Officers FAQ 8

What factors distinguish a municipal officer from a municipal employee and what are some implications of the distinction?

There is no complete list of factors for distinguishing a municipal officer from a municipal employee. However, a few of the more significant ones that indicate a person is a municipal officer include:

1. The person is serving in a statutory municipal office listed in Wis. Stat. §§ 62.09 (cities) or 61.19 and 61.20 (villages) such as mayor, village president, alderperson, trustee, treasurer, clerk, comptroller, attorney, deputy clerk, deputy treasurer, or is serving on a statutory committee, commission, or board such as the police and fire commission, board of zoning appeals, or planning commission;

2. the person is serving in a position or capacity listed in the municipality’s ordinances as a municipal office; or

3. the person filed an oath of office.

Elected or appointed municipal officers, including members of boards and commissions, are generally not subject to the same employment regulations applicable to municipal employees. Moreover, status as a municipal officer may affect the timing of salary changes, how the person resigns or quits, and how that person is disciplined or removed from office. It also impacts how a vacancy in the office or position is subsequently filled. Wisconsin Stat. §§ 17.12, 17.13 and 17.16 govern the removal of municipal officers such as mayors, village trustees, and members of municipal boards and commissions. Wisconsin Stat. § 17.01 specifies how municipal officers may resign from office. (rev. 3/21)