At a minimum, Mequon Districts 2, 7 and 8 will have new representatives on the Mequon Common Council in 2017. In April, we will learn whether there will be a change in District 5.
District 2 – A few months ago, Ald. Connie Pukaite announced that she will not be seeking reelection. Glenn Bushee is the only announced candidate to replace her. Presumably, he will take office in April.
District 5 – Ald. Mark Gierl has a challenger, Abby Thompson, in the April election.
District 7 – Last night, Ald. Andrew Nerbun announced his upcoming resignation from the Council. He and his wife purchased a new home in District 8. An alderman may not retain his or her office if he or she moves out of the district.
District 8 – Ald. Pam Adams, who has served for the past 23 years, passed away on March 28 after a five year battle with cancer.
The Common Council will be interviewing and selecting replacements in Districts 7 and 8. The replacements will serve until next April, when there will be an election in each of those districts.
People interested in serving in District 8 must send a resume and cover letter to the City Clerk by March 31. Interviews will be held on Monday, April 3 (and potentially Tuesday, April 4). A replacement will be selected at the Common Council meeting on April 11.
The schedule for selecting a replacement in District 7 has not been established. I expect a similar schedule, with a resume and cover letter due in late April, interviews in early May and a selection at the Common Council meeting on May 9. Applicants may send a cover letter and resume now.
Nerbun announced that he intends to apply to fill the District 8 vacancy. Despite being a well-liked alderman, there is no certainty that he will be selected.
Even if Gierl is reelected and Nerbun is selected to fill the District 8 vacancy (of course, neither is a given), there will be two new aldermen on the Council. I do not believe that there has been two new aldermen at the same time since 2000, when Ald. Dale Mayr and former Ald. Mark Seider were elected. I have no idea when, if ever, there were three or four new alderman in the same year.
New blood is a great thing. The changes will hopefully bring new skills and perspectives and a renewed vitality. There is room for improvement. Management needs to be more responsive, efficient and timely. The Police Department needs additional tools. We need to reexamine the amounts and type of development in the City and the City’s development processes. Some facilities need to be upgraded.
On the other hand, I hope that the changes will not end up discarding what is good. Mequon is a great place, and we need to retain what is positive. Low taxes. Excellent housing. A low population and, generally, modest density. Restrained spending and minimal government intrusion. Decent roads. Excellent safety services.
New Council members, while learning the ropes, often have a tendency to over-rely on City staff’s recommendations. We have some good staff people, but they often have their own agenda.
Here is some unsolicited advice for new aldermen and people considering whether to seek one of these offices:
This will be an interesting time.