Doerr, Radke enter Town of Waukesha supervisor's races

Published on: 1/7/2014

Whether this year's election races will be as hotly contested as last year's is to be determined over the next few months.

But what is certain is that Town of Waukesha residents will have a choice come April 1.

Joe Banske, seeking re-election for his Supervisor 1 seat, will face local business owner, Jim Radke. Meanwhile, the Supervisor 3 seat — open with Mike Laska not seeking re-election — will feature two individuals who have been involved in the town for many years.

Former Town of Waukesha Chairwoman Angie E. Van Scyoc is aiming to return to the Town Board after losing a seat to John Marek last spring. Michael Doerr, who was a firefighter with the town for 10 years, recently announced his desire for the position.

"The main goal for me is to continue to serve the community," said Doerr, who has worked at Town Hall during elections for a number of years and is employed as an area manager of construction and engineering at AT&T. "With it being an open seat, it was a reasonable time for me to run. I'm a regular attendee at the (board) meetings and am engaged in the local issues."

Videoconferencing on mind

One issue Doerr highlighted was the use of videoconferencing for supervisors who are unable to be physically present at meetings.

Laska used Skype to tune into meetings so he could vote on issues and engage in conversation when he was at his vacation home in Texas during winter.

Marek opposed the teleconferencing, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to remove the use of allowing board members to attend meetings in this fashion.

"There's been some controversy over Mike's vacation home during the winter months," Doerr said. "And in the past people have been critical about the amount of time he spends in Texas. But my position was Mr. Laska ran two times unopposed, so the only people to blame that are against that is us."

Doerr said when the issue came up earlier this year he spoke at a board meeting saying that "it should not be allowed."

But he added that had the board changed the rule at the time last year, it wouldn't have been right.

"My opinion is that (if changed) it would not have been enacted until the next election cycle for supervisors," Doerr said. "Personally, I felt people should attend meetings in person but given the fact that it was already in place, he wouldn't be held accountable until the individual term is up."

The right time

When Van Scyoc announced her intentions, she figured she would have an opponent.

Doerr, however, said he doesn't want to engage in a political tug-of-war vs. Van Scyoc.

"I'm not campaigning against her," Doerr said. "I'm running against her for an open seat."

While results of the Town of Waukesha election could sway the balance of power among the board, Doerr said that's not why he is running for a seat.

"I wasn't recruited or anything like that," said Doerr, who has lived in the town since 2000. "I don't personally know John (Marek) or Angie (Van Scyoc). I know both in passing but not beyond town politics. It was just something that I've contemplated over the past year. I pulled papers last time but didn't file as it wasn't the right time. The opportunity came up and I discussed it with my wife and garnered her support and feel it's the right time personally and professionally."

Radke in the race

So does Radke.

Radke, who owns Le Caffé Bistro with his wife, Sherri, on West Sunset Drive, has one goal if elected.

"The No.-1 issue is ending the bickering," Radke said. "Seeing how things have deteriorated at the town in how five adults can't make decisions. It's disheartening. It's gotten to a point where very little is being done and we have to get beyond that to work together. Too much drama and grandstanding."

Radke, who also works full time as a vice president and general manager for Grafton Transit Inc. in West Bend, said he isn't picking one faction over the other.

"It's really in general," Radke said. "There's issues between both sides and my experience and background in business and the relationships I have can hopefully mend some of this and we can work and communicate together. Meetings that should last one hour last four or five."

Vocal this year

Radke has been vocal at Town Board meetings this year in relation to the formerly proposed Dunkin' Donuts development near his restaurant. He was against the drive-through at the Dunkin' Donuts site and contacted Waukesha County questioning restrictions on drive-throughs on the site.

"No one acknowledged that until I brought it to everyone's attention," Radke said. "I had to go to the county to get answers."

Radke, however, doesn't diminish the job Banske has done.

"I'm hoping it's not heated," Radke said of the campaign. "I know Joe spends a lot of time and dedication to the town, but the town is at an impasse and a change needs to happen so we can work together."

Radke said he feels his experience in the transportation business can help with budget items such as snow plowing and added that if communication improves, other issues will improve.

"We also need to stop with the outrageous attorney fees," said Radke, who has lived in the town for 20 years. "It looks like some of the steps are being taken care of on that. But we also need to get our septic system fixed and work with our neighbors in the Town of Brookfield and City of Waukesha. We can't get it done without communication."