Our View: Oak Creek makes right call on mayor

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The Oak Creek Town Board's decision to appoint J. Elliott as the town's new mayor was the right call.

We hope the community can respect the decision and leave the divisiveness of recent months in the past. Maybe then the town can move on to more pressing matters, such as its budget woes.

Elliott, the mayor pro-tem, was appointed Tuesday in a 4-1 vote. He was, in our opinion, the clear choice. The other applicants were Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman, who created the vacancy when she resigned Oct. 13; former Town Board member Bill Paxton, who resigned from the board last summer; and Bill Norris, who ran for mayor in 2004 and lost.

In the 2004 mayoral race, Norris barely netted 20 percent of the vote. Thus, the community had already decided he was not a viable alternative to Rodeman.

Paxton essentially took himself out of the running. How could the town put its faith in a mayor who just months earlier quit the Town Board because he didn't agree with some decisions the board had made?

Finally, there was the outspoken Rodeman. She can be an easy target, but it's important to remember that the people of Oak Creek chose her time and again. She won contested mayoral elections in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and she did so convincingly. And she had a string of successes in four years as mayor, from fixing the town's water treatment plant to building a new ice rink.

But Rodeman can only blame herself that her tenure has come to an end.

Rodeman quit after three town employees met with the Town Board to complain that Rodeman was overstepping her bounds and wasn't letting them do their jobs.

Rodeman wasn't present when the employees met with the Town Board and did not know the extent of the complaints. Still, she quit on Oct. 13, saying Town Board members had acted "hateful" toward her. A few weeks later, after she had listened to tapes of the employees' meeting with the board, Rodeman asked for her job back. She said the town employees' claims were lies.

How disappointing. A true leader would have worked to first understand the employees' concerns and then to resolve them, even if some of those concerns were misperceptions. Rodeman did not lead; she quit. Couple with that the questions raised about the $300,000 reversal in the town's finances during her tenure and the $2,000-a-month salary Rodeman secured for herself as the town's grant writer, and it became clear that the town needed to go in a new direction.

Elliott has served the Town Board since being elected in 2002. He is the owner of the Colorado Bar and Grill. He has worked closely with Rodeman on town issues in the past, and he was gracious to her after being appointed last week.

"There is no animosity," he said. "I think Cargo will come around. She loves Oak Creek : she is Oak Creek. I want her involved."

Such an inclusive approach has been sorely missing in Oak Creek in recent months. We hope it signals that, under Elliott's leadership, the town is ready to move beyond personality clashes and focus instead on the serious financial issues the town faces. We wish Elliott the best.

Comments

Camo181 7 years, 7 months ago

Nicely said SP&T. It should be pointed out to the citizens of OC that Bill Norris (in 2004) and Bill Babcock (in 2006), tried to warn OC about the Town's dire financial condition in their campaigns for mayor. Hats off to these two gentlemen for (1) really looking into the facts and trying to present what was really happening, and (2) for not publicly stating "We told you so!" Mayor Elliott, the Board, and the skeleton staff left at Town Hall have an uphill climb for the next few years, but I think they'll be able to get things straight--the TEAMWORK they've displayed during the latest budget meetings has been awesome. Keep it up and good luck! Keep moving forward.

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Hmmm 7 years, 7 months ago

Watch out Pilot....I think you may have touched a nerve with all the "Cargo" lovers out there. What's the old adage, "Sometimes the truth hurts." If "Cargo" hadn't quit and then cried about getting her job back, she wouldn't be involved in this mess....oh, I forgot, it's not her fault.

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BrainQuest 7 years, 7 months ago

I think it is highly amusing that this artical was suposedly about
our new mayor J. Elliot but the mai topic was Cargo quiting and the old news I would very much like to hear more about something else for a change... look at theOak Creek students they have been doing a lot of work. Then, what's happening with the roads? People would like to hear more about real high school happenings other than high school drama.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 7 months ago

For once I agree with most of what the SP&T had to say, I have to disagree on the statement that "the community had already decided he (Norris) was not a viable alternative to Rodeman". When Rodeman was elected in 2002 the town was in good, solid financial shape thanks to the previous board and town manager. The "Cargo" administration inherited a responsible budget that had already raised rates and was preparing for the future mandated water and sewer upgrades. Cargo took full credit for all of the preparations taken by the previous administration and staff. She also had not had time to deplete the town's coffers as of yet so she convinced the voters (and the board) of how wonderful her projects were, that there was plenty of money and a lot of it would be done for free. She self proclaimed she had done more than all of the other administrations put together and she hand fed the board and the voters budget and project numbers that did not add up, but:they all wanted to believe so they ignored the facts Norris was giving them (turns out he was right). A true politician can con the people into believing everything they say while staring at contradictory facts, only a handful of people saw Rodeman for what she was, JFK himself couldn't have beaten her in 2004. I don't think this election proved whether Norris would have been a viable alternative or not, the same can be said for Babcock in 2006, at least they had the fortitude to try. You would have thought that by 2006 more of the voters would have caught on to her "how great I art" campaign, but no:. they actually believed that the town was rich, most of the projects were getting done with all this "free labor", and that other administrations was either too lazy or just didn't know how to get grants, the board and the voters still had faith. Well, thank God for "disgruntled employees" and "hateful board members" speaking up or the town of Oak Creek would have gotten what it deserved:.. bankruptcy.

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