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New Wauwatosa fire chief's salary set at $104,000

March 2, 2011

Wauwatosa's next fire chief will make a starting salary of more than $104,000.

The Common Council on Tuesday approved a compensation package for new hire Rob Ugaste. In addition to starting salary, he will get three weeks of vacation and a uniform allowance of $500 for the first year and $350 each year after. In addition, a week of executive leave was granted.

Executive leave is a way to provide a more attractive package, but if he would leave it would not be paid out like unused vacation time, City Administrator James Archambo said.

Ugaste's salary comes in about $3,000 less than recently retired chief Dean Redman, who held the position for 14 years.

The vote was 12-2, with aldermen Tim Hanson and Michael Walsh in opposition. Both men also voted against hiring and compensation packages for the new public works and finance directors two weeks ago. They were interested in holding off the votes until the council makes some decisions about residency requirements for department heads.

Walsh worried that the new chief would not be in close proximity in the case of a major emergency. Ugaste comes from outside the state, working as deputy chief of administration for the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District in northern Illinois.

City ordinance requires the fire chief live in Wauwatosa, but he has more than a year to make the move. It is his plan to buy a house in Tosa, City Administrator James Archambo said. Until then, he'll make the necessary lodging arrangements to be accessible to the city, he added.

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