Village Board has hard time picking trustee

After multiple split votes, members choose Evans to fill vacancy left by now-president Delorit


Ozaukee Press staff

Village of Grafton trustees who deadlocked during several rounds of voting ultimately appointed a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor to the Village Board Monday.

Clark Evans, who won a majority of votes, came to the meeting prepared with several ideas for the village. He proposed improving walk-ability and having developers cover some of the municipal costs associated with their projects.

“A good example would be the signalization in front of Blaine’s,” he said, referring to Blaine’s Farm and Fleet on Wisconsin Avenue.

By developers contributing to utilities or service improvements made necessary by growth, those costs “could be offloaded from the village’s taxpayers,” he said.

Evans said key issues facing the village include road repair and upgrading emergency medical services.

“I think the biggest challenge the village faces is the cost to provide essential services, such as water, sewer, road, as well as fire and EMS,” he said.

“Right now, the rate the village replaces roadways is a mile a year,” he said. “With over 50 miles of roads in the village, that means it’s going to be over 50 years before the roads will be completely replaced.”

Roads need replacement every 30 years, he said, so they are degrading quicker than they can be replaced.

Evans will fill a vacancy on the board left by former trustee Daniel Delorit’s election as village president in April.

The board decided to appoint a trustee to fill the vacancy and on Monday interviewed Evans, air traffic control field instructor Andrew Schwartz, human resources  manager Marie McFaul, former trustee David Liss and plumber Matthew O’Brien for the position.

The decision was not easy for the board which was deadlocked between Evans and Schwartz through rounds of voting.

Schwartz focused his interview on concerns over the village’s industry and his interest in finding a way alleviate Highway 60 traffic going through the village.

“If funding was unlimited, then I would look at a way to bypass Grafton for traffic that is not bound for Grafton,” he said. “There is a fine line, however. People stop and visit and shop at the stores.”

In the first round of voting Evans, Schwartz and McFaul received votes, with none receiving the required majority. The third and fourth round split the vote between Evans and Schwartz.

The final decision was ultimately made after closing arguments from both candidates.

“Because we are in this predicament, I don’t have a prepared statement,” Schwartz laughed, then summed up Grafton’s current difficulties. “There are a lot of needs and limited revenue.”

Evans began his closing remarks by complementing his fellow applicant.

“Mr. Schwartz is a highly qualified individual,” he said, however, “No one will work harder for the village than I will. No one will be a bigger advocate for the village than I will.”

In the final round of voting Evans received four votes, and Schwartz two. Evans will attend his first meeting as Trustee on June 5.

A central question during the interviews was how to handle the village’s rate of growth.

“There are some things outside of the village’s control, like the national and global economy,” Evans said.

“But, here in the village, not every type of growth requires the same development of services,” he said.

He cited Blaine’s, Big Lots and Harbor Freight as examples of developments which increase the village’s tax base while using existing infrastructure.

Another question asked of the candidates was why they had not run for the Trustee seat in the April election.

“My wife and I welcomed our first child at thanksgiving,” Evans said. “It was an adjustment period during the vital time of circulating nomination papers and starting the campaign process. I was not in a position to put my name on the ballot.”

He said that he wanted to serve as trustee with not just “the bare minimum.”

Explaining why he was qualified for the position Evans said, “I am an experienced leader with a proven track record of developing, implementing and evaluating initiatives in budget constrained environments.”

He referred to his involvement in the management of over $5 million dollars of research and education budgets as a researcher and American Meteorological Society chairman. The chairman position uniquely qualifies him for trustee because he serves on a board which oversees other boards similar to the Village Board, he said.

Evans received the 2021 UWM Faculty Distinguished University Service Award. He was on the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Committee and is a member of the Grafton Library Board.

The process to fill the temporary vacancy began with an open invitation for applicants, and then a random drawing of five names for consideration by the Board.

Evans will serve the remaining one year of Delorit’s four-year term.



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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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