Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 18 June 2014 16:47
Longtime farmer promises to focus on needs of rural neighbors
Lifelong Town of Saukville resident Don Hamm began his tenure as Saukville’s town chairman Tuesday night in a decidedly understated manner.
Hamm, of 4576 Blueberry Rd., was chosen to succeed Barb Jobs as town chairman during a special meeting held an hour prior to the regularly scheduled Town Board meeting.
He was chosen in a secret balloting conducted by the two remaining town supervisors and Town Clerk Susan Churchill.
Officials had originally intended to make the appointment in conjunction with the board meeting, but Town Attorney John DeStefanis recommended that a formal meeting be held to select the chairman.
Hamm and Ron Dickson, who lives on Highway O, were the only applicants for Jobs’ unexpired term, which runs through April 2015.
Jobs resigned from the position in April to spend more time caring for her ailing husband.
The interview process took about 10 minutes, during which time the applicants gave some background details and explained why they were seeking the chairman’s job.
Hamm said his roots in the community date back more than a century.
“I am interested in the Town of Saukville board chair because I have a great love for this township that my family homesteaded in 1852,” he said.
“I’m a sixth generation dairy farmer and currently operate a 270-cow dairy with my family. I believe I bring a wealth of experience that would serve the town well. One of my greatest strengths is that I’m a good listener. My greatest fault is that I can’t say no, especially to a challenge.”
Hamm is co-owner of Sandy Loam Dairy. He has been state president of the National Farmers Organization since 2002 and treasurer of the Ozaukee County Dairy Promotion since 2000.
Hamm is chairman of the Divine Savior Church Council, which successfully underwent a parish merger two years ago.
He listened attentively as supervisors Kate Smallish and Curt Rutkowski did most of the talking during his first board meeting.
When the meeting got to the item on the agenda titled “chairman’s report,” Hamm broke into a smile.
“I promise I’ll have more to say next month,” he said.
“There is a learning curve here, as with any job, but I am a quick study. I like to look at the big picture. There will just be a different set of eyes looking at things. I’ll try not to let you down.”
Hamm said it is important to see that the interests of the farming community are represented in town government.
He also said he realizes his primary job will be to serve neighbors who are deeply interested in what goes on in the township.
“People in the town have to be involved in their government, and I welcome that, because we don’t have the kind of full-time staffs they have in larger communities,” Hamm said.
Although he wasn’t chosen to fill the chairman’s post, both supervisors said they were impressed by Dickson’s willingness to be considered for the post.
“We are really fortunate to have two qualified candidates,” Smallish said.
Dickson is a certified metallographer and technician who has worked for Charter Steel for 20 years.
Prior to coming to Saukville, he was a cargo handler for the U.S. Antarctic Program.