Janesville63.6°

Council vacancies offer new prospect

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Ann Fiore
November 28, 2007
— Paul Williams’ announcement that he won’t seek a fifth term on the Janesville City Council marks the second consecutive year that three incumbents won’t be on the ballot.

Williams announced Tuesday that he planned to step down after eight years on the council. He said he and his wife, Mary, are considering other career opportunities, which could include a move to the West Bend area.


His statement follows similar announcements by council members Craig DeGarmo, who also has served four terms, and Tim Wellnitz, who has served two terms.


At this point, only one person, businessman Karl Dommershausen, has taken out papers to run in the spring election.


With three of seven seats up for grabs in April, the new council will have much less political experience.


The longest-serving members will be Russ Steeber, who is in his third nonconsecutive term, and George Brunner, who is serving his second term. Council members Bill Truman and Amy Loasching were elected in April 2007.


Williams and DeGarmo said they’re not concerned about an unseasoned council. Brunner, the city’s former police chief, and Steeber both have plenty of experience, they said.


Williams said upcoming votes on aquatics facilities, relocating Fire Station No. 1 and 2009 budget cuts likely will be made by the current council.


However, the open seats open the door for critics of the council and of city administration to gain seats.


K. Andreah Briarmoon, who has run for council several times, said the Citizen Association for Rights and Dignity planned to meet Sunday to discuss election strategy.


“We’re trying to figure out how to get four of seven seats to represent the general public so we can create careful, managed growth instead of the current cancerous sprawl” and “put a leash” on city administration, Briarmoon said.


Briarmoon said the group also wants to add more checks and balances to city government and televise more meetings, including budget study sessions.


“I think the citizens of Janesville are smart enough that if we get some good candidates to come out, they’ll elect the best candidate,” Williams said.


Last year, three council incumbents also stepped down: Greg Addie, Tom Brien and Tom Wellnitz.



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