Six Janesville residents have applied to fill a vacant seat on the Rock County Board of Supervisors. Doug Wilde stepped down from representing District 23, which covers much of the city of Janesville east of Interstate 90/39 and south of Milwaukee Street. The six hopefuls are John Burt, Tricia Clasen, Patrick Garvin, Craig Gramke, Michael Sheridan and Mary Jo Villa.

A selection committee, comprised of board members and residents, was formed by county board chairman Richard Bostwick. The committee will make a nonbinding recommendation to Bostwick, who will then choose a candidate to put to the full board for a vote.

That vote could happen at either the Aug. 12 or Sept. 9 board meeting. The appointee will serve out Wilde’s unexpired term and could run to keep the seat in April.

Advocates of open government have said the county’s process for filling vacancies violates the state’s open meetings law, but a county attorney argued the selection committee’s work is not subject to that law.

The following information about the applicants was made available by the Rock County administrator’s office:

John Burt has been a Janesville resident for more than 32 years. He has a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University. Burt has been a construction project manager for almost 40 years. In 1989, he started his career with Ryan Incorporated Central after spending eight years in El Paso, Texas.

Tricia Clasen is a communications professor and interim dean of the College of Integrated Studies at UW-Whitewater. Clasen has lived in Janesville’s Ward 27 since May 2002. She has a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Nebraska.

Patrick Garvin is a retired Rock County deputy sheriff. Garvin has lived most of his life in Janesville and graduated from Craig High School in 1980. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. There, Garvin spent three years on active duty as a military policeman before returning to Janesville and working factory jobs until he began working for the state as a correctional officer.

Craig Gramke is currently the president of Gramke Monument Works in Janesville. He is a Parker High School graduate and has served on the Janesville Citizens Board of Review and the county board.

Michael Sheridan is the principal owner at Lifeline 2 Recovery and a lifelong resident of Rock County. Sheridan holds an associates degree in political science and government from UW-Whitewater.

Mary Jo Villa is the director of human resources at Hendricks Holding Company. Villa has lived and worked in Rock County for 30 years. She has a degree in political science and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from UW-Madison. Villa also held several executive-level positions at Bliss Communications and Adams Publishing Group, the former and current owners of The Gazette.


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