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Delavan mayoral challenger says time is on his side

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 22, 2010
— A Delavan City Council member says he has more time to be mayor and would more effectively run meetings than the incumbent.

The incumbent says he has the job because people are happy with his performance.


Ron Siedelmann, 516 Alder Ave., is challenging incumbent Mel Nieuwenhuis, 20 Parish St.


Siedelmann is retired as the owner of the former Ben Franklin store in Delavan. He has served on the city council nine years non-consecutively since 1997.


If he were elected, he would have time to set regular mayoral office hours, Siedelmann said.


"I have the time and the energy without having the distractions and other obligations," Siedelmann said. "I can control my own timeframes and ensure availability. That's currently not happening."


Nieuwenhuis works as a hauler for Nieuwenhuis Brothers waste management company. He has been the mayor of Delavan since 2002 and served three years on the city council before that.


He is a positive leader, Nieuwenhuis said. Although many have criticized the city council for being argumentative, he said it's up to council members to act like adults and police themselves.


He is focused on bringing jobs to Delavan and points to his track record of voting in favor of such businesses as Walmart, Lowe's and Kohl's.


"I think I played some critical roles in landing these businesses here in Delavan," Nieuwenhuis said. "That's been consistent from day one. This is a council of six people and one mayor that needs to be focused on being positive in attracting business instead of the negativity that's been going on the last three or four years."


Siedelmann said he could do a better job of directing the council. Infighting among council members sets a terrible example for staff, he said.


Siedelmann also would work to improve communication between the council and city staff, he said.


"The mayor's main job is to be a liaison between the council and the staff," Siedelmann said. "It seems like the council goes in one direction and the staff goes in another. There needs to be better communication between the two."


Bios

Mel Nieuwenhuis


Age: 48


Address: 720 Parish St., Delavan.


Job: Garbage hauler for Nieuwenhuis Brothers, Delavan.


Education: Graduate of Delavan-Darien High School; some college.


Community service: Cofounded Mary's Room with wife Peggy; member of the Delavan-Darien High School Booster Club; volunteer for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Coaches girls basketball at Delavan Christian School.


Elected posts: Alderman, 1996-98 and 2001; mayor, 2002-present.


***


Ron Siedelmann


Age: 66


Address: 516 Alder Ave., Delavan.


Job: Retired owner of former Ben Franklin store, Delavan.


Education: Attended Northern Illinois University from 1961-63; attended Elmhurst College from 1967-71 in the evenings, majored in business administration.


Community service: Member of the Walworth County Retired Senior Volunteer Advisory Council; READS mentor, Wileman School; Hospice volunteer; member of Delavan American Legion and founding member of Delavan's Optimist Club.


Elected posts: Delavan City Council from 1997-99 and 2000-06; re-elected in 2009; served three years as council president; served as finance committee chairman, general operations chairman and public works chairman.



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