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Lake Geneva recall pits newcomer against vocal council member

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Kayla Bunge
December 14, 2009
— A relative newcomer to city politics is taking on perhaps the most vocal member of the city council in the Third District recall election Wednesday, Dec. 22.

William Mott, 60, a lifelong resident of Lake Geneva and retired schoolteacher, said he wants to bring new ideas to city government and help the city move toward a more stable and open government.


But Tom Spellman, 65, who recently got his aldermanic seat back after being suspended for two months, said he represents a group of people who ask the tough questions and demand the complicated answers.


“Lake Geneva is at a crossroads. This seat represents who has control of the council,” he said. “Is it a reasonable set of people who want open government and have been pursuing open government for (several years) or is it the old boys club?”


Mott said he is not aligned with any particular person or group—an asset he believes could help ease tensions between the mayor and city council members, who for two months were embroiled in a political disagreement.


“I believe I would bring some civility to the common council,” he said. “I will do my best to work with the other members of the common council, working to achieve the best for our community.”


Spellman said he has the experience necessary to fulfill his duties on the city council, and he’s not afraid to speak up if problems arise.


“That’s what I was elected to do, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do,” he said. “This recall is all about stopping that or trying to stop that.”


The recall effort, which originally included two other council members, started after Alderman Spyro “Speedo” Condos was appointed to the city council in late August. Many residents asked for a special election to fill the vacant seat. Many others suggested the council choose Condos to fill the position.


Condos resigned from his position Nov. 30 as part of the agreement reached by the mayor and the four council members he suspended and accused of violations.


Almost 200 people signed a petition to recall Spellman. They said he does not vote according to the wishes of his constituents.


William Mott

Age: 60


Address: 1150 Park Drive, No. 601, Lake Geneva.


Job: Retired teacher and former assistant men’s basketball coach at UW-Whitewater. Served in the Army National Guard for six years.


Education: Graduate of Badger High School. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from UW-Whitewater.


Community service: Member of the Lake Geneva Board of Appeals.


Elected posts: None.


Tom Spellman

Age: 65


Address: 270 Country Club Drive, No. 22, Lake Geneva.


Job: Retired housing manager.


Education: Bachelor’s degree in architecture from UW-Milwaukee.


Community service: None.


Elected posts: Alderman, 2006-present.


RECALL ELECTION

What: Third District recall election


When: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22.


Where: Lake Geneva City Hall, 626 Geneva St., Lake Geneva.


Absentee voting: Voters may request absentee ballots to be mailed until 5 p.m. Thursday. Voters also may vote by absentee ballot at City Hall through Monday, Dec. 21. Election workers will process absentee ballots throughout the day Dec. 22.


Expected turnout: The Third District is the largest aldermanic district in the city with a number of nursing homes, senior homes and condominiums. The unique population and the time of year could make absentee voting a key part of the election, said City Clerk Diana Dykstra. There are more than 1,600 registered voters and more than 150 permanent absentee ballot holders in the Third District, she said. Several hundred voters likely will cast their votes, Dykstra said.


Estimated cost: Between $1,200 and $1,500.



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