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Two incumbents lose their seats in Butler election

April 3, 2014

Village of Butler –The composition of the Butler Village Board will look different later this month as the results of Tuesday's election take shape.

Political newcomer Patricia Tiarks and returning board member Michael Thew Sr. unseated incumbent board members Jeanne Briggs and Susan Hesselgrave in a race that had five people vying for three open spots.

The vote totals, according to unofficial results:

Patricia Tiarks 335; 28%

Michael Thew Sr. 264; 22%

Dave Hesselgrave (i) 212; 17%

Jeanne Briggs (i) 205; 17%

Susan Hesselgrave (i) 193; 16%


Election results remain unofficial until a board of canvassers reviews them.

There were a number of hot-button topics in Butler throughout this election season, most notably the future of public safety in the village in the aftermath of alleged inappropriate behavior within some members of the local police force.

Other issues that bubbled to the surface were taxes and commercial development along the village's main corridor on Hampton Avenue.

Reached by phone as results came rolling in, Tiarks said she was pleasantly surprised to learn she was the top vote-getter in this year's race.

"I appreciate all of the people who voted for me," she said. "I'm very thrilled. I'm going to do what I can for the residents and work toward making Butler a better place."

Tiarks served on last year's Centennial Committee, an appointed group that helped plan a number of festivities to commemorate Butler's 100th anniversary as an incorporated community.

Thew, who was defeated a year ago after having served two terms on the Village Board, said he is happy to be back in office.

"I think the results speak for themselves," Thew said. "The people of Butler wanted a change. I'm happy, and I want to get back into the swing of things as soon as possible."

During the election season, Thew said he was concerned about the state of public safety in the village. Last year's allegations against the police force gave Butler "a great big, black eye," he said.

When asked what his top priority would be as he resumes his duties on the board April 15, Thew quickly pointed to the police department. He said he will be working in the weeks ahead to help draft an ordinance that would require a binding referendum if and when the police department would be disbanded.

"If this ordinance is passed, it would require this issue go to the people for a vote," Thew said. "They should have a say if public safety gets outsourced to the sheriff or someone else."

Attempts to reach third-place winner Dave Hesselgrave for comment have been unsuccessful.

During the election season, Hesselgrave said he would like to see the village adopt policies that take short- and long-term planning into account. He also expressed a desire to ramp up communication between village staff and the community.

Members of the Butler Village Board serve two-year terms and receive $2,000 in compensation. The village president receives an annual salary of $3,000.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Breakfast with the Reindeer: 9 a.m. Dec. 5, Fish Hatchery Building, 417 Main St., Delafield. Meet Santa’s reindeer and enjoy doughnut holes, milk and hot cocoa. Free.

Live Nativity: 5 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, St. Mathew’s Lutheran Church, 818 W. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Pet the camel, ox, donkey, sheep and goats. Hot chocolate and refreshments served indoors. Free.

Sussex Tree Lighting: 6 p.m. Dec. 4, Sussex Village Hall, N64 W23760 Main St., Sussex. Celebration includes live musical performances by local school children, music by Steve Haasch, countdown and tree lighting and visit from Santa. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Bring a nonperishable food item for the Sussex Food Pantry. Free.


Village of Monches Artisan Open House & Holiday Craft Fair: 9 a.m. Dec. 5, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Church, W302 N8593 O’Neill Road, Monches. Also includes food, homemade baked goods, raffles, chili, pies and more. Concert in church at 1 p.m. by the Kettle Moraine Symphony.

All weekend happenings