John J. Jacoby
Age: 41
Address: W2464 Leasure Way, East Troy
Education: Associate’s degree in 3D modeling, and video game design
Family: Married, no kids, two dogs
Occupation: Software engineer
Office sought: Town of East Troy chairman and supervisor
Number of years in community: Two years in Town of East Troy, seven years in Village of East Troy, 16 years in Town of Troy
Previous political experience: Village of East Troy trustee, 2017-19; East Troy Library Board vice-president, 2017-18; East Troy Municipal Airport Advisory Committee president, 2018-19
Organizations: East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce, Foundation
Reason for seeking position: I believe the Town of East Troy does not need a new $4 million Town Hall, and deserves more clear and transparent communication. It needs more responsible budgeting and spending, a better website, streaming meetings online, agenda packets available online, all to provide more education to tax payers about where their money is going and why, and more accountability from town board members.

Joseph S. Klarkowski (inc.)
Age: 67
Address: N7701 State Road 120, East Troy
Education: Associate’s de-gree in civil engineering (technology)
Family: Married, two grown children
Occupation: Semi-retired, expert witness consultant professional land surveyor
Office sought: Town of East Troy chairman
Number of years in com-munity: Town of East Troy, 33 years; Walworth County, 40 years
Previous political experi-ence: Town of East Troy chairman, 11 years; Town of East Troy supervisor, 5 years
Organizations: Wisconsin Towns Association, Wiscon-sin Society of Land Survey-ors
Reason for seeking posi-tion: I am seeking re-election as town chairman because public service and using my knowledge for the benefit of my neighbors is very im-portant to me. In a town of almost 4,100 people, every-one is your neighbor. My goal is to protect what makes our rural home so special – our agriculture, lakes and country-style way of living. When our natural resources are gone, they are gone for-ever. I will continue to repre-sent all town issues fairly and equitably as I have done for the past 16 years on the Town Board. I look forward to continue serving our community for years to come.

Candidates weigh in on local issues

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

Longtime Town of East Troy Board Chairman Joe Klarkowski will face former Village of East Troy trustee John J. Jacoby at the polls Tuesday. The Town Board will also increase from three members to five members in the election. See more on that race inside.

The candidates agreed to answer some questions via email to let voters know where they stand on the issues. Their responses include:

What is your position on what happened last year with the proposed new Town Hall and what is the way forward?

Klarkowski: The way forward is up to the electors as always. The electors granted the authority at the Annual Meeting in 2019, removed it in 2020, and what will happen this year is unknown. Technically, the time-line did not really change. In February 2020 it was decided that bringing the Project to fruition would have to be delayed until COVID-19 was history. That is still an unknown date. COVID-19 delayed the 2020 annual meeting three months and instead of obtaining public input on the planning to date, it became a “Shut It Down” meeting. All unnecessary.

If any wasted money develops because of this shutdown, it will not be the fault of the Town Board. For all reasonable and knowledgeable townspeople, they can see through the smokescreen and realize all the misinformation they were provided was indeed false. None of it happened, was authorized by the board to happen, and the mere fact of repeating it over and over again does not make it true.

Some of the most blatant untruths were, “The plans are in Madison, Joe said this is a done deal, groundbreaking is scheduled (pick a date), it’s a $4.5 million Police Station, they are adding a jailhouse.” The Way Forward was presented at the annual meeting and posted to the town website on July 28, 2020. It was also announced that revisions requested at the open house and the further refinement of soft costs drove the estimated cost down to $3.25 million. Yet, the $4.5 million cost is still broadcast as the number, even after everyone was notified multiple times. This has the odor of an underlying agenda by the private “Misinformed Citizens for the Town of East Troy” Facebook group that unfortunately reads more like a gossip forum than a legitimate news source. Any posts that attempt to disclose the truth are quickly taken down.

Jacoby: I believe the Town of East Troy needs a new Town Hall building, just not the $4 million one that the current town board had designed and was ready to start building in July of 2020. The way forward is to stop investing in the current building and relocate storage and staff to safer and healthier environments, redesign a more modest facility with several different rounds of community input, and have it ready in time for a referendum to let the electors decide together.

What do you think will be the impact of a five-person Town Board?

Klarkowski: There will be two additional opinions during Board deliberations. Ultimately the effectiveness of the Board will rely on leadership, cooperation and knowledge of Town Government and all pertinent laws, rules and regulations.

Jacoby: The primary goal of a larger board is more diverse representation for our diverse town. It naturally helps avoid risky situations that are difficult to avoid with fewer people, like group-think and connivance. It provides more opportunity for people to inject new ideas and fresh perspectives into our community. Overall, I believe the impact will be pretty great!

What do you think your personal experience and knowledge will bring to the role?

Jacoby: I am confident my experience and education will enable me to lead the town of East Troy successfully into the future. I will run meetings efficiently and in accordance with meeting laws and established procedures. I will make sure budgets are balanced, years of previously failed audits are corrected and reconciled, staffing issues are quickly addressed, and community concerns are addressed promptly and without being tabled for multiple months at a time.

Klarkowski: My nearly 50 years in the engineering business, almost all in a supervisory role, uniquely qualifies me for the town chairman position. I have expertise in roads, bridges and municipal facilities, contracts and personnel management. Every aspect of my career involved budgets, financial reports and audits and total quality management.

Eleven years performing the role of town chairman means no on the job training.

The Conditional Use Application for a 68-unit Hotel at the Lindey’s site was denied by the Walworth County Zoning Agency. The denial is being appealed and will likely come back to the Town at some point. What is your stance on the development?

Klarkowski: The Town is advisory to Walworth County Zoning on Conditional Use Applications. I voted to recommend denial of the Application to Walworth County this past summer. The many reasons were well documented at the Walworth County Public Hearing.

Jacoby: I am against overriding county or state circuit court rulings because it would put the town at significant risk. If they say no, I believe the town should not say yes. If an entirely new application for this site came to our Town Board with me as chairperson, I’d make sure it received the same treatment as any other application. The Town Board and Planning Commission serve all citizens equally and without bias, in accordance with all statutes, laws, and ordinances.

Personally, I have no opinion about what “belongs“ there. I’ve never supported a 68-unit hotel. I’ve never supported 28 condos. I have supported Lindey’s a time or two. My only hope with whatever happens, is that it stays safe and fun for everyone, and generally improves its surroundings.

Anything you want to add?

Jacoby: Thank you for the opportunity to address the community here. I wish everyone good luck at the polls, and hope I’ve earned your support on April 6!

Klarkowski: People need to take responsibility for their actions, get involved and understand what is happening in local government, and not rely on second hand information to distort their perceptions and beliefs. Attend meetings. Decision making based on gossip is never wise. It would be helpful if the press assisted by attending town meetings and provided unbiased reporting of the facts. I believe that since 2010 there has been no local newspaper coverage at our monthly meetings. The Town of East Troy is a part of the East Troy community after all. The two letters to the editor last week about the town were also full of mis-information.

I interviewed 10 architects and the board negotiated a contract with the top firm over a period of months. The latest is a misinformation mailer distributed area wide with attribution from the incompletely registered PAC. The person delivering the mailers to the post office paid cash. It doesn’t matter as we now know the leaders of the “Time for a new town board” PAC. They are John Theisen and Rick Neudorff, easy to connect the dots on this one. This is all about the hotel at Lindey’s. I think the Town Residents will take this into account at the upcoming elections.

Please Vote April 6.


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