Election 2013: Silver Lake village trustee

Note: westofthei.com distributed questionnaires to candidates for local offices in the April 2 election. Each candidate for a given office was asked the same questions. We will present the answers in posts as they were submitted (spelling corrected when caught). — DH

Silver Lake village trustee

Nancy Barranco, age 60. Previous political experience: Elected 3 terms as Village Trustee for Silver Lake.

Mike Decker, age 38. Previous political experience: Currently serving first 2-year term as trustee.

Pat Dunn, no response received.

Barb Ironside, age 59. Previous political experience: Former village board member for 10 years.

Roger Johnson, no response for age or previous political experience.

Soti Wilber, age 40. Previous political experience: Currently a Village of Silver Lake Trustee.

Why are you seeking the office?

Barranco: I would like to see the Village united instead of divided. There has been too much bickering and backstabbing. I’m the type of person who listens and then weighs all the options given and then make a decision I don’t just vote to go with the majority.

Decker: To keep Silver Lake moving forward. I ran last election on a pledge to keep taxes down and getting rid of the status quo in the village. I and the current trustees running for reelection have done so much to help residents. We passed budgets that reduced the levy. We have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. We did away with no bid sweetheart contracts and excessive employee overtime. We enacted an ethics policy to clean up village government. We don’t want to go back to the good ol’ boy status quo. I am running to keep the progress we have made in Silver Lake going forward, so we don’t go back to the ways of the past.

Dunn: No response received.

Ironside: I’m running for the Silver Lake Village Board because I care about the future of the village and I miss being on the board.

Johnson: I have lived in Silver Lake for over 10 years. In my time here as a resident, village president and county board member, I have established many great friendships and working relationships. I possess a genuine interest in the well-being of this community and feel that I have an obligation to see that the will of the people is served. There are a lot of residents that have legitimate concerns regarding the direction the village is headed, and I feel that the best way for me to assist in their voice being heard is as a member of the Village Board.

Wilbur:  I am seeking re-election so that I can be part of the decision making process for the future of our community. I feel that I have done what I was elected to do, which is to help our community grow. I have looked at almost every aspect of our Village Finances and have paid off loans, had fees reduced and solicited for bids with savings of several hundred thousand dollars in premiums and interest. I would like the opportunity to continue with the progress I have started to help our community grow.

Why are you a better choice than the other candidates?

Barranco: I have lived in Silver Lake for 27 years; my children were raised and schooled here. I feel this is my hometown. I served as a trustee for six years and then I did not seek re-election because I thought someone else should experience the challenge of public office.

Decker: Since the 2011 election, many positive things have taken place in Silver Lake government. We have been proactive in how we save taxpayer dollars, searching out ways to save money. We have been proactive in cleaning up village government. We have planned for the future of Silver Lake with our streets and sewer repair plan. All these items are things that have never been done in the past. If residents want a village that is proactive in saving taxpayer dollars and planning for the future, they should vote the current trustees back in. The candidates that are running that were on the Village Board in the past have shown what they would do if reelected – allow the status quo to continue and go back to the ways of the past.

Dunn: No response received.

Ironside: I feel after being on the board for 10 years and living, working and being involved in the community in some way for the past 33 years helps give me some insight that some may not have. I don’t feel that makes me a better choice, it makes me a good choice. When I was on the board I helped in the village purchasing our own mosquito sprayer, getting a pier and launch fee box at the village launch site. When there was flooding in the new subdivision I worked with the building inspector to help solve some of those issues. As chairperson of the police department I encouraged and helped the police association get involved with the community with their car wash fund raiser for fireworks and their involvement of Toys for tots. We also have an annual fishing derby that is put on by a wonderful group called Youth Conservation. Some of my involvements besides a board member include a planning commission member, a member of the Fire and Rescue Squad Auxiliary for 28 years, a Rescue Squad member until knee replacements side lined me. When my children were in school especially high school I was a member of the booster club and was a member and president of Parent for Wilmot. Right now I serve as a board member for the Silver Lake Protection Association. Our lake is a beautiful asset and we must do all we can to protect it. The Association has made great progress for treatment of the lake this spring.

Johnson: I’ve worked with people in so many different aspects from my time as Kenosha County medical examiner  Kenosha County Board member, Silver Lake village President and even in my current position in commercial vehicle sales. I feel that I have a proven track records of working with people on both sides of the political spectrum as well as people with completely different socioeconomic backgrounds. While serving on the county board I was a member of several joint committees that required compromise and cooperation in order to accomplish a common goal. I think that too many important decisions are being made based on political affiliation or posturing instead of being made with the best interests of the constituents in mind. I recognize that the primary goal of the board should be to serve the residents and to make every effort to accommodate them while preserving safety and promoting prosperity in the community. Although it may prove challenging to provide the village with the highest level of service while maintaining a low tax base, I do have experience working within a budget and am confident that this can be accomplished. I do not believe that any other candidate brings the diversity of experience that I possess.

Wilbur:  I have proven in the short time that I have been in office, that I am willing to look at things differently. I am always looking at the way we do business to see how we can stream line the process, or find a cost savings. I look at all the aspects and am not afraid to ask questions if I don’t understand something. I always try to make the best, most informed decisions that I can. Since I have been in office, there have been numerous changes, and I am proud to say that I have been a part of them. These have resulted in a more effective and efficient Village. For example, where most other municipalities’ health insurance costs have increased, ours have decreased for the last two years with a cost savings of approx $32,000.

What do you fell is the correct path for the village to follow on the fire department/rescue issue? (Note: This question was asked before the March 20 meeting during which the Silver Lake Village Board approved a contract for emergency medical services with Salem. — DH)

Barranco: I feel both departments need to stay in the village. The rescue squad has been here for over 50 years was started by village residents and even though a private company charging the village $27,500 a year that is a bargain. If Salem Township or any other company starts servicing our Village the price could increase drastically. The Fire Department needs new equipment and training but I hope both departments could work together, only time will tell.

Decker: I believe contracting with Salem Rescue is the correct way to go. Adopting this contract will bring fire and rescue services under one roof, instead of contracting with a private business to provide rescue services. Joining with Salem will allow the birth of Silver Lake Emergency Services (SLES) so the members of SLES can serve a dual purpose by providing fire services and rescue services, saving taxpayer dollars. Using Salem for rescue services, residents will get paramedic level care when needed. Approximately 50% of the calls come through 911 dispatch as Advanced Life Support (ALS), and Silver Lake Rescue is not equipped at an ALS level. In a meeting I had with members of Silver Lake Rescue, it was said to me by Mr. Dan Gerber, “the Town of Salem would provide excellent rescue service.” The plan is, in a few years, Silver Lake will have formed Silver Lake Emergency Services and will no longer need to contract with Salem for rescue services. Many of the members of the current Silver Lake Fire Department were members of Silver Lake Rescue, so you will see many of the same faces responding to medical calls.

Dunn: No response received.

Ironside: As far as the fire department and rescue squad are concerned, whatever would be the best for the safety and welfare of our village is what should be done. All studies and research must be used to its fullest. An open mind to all possibilities should be used in the decision that gets made. Lies and false facts need to stop. The village residents need to be kept in the loop about what will or could happen if things Change or don’t change. This is a very complicated and serious decision to be made by board members.

Johnson: The most common concern that I’ve been hearing from residents has been the discussion of the possibility of eliminating the Silver Lake Rescue Squad in favor of contracting Salem Township to handle emergency services  I want it to be understood  that I am wholeheartedly against this proposal. Not only do I believe  that this would be detrimental to the safety of residents in cases of emergency due to increased response time, but I’m not convinced that the potential savings is substantial or justifiable  I mentioned previously that I will not engage in political posturing. What I meant is that I will not publicly say I support an issue or opinion, but then vote the other way due to political pressure or affiliation. For example, I have heard several concerns that certain current trustees are publicly supporting the rescue squad at this time, but may not vote to keep them here after the election. Let me go on the record as saying that I am vehemently opposed to the elimination of the Silver Lake Fire Department/Rescue Squad. I do not believe it is in the village’s best interest and I will not support any attempts to eliminate this vital part of our community.

Wilbur: The Village Board asked SLRS Inc, a private organization, to provide additional documentation/clarification on their original proposals. SLRS Inc, in-turn presented the Board with a new $20,000 proposal. What was expected was an amendment to their $7500 proposal, which is more in line with what other municipalities are paying. Keep in mind, this is in addition to the approx $5000 in fees we have already paid them this year. When asked to continue with a 90 day extension until final details could be clarified, SLRS Inc came back with a cost of $2250 per month ($27,000 per year pro-rated). SLRS Inc had already agreed to accept payment of $625 for the month of March ($7500 pro-rated). So not only were we being charged more than the other municipalities, we also have a long term lease agreement with SLRS Inc, where they pay $1 per year and have never paid taxes on their property. The Village negotiated in good faith with SLRS Inc, but I do not feel that they were doing the same. I could not in good conscience agree to a poor deal for the tax payers of Silver Lake. I feel we gave them every opportunity to negotiate with us, but instead they tried to squeeze out every dime.



  1. Erin Decker says:

    Mike Decker did not receive a questionnaire from West of the I. If he had, he would have responded. If you would like him to answer your questions, please send them to the email associated with this post and I will be more than happy to have him answer them. Thank you.

  2. I have a concern says:

    about how Dunn and Decker were contacted? via email?
    It is surprising that they did not answer these questions which would be very simple and quite critical at election time!

  3. @Erin Decker: I sent Mike Decker’s questionnaire to the email address filed with his candidacy statement and supplied by the village clerk’s office. I sent it out on March 15 and can verify that. I did not receive a non-delivery statement. I would be glad to include his answers as soon as I receive them.
    @I have a concern: Same for Pat Dunn, for both of his positions.

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