenger, 23-year-old Jacob Juedes, was dead at the scene. Juedes was a husband and father of a young daughter.
Oneida County Circuit Court Judge Patrick O'Melia said it was a tragic set of circumstances.
"The only aggravating factor here, and when I say that I don't mean to diminish the loss here, but is the result of this accident," O'Melia said. "That is the only thing that is not in your favor, which is the result of the action and the permanency of it."
Some witnesses testified to Lego's character and pleaded with the judge to not give jail time.
But, Judge O'Melia sentenced Lego to nine months in jail and seven years probation.
"There's a lot of people in the community who have strong feelings about what should happen," O'Melia said. "But the court can't sentence on community anger or community empathy."
Lego must also complete 200 hours of community service, for which Judge O'Melia wants Lego to speak to kids and teens about his experience.
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