Supervisor candidates vie for four seats on spring ballot

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The Town of East Troy board could see a sizable shake up in the spring election April 6 with the expansion of the board to five members and Chairman Joe Klarkowski being challenged by John J. Jacoby.

Jacob is also running for a supervisor seat on the April 6 ballot. Should he win both seats, he will have his choice of which to occupy and the Town Board will appoint someone to serve in the other seat until the 2022 spring election.

The eight candidates for the four supervisor seats are incumbent Barb Church, Peter Kesselhon, Greg Thomas, Jess Dynek, John Stoss, Chad Wales, Michele Reyes and Jacoby.

We asked the candidates several questions related to the role of town supervisor. Jacoby’s responses can be seen in the article about the town chairman race HERE.

Here are the responses from the other candidates:

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

Church: I have served the Town of East Troy for the past 10 years as supervisor serving on the Planning Commission, the Park Committee, and as the Vice President and Secretary on the East Troy Area Emergency Services District. I have successfully written various grants including a recent $66,100 grant for the town. I have involved the youth by creating collaborative projects with the East Troy High School agriculture and landscaping classes and local girl scouts who have worked in the Town Park. I have had ETHS art classes work on possible Town logos. I have served as a municipal government reporter for the Chicago Tribune and the East Troy Times. All of these experiences allow me to bring a wide range of skills and background knowledge to help keep the Town of East Troy on a path moving forward.

Wales: Most importantly people need to know that I am a person that makes informed decisions. I am not a person that will just agree to agree or disagree to disagree. I prefer to get all facts in front of me so that I can make the BEST decision for the matter at hand. I am a listener and I am patient. My hand cannot be forced.

Thomas: My experience as an architect, planner, with significant experience in zoning and building code compliance, will benefit my role as supervisor on the Town Board.

Dynek: My experience and knowledge in medical leadership and sales and as an intensive critical care nurse have given me relevant experiences for the Supervisor role. I had successful experience in exceeding customer expectations, listening carefully to patients, families, nurses and other staff in order to thoughtfully diagnose and evaluate next steps. I effectively managed sales finances and technology. I was in the top level for sales for my entire career. In 2016, I was listed in the 50 Distinguished Alumni of the School of Nursing at UWM. I will bring that strong drive and experience to the Town Board.

Stoss: I worked for the largest municipality in Wisconsin for 20 years I worked in two different departments over the course of 20 years.

Concurrently at the same time I was a volunteer police officer for the same municipality for 14 years. I gained great insight on budgets, purchasing and governmental procedures while working for my former employer. I am a small business owner in the Township for over 15 years. I have a 4.9 star rating on Google. I want to see that the will of the electors are fulfilled not the will of a select small hand picked group while the majority are left out.

Kesselhon: I’ve lived here all my life; I know the topography. I’ve been a self-employed painting contractor in our community since 1981; I know the people. I recently completed college; I broadened my horizons. Age has awarded me humility, empathy, and a little more patience.

Reyes: I’m not a career politician. I have been successful in my career by being inclusive; building cross-functional teams to understand the big picture and deliver the details needed to drive change and deliver results. I am experienced in the bidding process, supplier selection, negotiations and contracting, which can be applied to the goods and services required to support the community. I will ask questions about potential risks and how to mitigate them; where can we consider alternative solutions or where we can learn from others.

What is your position on what happened last year with the proposed new town hall?

Kesselhon: The concept to build a new town hall should not have been derailed. The process should continue until the elected and the electors reach a mutual agreement.

Stoss: I felt the current Town Board was not forthcoming with information or getting multiple bids to show transparency to the public. Should have had at minimum three different bids on the project. Should have some workshops to invite the public to to get feedback on different proposals and if the public wanted it a possible referendum. I strongly feel the Town of East Troy needs a new Town Hall or at least a major remodeling of the current Town Hall.

Dynek: I have been going to Town Board meetings for years. I observed the new town hall process, research, and saw the good intentions and efforts of the board, from the start. The communication could have been better, but we should remember that the pandemic was in high stride. Misinformation has been shared by those who did not have enough information, which extended the problem. I will make every effort to inform and engage the citizenry of board efforts by using multiple forms of communication. The board and its citizens must work together, toward positive town outcomes.

Wales: As I completely agree with the need for a safe work environment, I believe that we could have gone about it differently. The current property should have been addressed first to see what improvements could have been made and the cost effectiveness of these. If a new building was eminent then I believe realistic plans and numerous bids should have been tallied. Assumptions were made and plans were drafted that were out of the scope of what is truly needed in our small town.

Thomas: The existing Stewart School building is approximately 115 years old. Several additions and remodeling efforts over the years have produced the current building. The existing building does not comply with current building codes. A new town hall has been discussed for 15 years. The Town of East Troy Board was given approval by the electors to pursue a new Town Hall at the 2019 annual meeting of the electors. A Needs Assessment and Construction Documents were completed prior to the electorate voting to suspend project. No tax dollars were used during these phases. An Open House was held to introduce the proposal to the electors. Information collected at the open house was used to modify the building and reduce the proposed construction cost to $3.3 Million.

Reyes: It was very eye-opening and drove me to step up and serve! I want to be sure the taxpayers’ money is well-managed and invested wisely. The signed contract with the architects included construction start and finish dates with no reference to public input or an approved referendum. At the 2020 annual meeting the current board never shared the plan that is now on the town website which claims a referendum was planned for April 6. That was the perfect opportunity to improve communications and move forward together as a united community.

Church: What happened last summer regarding the proposed new town hall was troubling. It was sad to see just how fragmented many constituents had become over the issue. There was a great deal of misinformation; and the Town’s communications surrounding the proposal fell short. The board was open about what it was doing and sought input from the Town’s residents but intended plans such as the Open House were disrupted by Covid restrictions.

What do you think could be done to bring people together to work on the challenges the township faces?

Wales: I believe that more people should get involved with our town and attend more town meetings. I personally learned this last year when the Town Board was going for a variance on a new town hall that no one knew about. We need to supply more information to our taxpayers. There should be live online streaming of our town meetings so that residents can be more involved and know what the town is addressing. The town website needs to be more user friendly and all information should be accessible to tax payers.

Thomas: We live in a civil society. Laws are rules that bind all people living in a community. We have laws, ordinances and codes to help provide for our general health, safety and welfare. We need to respect opinions and dialog of the entire Town of East Troy community.

Kesselhon: Inform citizens in a timely and explicit manner, especially with exceptional business matters.

Church: I would like to help the people of our great community to be more involved in their local government by first encouraging attendance at the monthly meetings. Getting information first hand is important. Next, improve the website and find new ways of communications so that everyone feels they are involved in the decisions that affect them. Another idea is to establish at least one community involved park improvement day where we can all work together to enhance the Jim Byrnes Memorial Park. I would like to create a go to list of community experts who will offer their knowledge and talent in areas such as website improvements and other types of communication; as well as to fine tune the Mission/Vision/Logo designs to help us define and represent the Town of East Troy and make all feel vested in their community.

Reyes: Elect leaders who act with humility and will work to find ways to increase two-way communication. Not everyone can attend Town Board meetings, let’s make it available online, Let’s provide more information about the agenda items for citizens to be able to follow the discussions during the meeting. That shows we value their time and input. Let’s encourage citizen input rather than limit or shut it down. Let’s actually hear citizen input and take action on it when necessary, even if that means pivoting from the current plan. Let’s ask for volunteers to serve on a committee to research alternatives and requirements for new Town facilities.

Stoss: I am looking to bring transparency to our Town board . I would like to get cameras installed at the Town Hall in the assembly area to provide the public the ability to watch in live time. Along with play back capability to view older meetings. I strongly believe if you are any of the several other organizations that use the Town Hall facilities your public meetings should be made available live along with play back capability. The public deserves the right to see how their money is being spent and how their elected officials operate. FYI – Because of the lack of transparency with the current Town Board I started recording the whole meetings and uploading them to my YouTube channel (John Stoss) I have been doing this for seven months. Please feel free to view and share with others. I lead by example. All my videos are left wide open to view with the comments turned off. There is a disconnect between the Town Board and the public I want to bring both groups together.

Dynek: We need to engage the town citizenry and the board through better communication and access. The town website needs updating and maintenance; social media with accurate information needs to be engaged; and local newspapers need to be utilized, so everyone can know what is going on. All of the above require funds and expertise. I would invite East Troy High School students to assist with the webpage and social media, citizenry to volunteer, and all to share ideas. With better access to information, and an invitation to be a part of the solution, we can solve any challenges we face.

Anything you want to add?

Reyes: You can see from my involvement in multiple organizations that I’m not one to stand on the sidelines. When I wanted my kids to be involved in activities and athletics, I stepped up to help. I’m not a coach but always found other ways to contribute. The same holds true for our community. When I see an opportunity to serve and drive change, I take action.

Wales: As this experience has been eye opening. I look forward to being chosen for the new town board and serving my community.

Thomas: One of the main goals of the Town is to create a sustainable land use pattern that meets the quality-of-life needs of the town while maintaining a sense of place in an urban/ rural setting. We all enjoy the benefits of these efforts in a rural, countryside, natural environment.

I oppose the recently proposed hotel (because): 1. Development lacks required off-street parking spaces. 2. Failed to establish increased use of the existing well would not affect the adjacent neighborhood shallow wells. 3. The development is planned for an unsewered lot relying on daily pumping of a holding tank configuration.

Church: I look forward to remaining involved in making sure the Town of East Troy is a safe and wonderful place for all to grow and prosper. I am happy to work with all of the residents with their needs and concerns. I thank everyone for their interest and participation in our town.

Kesselhon: I will take a pragmatic approach toward business matters and let reason not passion guide my decisions. I have no desire to aggrandize myself. I will only serve the wants and needs of the community as a whole. I hope to establish a sense of camaraderie with the electors. I will curb narcissistic agendas. My station in life awards me this time to participate; I am blessed.

Dynek: I believe that good leadership is founded on openness, collaboration, active listening, vision, passion, and the willingness to take action. I will bring all of these to the East Troy Town Board Supervisor position and will work hard for all of you. If you would like to know more about me and my perspectives, please check out this case-sensitive link at wke.lt/w/s/3w8YCw I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, April 6.

Stoss: In 1968 my Grandparents purchased the current Dockside property. For 20 plus years I worked for my Grandparents at their bar. I got to go to Camp Edward’s on Beulah for 2 years 1973 and 1974. I love the East Troy area, I love Lake Beulah. I like the rural lake life. I would like to see East Troy continue to be a great community like it was for me. Looking forward for the same for future generations to enjoy.

 
 

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