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Three council seats contested in Delavan

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 26, 2009
— Everyone agrees on one thing: Delavan City Council meetings can be long.

Four or five hours long.


But whether council members are debating or arguing depends on whom you ask.


Board conduct at meetings, ongoing issues at Lake Lawn Resort and the future of the Delavan Fire Station were two common issues brought up among the six people running for three seats.


Two incumbents are running to keep their seats. Council member Ryan Schroeder does not seek re-election.


District 1

Incumbent Cindy Finley has just gotten her feet wet, and she's ready for more. Finley, a paralegal, is wrapping up her first term in office. She is challenged by U.S. Army employee Mary O'Connor.


If re-elected, Finley wants to work on updating the city's ordinances and codes to make sure they are clear and reflective of the times.


As the city considers improving its fire station, Finley wants to bring other communities into the discussion.


"All of them (local fire stations) need updating because they've (local communities) grown so much," Finley said.


Finley's challenger, Mary O'Connor, says the current council is turning off residents by holding meetings that are long and argumentative.


She also wants to break up the common 5-2 vote split on the council.


"I don't feel there's an equal voice within the council," O'Connor said.


District 2

Incumbent Ellen Reddy wants to raise the bar. Last year, she and council member Dave Kilkenny combed through the city's proposed budget and reduced it by a half percent.


This year she wants to shoot for 5 percent.


Her challenger, Sam Riggs, said it looked as though the council was wearing blinders when it trimmed the budget last year.


Things such as support for the chamber of commerce or training for city staff got slashed while the road maintenance budget was beefed up, Riggs said.


"I think that's a big mistake," she said.


Riggs is a citizen appointee to several city committees, including the mayor's fire station task force. Like O'Connor, his counterpart in District 1, Riggs wants to break up the voting majority of the board.


Reddy wants to keep working on broadcasting council and committee meetings and improving the city's community development authority.


"The one thing I bring to the table is I have the time to do this job," Reddy said. "It's very time consuming. We've had special meetings almost every month for the last year. Our meetings are notoriously long."


District 3

Council member Ryan Schroeder is stepping down from his seat on the council.


Finances are a big concern for both men running to take his position.


Former council member Ron Siedelmann said the city needs to be more careful with borrowing, investing and spending.


Engineer Scott Woods thinks the city should set an example for local businesses by thinking creatively about cutting costs.


Siedelmann is particularly concerned about the direction of Lake Lawn Resort. The resort is not heading in the direction the city planned, Siedelmann said.


"It's a disappointment that I have that the council allowed it to stray into private enterprise rather than let it run as a resort," Siedelmann said.


Siedelmann's top priority is bringing a medical complex into Delavan. He would like to lead a task force to research the project.


Woods said some businesses are putting profits ahead of people and laying employees off when layoffs could be avoided. It's up to the city to set an example and find other ways to cut operational costs, Woods said.


"It's a local issue," Woods said. "It's something that government can lead with. Governments are not consumed with profits but rather taxes."


Like Finley, Woods wants to bring other communities into the fire station discussion. There's not a rush on the project, and everyone could save if the municipalities shared a project, Woods said.


His engineering experience has given him a good background, Woods said.


"I'm an engineer, and that's what we do is balance things," Woods said. "The main thing is that we balance everybody's interests."


District 1


Cindy Finley (I)


Address: 201 W.Washington St., Delavan.


Age: 49


Job: Paralegal at Braden Olson Draper, Lake Geneva.


Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from UW-Whitewater, 1982.


Community service: Member of the Library Board for Aram Public Library; member of the city of Delavan Finance Committee, park and recreation commission and planning commission.


Elected posts: Has served on the Delavan City Council since elected in 2007.


Mary J. O'Connor


Address: 406 Betzer Road, Delavan.


Age: 51


Job: Department of the Army, civilian.


Education: Graduated from Delavan-Darien High School in 1975; earned a bachelor's degree in 1982 from UW-Whitewater; earned a master's degree in computer resources from Webster University in 1994 and a master's degree in business administration from the same in 2000.


Community service: Girl Scouts troop leader; member of Delavan American Legion Post 95 and auxiliary.


Elected posts: None so far


District 2


Ellen Reddy (I)


Address: 214 N. Third St., Delavan.


Age: 50


Job: Part-time clerk of court for the village of Walworth; part-time dispatcher for the city of Whitewater.


Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Michigan State University in 1980; earned a master's degree in political science and public policy from Purdue University in 1983.


Community service: Member of the Delavan Historical Society; member of the Delavan Rotary Gardens Foundation; volunteer at Delavan Rotary Gardens; assistant parade marshal for the July Fourth Parade; member of the Delavan Fire Station Task Force.


Elected posts: Served on the Delavan City Council as the First District alderman from 2002-04; served on the council as the Second District alderman from 2006-present.


Sam Riggs


Address: 201 N. 8th St., Delavan.


Age: 44


Job: Mechanic, farmer, retired arborist.


Education: Continuous with occupation


Community service: Retired volunteer firefighter in Bryn Mawr, Penn.; chairman of the Delavan Parks and Recreation Commission; chairman Delavan Board of Appeals; member of the fire department task force and ad hoc communications committee.


Elected posts: None so far


District 3


Ronald L. Siedelmann


Address: 516 Alder Ave., Janesville.


Age: 65


Job: Retired


Education: Attended Northern Illinois University from 1961-63; attended Elmhurt College from 1968-72 in the evenings, majored in business administration.


Community service: Member of the Walworth County Retired Senior Volunteer Advisory Council; READS mentor, Wileman School; Meals on Wheels volunteer; Hospice volunteer; 4th of July parade grand marshal in the city of Delavan, last four years; member of Delavan American Legion, Optimist and Rotary clubs.


Elected posts: Delavan City Council from 1997-99 and 2000-06; served three years as council president; served as finance committee chair, general operations chair and public works chair.


Scott Woods


Address: 744 Tyrell Ave., Delavan.


Age: 49


Job: Electrical engineer


Education: Earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from UW-Madison in 1977


Community service: Has spent three years on the UW-Madison School of Engineering's EPICS program.


Elected posts: None so far



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