WALWORTH — Tom Connelly showed he had the right stuff April 2 to be re-elected as village president, as he fended off a challenge from longtime village trustee LeRoy Nordmeyer.
In Walworth, Williams Bay and Fontana, voters returned incumbents to their seats in nearly all of the contested races on the ballot April 2. Only in Williams Bay did a newcomer win a seat on the village board, because one seat was vacated by an incumbent who decided not to run for re-election.
Unofficial returns showed Connelly bested Nordmeyer by a 99-vote margin, 334 to 235.
The two are not friends.
Yet, despite their sometimes contentious campaign for village president, both candidates said they will work together on the village board.
Asked if he could work with Connelly on the board, Nordmeyer responded: “Absolutely. As I have always maintained, I am in this for every citizen of the village of Walworth.”
Connelly said he was also confident that he and Nordmeyer could set aside differences.
“My opponent remains on the board as a trustee, and I have no doubt that we will work together for the betterment of the village,” Connelly said.
The victorious incumbent said he believes that his re-election campaign was successful because the policies and actions taken over the past two years in village government have resonated with the voters.
Nordmeyer said Connelly benefited from “a certain amount of trust the incumbent has just because of their position.” He said the village president has accused previous boards of fraud and illegal activity where none existed.
“I’m sure there were citizens who read or heard that and thought if he was saying it, then it must be true,” Nordmeyer said.
In a race for Walworth municipal judge, incumbent Charles Hubertz defeated John Peterson, a former Walworth municipal judge, 287 to 221.
Williams Bay will see one new face on its village board, after trustee Marsha Engquist did not run for re-election.
Newcomer Jennifer McMannamy will fill her seat. Not only is McMannamy a newcomer, but, according to unofficial returns, she was the top vote-getter, with 515 votes, in a four-way race for three village board seats.
Incumbent trustees James D’Alessandro earned 485 votes and incumbent George Vlach received 448 votes.
D’Alessandro said he wants to be involved with planning and coordinating with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on the reconstruction of state Highway 67 for 2022.
“The project will require new water mains, water laterals, sewer mains, and sewer laterals,” he said.
Robert Umans, also a newcomer, did not make the cut, finishing last with 398 votes.
Umans said he was “humongously disappointed” by his failure to win a seat, but he was not discouraged. He plans to run for village board again next year.
In the meantime, he said, he will attend village board meetings to share concerns he heard from citizens he talked to during his campaign.
Umans, who has lived in Williams Bay for just 20 months, said the other candidates had better name recognition To acquaint himself to the voters, Umans did a door-to-door campaign.
“It was tremendously educational for me,” he said. “I enjoyed that part of it, and it was a lot of work.”
The two incumbents on the Williams Bay School Board were also returned to office with strong votes of confidence April 2. Three candidates ran for two open seats.
Jack Lothian won a second term on the board with 717 votes, while three-term incumbent Dianna Woss received 613 votes. Challenger Josh Skolnick, who called for more environmental education in the school district, came in third with 295 votes.
Fontana voters also returned three incumbents to the village board in a four-way race for three seats.
Top vote-getters were Tom McGreevy with 299 votes, John O’Neill with 280 votes and Arvid “Pete” Petersen with 215 votes. Challenger Bob Allen received 208 votes.
Village president and village trustees serve two-year terms. School board members serve three years. Municipal judges serve four years.
In Walworth, Connelly said the goals that he will be working toward over the next two years include plans, budgets and timelines to address community issues with storm-water flooding and aging infrastructure.
To help with infrastructure improvements, he said the village needs to develop an accurate digital map of its water and sewerage systems to locate trouble spots. The village board has also been discussing adding more shut-off valves to the water system so main breaks can be cut off more easily for repair.
In addition, Connelly said he would like to see village ordinances updated and then digitized so they are available online and to use new accounting software to improve the village’s budgeting process.
Finally, he said he wants to foster a more responsive and open village government.
Nordmeyer said that as a village board trustee, he wants to see the village tackle a flooding problem at High and Bonito streets, a problem that has plagued the village for years.
“I also would like to see a new fire/police station happen,” he said. “The existing building was too small when I was fire chief almost 20 years ago, and nothing has changed.”