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Willmar, Minn., Utilities Commission approves salary hike for general manager after favorable 6-month review

WILLMAR — The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has approved a $3,000 salary increase for General Manager Wesley Hompe after the commission’s Labor Relations Committee gave Hompe a favorable six-month performance appraisal.

Committee Chairman Matt Schrupp reported the appraisal and the recommended salary increase from $115,000 to $118,000. The commission approved the increase at the regular meeting Monday as an addendum to Hompe’s contract.

Hompe, former staff electrical engineer, and another staff official who has since retired were appointed interim co-managers after the commission terminated Bruce Gomm as general manager on Feb. 27, 2012.

Hompe was appointed general manager on Aug. 27 and completed his first six months in the role on Feb. 27, 2013. Schrupp said the Labor Committee completed the appraisal in early March.

At that time the committee reviewed some items in the contract and felt the salary adjustment was in line, he said.

“Wes is doing a great job. We wanted to compensate him for that service and the things that he’s been doing,’’ said Schrupp.

In other business, the commission delayed consideration of awarding a contract for repairing the mobile substation transformer. The utility received bids from three companies. But Hompe said more analysis is needed on the bids before a recommendation on a contractor can be made.

This is the second time action on the transformer repair has been delayed. The first time was March 12 when the commission rejected two bids because bidders had included their own terms, conditions and warranties in their proposals, which did not conform to the bid specification.

In other business, the commission accepted the 2012 audit presented by Darrin Ogdahl, CPA, and Wendy Martin, senior auditor, both with CDS of Willmar. CDS performed the 2011 audit.

As expected with an organization that has turnover of key financial positions, there will be a few speed bumps in the process, said Ogdahl. But he said Hompe and Finance Director Tim Hunstad did a nice job of getting through that process. Hunstad joined the utility last November.

“They were committed to getting through that and getting us information,’’ said Ogdahl.

Hompe said working with CDS was a good experience and he said CDS was patient when the utility was asked to gather information.

Among the highlights, total net assets and liabilities increased from $53.1 million in 2011 to $55.5 million in 2012.

Among other highlights, long-term liabilities decreased from $12.4 million in 2011 to $11.8 million in 2012, partly due to making final payment for Willmar’s share of the planning process for the shelved Big Stone II power plant project.

Total revenues increased $2.4 million from nearly $27.3 million in 2011 to $29.7 million in 2012, due to energy and water rate increases.

Operating expenses on a $25 million actual expenditure budget fell $152,000 from 2011 to 2012, Ogdahl said.

“You did a really nice job of controlling those expenses and watching how you spent your money,’’ he said. “All in all the expenses stayed very consistent.’’

Hompe said the audit accurately reflected 2012 revenues and expenses, which he said is what an audit is supposed to do.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150