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In an article published in the Tribune Press Reporter June 23 about the Boyceville ambulance district board meeting on June 16, it was reported that Shanna Knops had resigned from the Boyceville ambulance service in April. Knops resigned as a captain with the service but still works as an EMT with the Boyceville ambulance service. The Tribune Press Reporter regrets the error.
By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board has amended the 2021 budget to set an annual salary of $18,000 for the new ambulance service director.
Following a closed session of the ambulance district board at the May meeting, the salary for Wayne Dow was set at $1,500 per month, or $18,000 per year, said Peter Score, representative for the Town of Sheridan and chair of the ambulance district board.
Increasing the salary requires an amendment to the 2021 budget, he said.
Ned Hahn, representative for the Town of Hay River, asked what the salary had been for Matt Feeney, the previous ambulance service director.
Feeney’s salary was $14,950 in 2019, Score said.
The two interim directors were paid more than that, Hahn said.
The Boyceville ambulance district board at the December of 2019 meeting approved paying Andrew Kissh and Shanna Knops $2,000 each for November and December and $1,000 each for January for their work of paying the bills and doing the payroll.
At the same meeting, the ambulance district board approved a motion to reduce the ambulance chief’s salary by $4,800 per year since the chief would not be paying the bills or doing the payroll after the ambulance district hired a clerk-treasurer and approved setting the salary for the clerk-treasurer at $6,000 per year.
Kissh and Knops resigned from the Boyceville ambulance service in April of this year in protest over the ambulance district board’s decision to hire Dow as the director.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board approved a motion to amend the 2021 budget to reflect the change in salary for the new director of the ambulance service.
Kissh was appointed as interim director at the November of 2019 meeting after Matt Feeney, director of the Boyceville ambulance service, was placed on paid administrative leave.
Paying the district’s bills and doing the payroll shifted to Feeney after the late Cindy Swanepoel, Boyceville clerk-treasurer, said she no longer wished to do the work.
Swanepoel died in February of 2016.
Members of the ambulance district include the Towns of Hay River, New Haven, Stanton, Tiffany, Sherman, Sheridan and the Village of Boyceville.
Valerie Windsor, clerk-treasurer for the ambulance district, reported that she had overpaid Kissh and Knops by $250 each.
Kissh and Knops were paid $1,000 per month, or $500 per paid period, and their resignations were submitted in the middle of a pay period, she said.
Kissh and Knops were overpaid money that they did not earn, Score said.
Dow said he had sent a letter to Kissh and Knops asking for the ambulance district to be reimbursed for the overpayment.
Kissh and Knops attended the June 16 meeting of the ambulance district.
Asking for the overpayment to be reimbursed to the ambulance district is against state law, Kissh said.
If the overpaid wages are paid back, the W-2 forms will have to be adjusted for 2021, and the federal and state taxes will have to be adjusted, too, Knops said.
According to an article posted online by Axley Brynelson LLP, a law firm with offices in Madison and Waukesha, it is not illegal for an employer to ask to be reimbursed for overpaid wages.
According to the article, “(state statute) only offers these protections to employees who have actually earned the wages that are taken away. In other words, it doesn’t cover circumstances in which an employer mistakenly overpays an employee or when an employee pads his time card, intentionally causing overpayment. In these situations, an employer can deduct wages without prior written permission from the employee …”
Under state law, employers can deduct certain losses from employee’s wages as well such as a broken company cell phone or other lost or broken equipment, as long as the employee has signed a written agreement that the employer can make the deduction from wages the employee has earned.
The ambulance district board “should forget about it and let it go. There’s been enough contention already,” said Marv Prestrud, representative for the Town of New Haven.
The issue of the overpayment was not an agenda item, so the ambulance district board could not make any motions pertaining to the overpayment.
Bob Anderson, representative for the Town of Stanton, said a letter should be sent to Kissh and Knops stating that the overpayment is not an issue.
Score handed out copies of the amended bylaws for members of the ambulance district board.
The bylaws committee met June 2 to update the bylaws. The representatives for the municipalities in the ambulance district should share the updated bylaws with their respective boards, and the bylaws will be on the agenda for the July meeting, he said.
At the Boyceville Village Board meeting Monday evening, village board members said the EMS chief’s job performance should be assessed on an annual basis, said Luke Montgomery, Boyceville village president.
Language has been updated in the bylaws so that the ambulance service is no longer a subsidiary of the the Village of Boyceville and, instead, is governed by the ambulance district, Score said.
The bylaws also clarify the hiring of an EMS chief, he said.
Score said that if any of the town boards or the village board had additional suggestions for the bylaws, the suggestions should be sent to him by e-mail so he could edit and add them to the document.
Score reported that as part of the plea agreement for former Boyceville EMS Chief Matthew J. Feeney, who initially was charged with two misdemeanor counts of fraudulent data alteration and theft in a business setting of less than $2,500, that Feeney is required to pay $2,550 in restitution to the ambulance district and must complete 20 hours of community service.
During a court hearing in Dunn County June 11, Judge John F. Manydeeds accepted a Deferred Acceptance of a Guilty Plea agreement (DAGP) and scheduled a deferred prosecution agreement hearing for Feeney on December 13.
Judge Manydeeds also dismissed the second misdemeanor count of theft in a business setting of less than $2,500 but ordered it read into the court record.
A deferred prosecution agreement and a DAGP, under Wisconsin law, allows someone facing charges to enter into an agreement with the court to uphold certain conditions in return for charges that are reduced or dismissed.
If Feeney fulfills the terms of the plea agreement, the charges will be expunged from his record, Score said.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board meets next on July 14 at the Boyceville fire station following the Boyceville fire board meeting.