Mayor Scrima has donated half of his salary into the New Day in Waukesha Fund

Published on: 12/26/2013

During the lead-up to the 2010 mayoral election, Jeff Scrima repeatedly pledged that he would serve as the mayor of Waukesha on half pay.

Now, with the lead-up to the 2014 election approaching, Scrima released that he has put in $92,194.33 into the New Day in Waukesha Fund, which is more than half of his net salary of $184,035.74 over the last three years.

Instead of directly working for half of his salary, Scrima created the New Day in Waukesha Fund two months after winning the 2010 election over incumbent Larry Nelson.

The New Day in Waukesha Fund is managed through the Waukesha County Community Foundation and Scrima said it was created to serve as a "catalyst community fund dedicated with providing vitality to the city." 

“I believe in keeping promises,” Scrima said in his only comment on the matter.

Kathryn M. Leverenz, president and CEO of the Waukesha County Community Foundation, confirmed Scrima’s contributions in a letter and that the New Day in Waukesha Fund has made grants totaling $59,422.

These include two entries for the Waukesha GuitarTown project totaling $30,160 — the first was for starting the community project two years ago ($15,160) and the second was for GuitarTown II this year ($15,000) — restoring the city’s Farmer’s Market structure ($23,312) and for new gateway entrance signs to the city ($5,950).

The most recent transaction for helping to build gateway signs around the perimeter of the city was just approved by the fund.

While Scrima has given more than $92,000 to the New Day in Waukesha Fund, others have contributed as well.

The Lato Family Foundation has donated $16,500.71, Waukesha philanthropists Andrea and Anthony Bryant $10,000, Ron Kading $45.04 and Donald E. Tewes $100.

After interest and fees, and the grants, the New Day in Waukesha Fund's current balance is $57,053.67.

Scrima said future plans for the fund include being "a catalyst for exciting new civic projects" with the city's Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, La Casa de Esperanza and Carroll University. 

During the 2010 campaign, Scrima said he would give half his mayor's pay back to the community and he says the Fund accomplishes his goal. 

The annual salary for the mayor is established by a salary ordinance, which also has a $120 per month car allowance. In 2010, the salary was $70,100, before increasing to $73,100 in 2011, $76,100 in 2012 and $79,100 in 2013.

According to Human Resources Manager Donna Whalen, the mayor’s net salary, which equals gross (salary plus car allowance) minus deductions for required taxes, required pension contributions and health insurance contributions from the time Scrima began his tenure to the end of 2010 was $33,899.02. It was $50,295.32 in 2011, $49,788.42 in 2012 and $50,052.99 in 2013.

The donations are not directly reducing the city tax levy and Scrima is giving half his net pay, rather than gross pay.

With a deadline to file non-candidacy papers on Friday, Scrima has yet to announce whether he will seek another term in office.