2017 Will See Significant Changes on the Mequon Common Council

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:

https://wirth4mequon.com/2016/01/13/thoughts-on-being-an-alderman/

This will be an interesting time.

Pam Adams – The Passing of a Friend

pam-adams

Pam Adams passed away last night after a long and courageous battle with cancer.  Born  Pamela Fuhry, Pam grew up in Mequon in a home overlooking Lake Michigan.  She was a graduate of Homestead High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Pam was the mother of three sons.  She was so proud of her boys, all of whose names began with G (Greg, Garett and Garrison), that her personal email address was “3gforce@***.com.” She was preceded in death by her son Garrison.  Garrison’s Glen Park is named after him.

Pam was funny, and fun-loving. She loved to go out for beer and peanuts after meetings.  She loved city parades, and city festivals. She loved going to the lake, and to meet for dinner, and to have hot tub parties, and to have a few adult beverages. She was in love with her companion Michael Spooner.

Pam was proud to serve Mequon.

Elected in the 1990s, Pam was, I believe, the second longest-serving member in the history of Mequon’s Common Council. She survived several election challenges because she knew her district, worked hard as an alderman and out-campaigned her opponents. She was fiercely protective of her district. She recognized that change was inevitable, but strived to retain what she saw as the character of Mequon. She was one of the founders of the Mequon Community Foundation, and she served on the Mequon Tree Board since its inception. She was generally fiscally conservative, and cautious (to put it delicately) when it came to new development. Pam always wanted to know what “the neighbors” thought and, more often than not, deferred to them.

Despite the ravages of her cancer over the past several years, Pam made almost all of her city meetings, and was prepared and engaged. She was at a meeting a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes, you could tell it was difficult for her. She had known for a couple of years that her cancer was not going away, but she flew all over the country to get whatever treatments she could.  She had multiple surgeries, and bouts of chemo, and other treatments. She was a cancer warrior.

Pam and I agreed sometimes, and disagreed at others.  Occasionally, we directed our comments at each other. That is not exactly how it is supposed to be done, but it was more out of respect than anything else.

Despite our disagreements, Pam was my friend. I will miss her. Her family and friends will miss her.  And Mequon will miss her.

Rest in peace, Pam. You made a real difference.