Are Wausau’s City Council challengers operating as a slate?

A news release was issued within the past few days by Duane Maatz, who is running against incumbent Jim Brezinski for the District 4 Wausau City Council seat. Brezinski ran very strong in the February primary, capturing 70 percent of the vote. Maatz is the executive director of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association and it’s clear that his shtick is being the right winger in this race. The news release revolves around a Freedom of Information request for a bunch of possible background documents relating to the failed attempt to consolidate the city’s human resources department with Marathon County’s.

I’m not sure what kind of documents will surface because I have a feeling that a lot of the derailing probably took place off the record, but there are a couple of things that might prove interesting about this whole exercise.

First, I’m not sure what good it will do for Maatz. He obviously needs something besides his yard signs “standing with Walker,” but nobody pushed harder for consolidation of the HR function than Jim Brezinski. He actually resigned in disgust as chair of the city’s HR committee when the merger failed. The thrust of the news release is that Maatz and other city council challengers feel that the HR deal might have been a good one and that the city missed an important opportunity. I couldn’t agree more and I was sorry that I had to leave the council prior to the time that we could get that done. So was Jim Brezinski. Simply put, there is absolutely no competitive advantage for Maatz to be pushing what Brezinski had sincerely hoped would have justifiably been a signature policy initiative that he spent a lot of time and effort trying to champion in 2010.

But what is also interesting is that the news release from Maatz quotes Keene Winters, another council challenger in District 6 and the local ringleader for a group known as the Center Right Coalition. The CRC concept was the creation of Grover Norquist. I have no idea how many local members there are or what it takes to be one, but groups always sound more official. The release lists District 2 challenger Randy Shiffman and District 1 challenger Judi Paetzold as media contacts for the story. Mark Hadley, who backed Tipple’s initial mayoral run but whose wife was running against Tipple four years later in 2008, seems to have more than a passing interest in all of this. It is therefore fair to wonder whether all of these folks are running on some kind of a slate and what the core values of that particular slate might be. Or perhaps enough is already known to make a good guess.

JR

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