Town of Waukesha — Getting away from politics after losing her chairwoman seat last year never crossed Angie Van Scyoc's mind.
"You just don't turn that off," said Van Scyoc, who previously served the town as a plan commissioner for 18 years and as chairwoman for three years. "It's something you can't just walk away from."
That's why she continued attending and voicing her opinion during Town Board meetings after John Marek defeated her last spring. And it's why she's now looking to return to the board as a town supervisor.
"I'm familiar with the issues," Van Scyoc, 57, said. "When chairwoman, I was always looking out for the best interest and long term of the town, even if that wasn't always popular. I feel it's important in the town's life cycle that we have knowledgeable people on the board. This is a pivotal election in the town."
Her opponent in the April 1 election, Michael Doerr, a 48-year-old AT&T manager, agreed that the results could "set the tone for the town for many years," but said he's the right person for the position.
"I don't think anyone questions Angie has served the community, but moving into the future, given the current makeup of the board, I don't think she is best person for the position and don't think it's best putting the person who lost the last election back on the board," Doerr said. "I'm in touch with the major issues facing the board. I have demonstrated in the past that I'm committed to the town."
Doerr, a former Town of Waukesha Fire Department emergency medical technician, said the main issue behind his run began with the controversy around outgoing Supervisor Mike Laska's use of videoconferencing to attend meetings. The current chairman has been unsuccessful in eliminating that practice. Laska, who is not seeking re-election, previously ran unopposed in two elections.
"I thought I should be careful about throwing rocks and shouldn't criticize him if I wasn't willing to take that step to run," Doerr said.
He added that too often in contested issues with the town "it becomes personal" and the board needs to "end the bickering" that has occurred over the last few years.
Van Scyoc, an owner of a management consulting firm, responded to the claim of "bickering" and said the board was fine until late 2012 when multiple people went to the District Attorney's Office against her in the lead up to the 2013 election. She was cleared of all wrongdoing. She said those actions were "discrediting" tactics and were used as distractions for voters.
"A lot of things were said in the last election, and all were proved to be false," Van Scyoc said.
Supervisor Brian Fischer has since filed a lawsuit against Van Scyoc, citing defamation. Van Scyoc said Fischer's actions have no truth and are once again "bully tactics."
"If people are reviewing my history of service, I've always been professional," Van Scyoc said. "I've always been respectful, and if others would be collaborative and respectful, there will be no problems. I'm not the aggressor. People have to see who's creating the issue. We are reacting and defending ourselves. That's an important distinction. I'm very interested in working collaboratively. That's why I offered my assistance to John when he became chairman. I don't hold a grudge."
Concerned about land, water
If elected to the board, Van Scyoc, who became chairwoman during a recall election in 2010, said she is most concerned about two issues: protecting the town's water supply and its land.
She is worried that if the city is unsuccessful in its quest for Lake Michigan water, its Plan B (a deep and shallow aquifer alternative on 13 acres it acquired in the Town of Waukesha in 2012) would negatively affect the town. She also said that the town, after she was voted out of office, including itself in the water service area will hurt the city in its application process, and that it will cause future city expansion in the town.
"Plan B is devastating to us," Van Scyoc said. "I'm about protecting the 3,300 homeowners in the Town of Waukesha. The city's growth is the town's loss, and there's only so much land that can be lost. We're risking losing our tax base."
Doerr, on the other hand, said it's in the "absolute best interest of the town" if the city gets approval for Great Lakes water.
"That battle was clearly defined in the last election," Doerr said of the water service area. "What's critical is that we do everything necessary that the city gets Lake Michigan water. It's the best long-term solution, not only for the city but also for the town."
He added that the city will eventually get lake water and all that Van Scyoc is worried about is "delaying the inevitable."
Protecting the town
Van Scyoc also said she would fight to keep the town's well study and expand it to show that those closest to the city's shallow aquifer wells are experiencing water-depth dropoffs. But she said the well study program is being threatened by two Town Board members.
Doerr said he is not aware of any plan to eliminate the well study.
He also added that annexation can only be stopped if the town incorporates, while Van Scyoc has said incorporating isn't an option while adding how the town moves forward will be determined in this election.
"There's a small window to protect the town," Van Scyoc said. "If we miss that window, there's no turning back, but there's still time to protect the town."
Angie E. Van Scyoc
Address: S51 W25375 Glendale Road
Years of residency in the town: 30
Occupation: Owner of a management consulting firm
Education: Bachelor of business administration, 1979, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Previous political experience or other related experience: Town of Waukesha Plan Commission member (18 years); Town Board chairwoman, 2010-13; served on numerous not-for-profit boards
Family: Husband, David
Address: S51 W23661 Turners Pike E
Employer/occupation: AT&T, area manager
Years of residency in the city: 13.5
Education: Bachelor's degree, management information systems, 1996, Milwaukee School of Engineering; executive master of business administration, 2000, UW-Milwaukee
Previous political experience or other related experience/community involvement: No previous political experience; 2001-2011 Town of Waukesha Fire Department EMT, 2009-2011 Lieutenant in charge of training; 2006-present, election poll worker
Family: Wife, Laura and 4-year-old son, Carl