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Aicher resigns from Delafield Library Board

Nov. 19, 2012

City of Delafield - In summer 2007, Alderman Ron Miskelley had a twinkle in his eye and wry smile on his face as he privately talked about a woman he was about to recommend to the city's newly created Plan B Committee, charged with finding a way to build and finance a new city hall-library complex.

Describing his neighbor Noel Aicher, Miskelley said she was intelligent and articulate, good with numbers - and very persistent.

Those attributes were likely among the qualities that led to her subsequent appointment to the Delafield Library Board. Now, five years later, city officials are searching for a replacement for Aicher, who announced last month she is resigning from the board.

During her five years on the board, she has been credited with helping former Library Board President Alderman Jeff Krickhahn and Library Director Terry Zignego repair what had been a strained relationship between the board and Common Council.

The council includes funding for library operations within the city's tax levy, but state law prevents the council from telling the Library Board how to spend the money. Previous library directors and library boards had clashed with the council over library budgets as well as the size of the proposed new library facility.

"My fiscal conservatism comes from my family experiences and my faith. Both have taught me that you can often get along without something that you really thought you needed," explained Aicher, the mother of five daughters.

While serving on the Plan B Committee, Aicher and fellow committee member Cate Rahmlow cajoled the Library Board into going along with a 10,000-square-foot library rather than the proposed 22,000-square-foot facility. The larger plan had been rejected in two referendums.

Aicher and Rahmlow argued that the library could maintain service levels in a smaller, less costly facility because there would be some public spaces, services and facilities that could be shared with City Hall if the two facilities were in the same building.

"She did a really fantastic job on Plan B, and sometimes she was under a lot of pressure because there were people who didn't agree with her," said Alderman Gerald MacDougall, who also served on the committee.

The committee had insisted that a new library and city hall be built on existing downtown city property. The council appointed the committee in 2007 after voters rejected a referendum to build a new $20 million city hall, library and public safety complex.

The Plan B Committee crafted a $12 million alternative, including a smaller library, that was approved by voters in 2008. Construction on the complex was completed in 2010.

Because of Aicher's success on the Plan B Committee, some citizens tried to persuade her to run for the Common Council.

But she did not think she had the time to devote to the job.

"I decided to hand that responsibility (running for office) over to my husband, and he accepted it," she said.

Alderman Tim Aicher said his wife decided to resign from the Library Board because she wanted to spend more time with other organizations and causes, in addition to more time with the family.

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