Dickmann to retire after 20 years at helm of village

President who is the longest serving chief elected officer in village history says she won’t run for another term

By KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM

Ozaukee Press staff

Saukville President Barbara Dickmann said Monday that after 20 years leading the village she will not seek re-election this spring‚ a decision that marks the end of an era in the community.

Not only has Dickmann served 10 terms as village president, she was a trustee for four years before that and a member of the Library Board for three years as well.

“When I first started with this, my goal was to not have people call our community Suckville,” Dickmann said.

“I decided we had to move this community forward and make it a place where people wanted to live, work and play. I wanted things like Live at the Triangle, a viable commercial corridor, and this neat little downtown.

“I want people to be happy being here, and I believe we’ve accomplished that.”

Dickmann, who said she is the longest serving chief elected officer in the village since it came into being, has overseen significant growth and development in the community.

The key, she said, is to take a balanced approach to development.

“I’ve always believed in balanced growth and have strived for that,” Dickmann said. “I think we’re in a good spot now. We’ve got the Neumann (Crossroads) development started, Ansay (Gateway project) started.

“As we grow this, we have to be careful how it happens.”

Dickmann, 75, may have gotten her bug for local politics from her grandfather, who was a Port Washington alderman.

She is a 1965 graduate of Port Washington High School who began her career working at Port Washington State Bank.

After school, she began working at Manpower Corp., spending 30 years as the office manager for the founder of the business, Elmer Winter.

“I believe the job taught me leadership skills,” Dickmann said.

Winter, she said, “was all about community service.”

That’s something that’s ingrained in her, Dickmann said.

“I believe in giving back,” she said. “It’s my goal to give back. That’s what this is all about.”

And while the job of village president is a visible one, Dickmann said that’s not her favorite place.

“I’m all about working behind the scenes,” she said. “I love the work of it.”

When asked what her proudest achievements are, she rattled off a list.

“We’ve had significant growth and made improvements to our water and wastewater utilities,” Dickmann said. “We’ve improved the library and added programs. We have a new fire station.

“The partnership between businesses and government — we held business forums before Covid, and it’s so interesting to see what’s made here in the village.”

Those achievements are in addition to the perception of the village, she noted.

But, she quickly added, those aren’t just her accomplishments.

“We have an amazing team here, led by our amazing village administrator (Dawn Wagner)” Dickmann said. “None of our success could have happened without them. They make it easy. I’ve always tried to support them.”

But now, she said, it’s time to step back and take on new challenges.

“I’ve prayed on this for a long time,” she said. “It’s time.”

She’s not sure what’s next for her.

“It’ll come,” Dickmann said. “Then I’ll run with that.

Dickmann isn’t the only village official whose term is up in spring.

The terms of trustees Andy Hebein, Richard Belling and Pete Janus are also up for election.

Anyone interested in filling those seats may begin circulating nomination papers on Thursday, Dec. 1. Papers must be filed with the village clerk by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.

If more than two people turn in papers for any one seat, a primariy election will be held on Feb. 21. The general election will be held April 4.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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