Former village trustee challenges incumbents

Ex-official whose attendance was called into question is one of four running for three seats
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Three incumbents and a former trustee are vying for three seats on the Belgium Village Board in the April 5 general election.

The seats currently held by Don Gotcher, Sarah Heisler and Victor Lecato are up for election, and all three have filed papers to seek re-election.

In addition, Dale Pfeifer, who has served several terms in two stints on the board, is running again.

Heisler was elected in 2020.

The other three are at least loosely connected, albeit not in the most positive of circumstances.

Gotcher was elected in spring 2018, and Lecato was appointed in June 2018 to fill the vacant trustee seat when Pete Anzia was named as village president after Vickie Boehnlein resigned to apply for the village treasurer job.

Pfeifer, in his second stint on the board, was elected in 2015 without having his name on the ballot or running a write-in campaign. In 2017, he filed papers at the last second in hopes that someone else would run because he had moved from third to second shift at Oshkosh Truck and couldn’t attend weeknight meetings.

 In fall 2018, Gotcher called out Pfeifer’s attendance record — at that time he had only attended three of 24 Village Board meetings since 2017 — and filed a petition to have him removed from the board.

Pfeifer said Boehnlein was OK with his attendance and he would come when she asked. He made the same offer to Anzia when he became president.

Pfeifer also served on village committees. The Parks, Recreation and Forestry Committee met on Saturday mornings to accommodate his schedule.

Gotcher took over as committee chairman from Anzia and said he was busy weekends and didn’t want to work around just one person’s schedule. Lecato was the other member of the committee.

The petition didn’t receive the required four votes to remove Pfeifer. Anzia, Josh Borden and Rose Sauers voted against it. Lecato and Clem Gottsacker voted for it. Gotcher and Pfeifer weren’t allowed to vote since they were the complainant and defendant.

Pfeifer didn’t run for re-election in April 2019.

Lecato didn’t run for re-election in 2020 because of his job.

But the two renewed their interest in public service last September.

Gottsacker died unexpectedly at 69 on Aug. 29, and the board looked to appoint a member in October to get back to full strength.

Lecato and Pfeifer, both now with work schedules that allow them to attend board meetings, were among six candidates seeking the position, along with Plan Commission member Carissa Barnes, D’Lacey Eichinger, Amanda Bornbach and former trustee and Cedar Grove-Belgium School Board member Jeff Thiel, who died at 60 on Nov. 25.

A majority of the six-member board — four votes — was required for a candidate to be named trustee.

Gotcher, Sauers and Dan Wolff voted for Lecato, along with Roseanne Geib, who voted via Zoom chat.

Anzia voted for Pfeifer and Heisler voted for Bornbach.

Lecato was sworn in right away and joined the board.

Trustee terms are for two years.

School Board members run unopposed

The Cedar Grove-Belgium School Board race won’t carry the drama of the Village of Belgium.

Ozaukee County member Lori Gruell and Sheboygan County member Chad Hoopman are running unopposed.

While the seats designate where the board member lives, voters in the entire district may vote for both candidates.

Board members serve three-year terms.

Hoopman is the board president and Gruell is the treasurer. Officers are chosen by the board after each election.

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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.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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