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Spellman loses seat in Lake Geneva recall

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Kayla Bunge
December 23, 2009
— The newest member of the Lake Geneva City Council says he’s ready to dive into handling city business and restoring respect to city government.

William Mott, a relative newcomer to city politics, defeated Alderman Tom Spellman, 191-133, in the Third District recall election Tuesday.


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


He said Tuesday his victory was not a win for him, but for the people of the Third District.


“I’m really happy for the constituents,” he said. “They are the real winners and have spoken out in favor of moving forward with civility at our city council meetings.”


Mott previously told the Gazette he is not aligned with any particular person or group. He believes this is an asset that might help ease tensions between Mayor Bill Chesen and city council members who for two months were embroiled in a political disagreement.


Mott said Tuesday he is a community advocate who will work cooperatively with others to address the issues facing the city.


“For awhile, the issues have been convoluted a little bit, so now, let’s get to the business of the city,” he said.


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


He said Tuesday he might have been a victim of the “throw ’em all out” mentality that developed among many residents after the recent political battle between the mayor and city council members, including Spellman.


He said, however, he is happy to have his life back.


“I won’t wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning thinking about what’s going on … ” he said with a laugh. “It’s no joy. There’s nothing joyful, nothing happy, nothing that feels good about the process we went through for 75 days … ”


Mott will serve out the remainder of the term, which expires in April. He said he intends to again run for the seat.


“It’s time for somebody new,” he said. “But beyond that, in just three months, I’ll just be getting my feet wet … ”


Spellman could be back on the ballot—and perhaps back on the city council—if he decides to seek his former seat. He said his decision hinges on whether someone else steps forward.


City Clerk Diana Dykstra said the recall election Tuesday drew almost 30 percent of registered voters in the Third District—a higher turnout than expected given the inclement weather and the approaching holiday.



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