Brainerd city interns, community service officers bumped up to $14 an hour

Interns and community service officers at the city of Brainerd will all earn at least $14 an hour moving forward.

Brainerd City Hall 1.JPG
Brainerd City Hall. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Community service officers and interns at the city of Brainerd will now earn at least $14 per hour.

Brainerd City Council members approved the measure Monday, June 21, after hearing of the challenges staff experienced in hiring for these positions. The conversation started at the street department level, though.

“This year, and actually in several years, for our street department, we’ve had to beg, steal and borrow to get someone to work out there, and that’s actually applied to other positions this year, too,” Human Resources Director Kris Schubert told the city council’s personnel and finance committee Monday.

Brainerd City Council members discuss matters during their meeting Monday, June 21, 2021. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch


This issue caused wage disparities among employees working similar positions, as several employees hired earlier in the year earned a lower wage than employees hired later in the year. Additionally, temporary engineering and parks department staff members were reassigned to help cover staffing needs at the street department. Eric Desmith was hired as a temporary street laborer/paint crew employee at $13 an hour in May but is now performing the same duties as other interns or temporary employees who have moved to the street department or were hired later but are earning higher wages.

The council agreed to increase Desmith’s hourly rate to $14 to put him at the same level as another street laborer who was hired in June and one of the engineering interns.

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Interns and CSOs

A larger wage discussion then followed, with staff questioning whether community service officers in the police department and city interns should also be making at least $14 to be competitive with other local employers and as an incentive for those individuals to seek future employment with the city.

Community service officers begin at $12 an hour, which Police Chief Mike Bestul said he recently learned is less than some of the work study programs for law enforcement students at Central Lakes College.

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“So how do we become more competitive, and how do we draw some of those folks over to us to get that next level of experience?” Bestul said Monday, noting students have questioned why they should come over to the city if they’re making more money in the work study program.

The increased wages, he added, would give more students the opportunity to work with the police department and foster a relationship that may blossom into a full-time police officer job later on.

The city’s geographic information system and information technology intern earns $15 an hour, but the interns in the human resources, communications and police departments are at $13, $13.50 and $12 an hour, respectively.


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Moving the three interns and the community service officers up to $14 an hour moving forward will cost the city less than $5,800. Much of the excess cost will be absorbed by the police department’s budget, as the department is not fully staffed.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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