Scrima in the 2014 Waukesha mayoral race

Published on: 12/31/2013

As Shawn Reilly made his intentions known, Mayor Jeff Scrima was quiet.

As Terry Thieme made his announcement, Scrima again stayed mum.

And as Mike Volpano declared for the position, Scrima refused to talk about 2014.

But on the deadline to file non-candidacy, Scrima finally announced that he was in. He is joining those three in this spring's mayoral election.

"Based upon significant citizen support I will be seeking a second term," Scrima said Friday, the same day he filed a campaign registration statement and a declaration of candidacy with the clerk-treasurer's office.

Scrima must now collect between 200 and 400 signatures before turning his nomination papers by Tuesday at City Hall.

Reilly, a downtown Waukesha attorney and former president of the Downtown Business Improvement District, Thieme, the Common Council president and a former police officer, and Volpano, a company trainer and part-time teacher at Waukesha County Technical College, all filed this summer.

Scrima waited until the very end to file and will have a quick turnaround before the primary on Feb. 18.

But he's confident in what he and the city has achieved during his first term.

In an email he highlighted five areas were the city has "made significant progress" in the last four years.

"First of all, for the first time in the history of our city, we've balanced our city checkbook and kept the tax levy flat — on average under inflation — resulting in tax savings and a better value for our families," Scrima said.

He also said that "due to citizen concerns over the hidden costs of Milwaukee water, we've redirected and are moving forward towards Oak Creek for our future water source," said Scrima, who originally was opposed to the Great Lakes option when Milwaukee was the preferred supplier as a connecting point.

He added that the city investing millions of dollars into road restoration is a step forward.

"For the first time in decades, roads all around the city are being resurfaced and replaced," said Scrima, adding there will be many more road projects in 2014.

He cites job growth — 700 new family-supporting jobs in recent years — that has placed Waukesha "far ahead of many other Wisconsin municipalities in job growth."

"Our expanding economic engines include Carroll University, ProHealth Care, SPX Waukesha Electric, Weldall Manufacturing, GE Gas Engines, Gaco Western, The Shoppes at Fox River, Woodman's Food Market," said Scrima, who also highlights community front-porch events like Friday Night Live and the Farmer's Market continuing to grow and expand as a positive development during his first term.

Scrima's campaign slogan when he emerged from a five-person primary in 2010 before defeating Incumbent Mayor Larry Nelson in the general election, was a "A New Day for Waukesha."

It later became the name of the fund where Scrima, who has a background in real estate development, put half of his net salary in over the last four years.

Scrima said Susie Taylor, a co-owner of Taylors People's Park restaurant in downtown Waukesha, will serve as the treasurer of his campaign this year.

While Scrima's only remark about his challengers has been "competition is welcomed," his challengers have criticized him on recent issues.

Reilly, who was disappointed in how the downtown BID disbanded this year and the mayor's selections in new members last winter, has said he doesn't think "the mayor explains where he is coming from with what he's thinking and what he proposes."

Thieme blasted Scrima during the salary increase saga this fall for the mayoral and aldermanic positions. Scrima vetoed the Common Council's decision for raises but Thieme was most disappointed by the mayor saying he didn't give his opinion at the committee level because he wasn't invited to the Human Resources meeting.

"To me, the mayor saying that you have to be invited is not a sign of a good leader," Thieme said. "A good leader is being proactive. What he's saying is that of a follower. There's no place for that."

While he has his critics, ultimately, he said citizen-support swayed him to run again.

"Our goal is to become the No. 1 best small city in America," Scrima said referencing his 2018 goal. "We've already made significant progress, and we have some exciting plans for the next few years to get us there. Together we will create an outstanding future. The citizens of Waukesha deserve proven leadership to move Waukesha forward. The citizens know best."