By Joe Bachman
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — The League of Women Voters hosted a candidate’s forum on Wednesday night for Wisconsin Rapids City Clerk.
Incumbent Paul Przybelski stood alongside challenger Judy Velasquez, as the two were asked various questions regarding community issues. A brief summary of some of their responses, with notable quotes, are below.
Most Important Function of a City Clerk?
Przybelski cites that the single most important function is election administration. Przybelski stated that the rules of the election can change quickly, and keeping up with such can be vital to the positions. In addition, other duties such as liquor licenses can be an intricate process, as well as understanding open meeting laws.
Velasquez agrees that elections are important, but that they only come around periodically. She stated that she is running on public service and community outreach. Velasquez believes that the city website could be improved and that information can make its way to the public much easier. She states that while she’s never run an election, but she’s not afraid of the mechanics of a job.
Ideas to Promote More Civic Engagement in Local Government?
Przybelski: “I’ve worked with the League of Women Voters before, and had my face out there at community events — I work with the Mayor’s Youth Council; I help administer Kids to Parks Day. I help on the Aquatics Fundraising Committee — other ways that you can engage the community is to be open and transparent at the window. Being engaged in the community is a very important aspect of a position.”
Velasquez: “Community involvement has always been very important to me. I don’t think the street department is that much different from the city clerk’s office, because I get flooded with questions, and you need to be able to answer them. Because I have that community leadership class, and out there volunteering in the community, I invite people to call me with their questions. People are comfortable around me when they talk to me.”
Why Should You Be Elected City Clerk?
Przybelski: “They [city officials] hired me to do a job, and I’d like to think that I have met or exceeded their expectations. I have provided a product to the city of Wisconsin Rapids and the city clerk’s office that is the best product they can have as a resident. We operate an open and transparent office. We are consitently trying to improve how to desseminate information to our residents.”
Velasquez: “I feel entering the city clerk’s office would be a natural transition for me. I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration — Working for 22 years, you develop relationships, both internal and external, and when I started with the city I was clerical relief, so I know what each department does. Being out in the community and taking the community leadership course [Heart of Wisconsin] really helped.”
“I have decreased my office’s budget twice, while increasing its efficiency, and implementing new revitalized processes. I have administered seven open elections so far, including the 2016 election, which saw one of the largest primary turnouts in the city of Wisconsin Rapids’ history.” – Paul Przybelski
“I believe Wisconsin Rapids needs a full-time city clerk that will strengthen the office, and I believe I am that person.” – Judy Velasquez
To view the forum in full, please visit http://www.wisconsinrapidscommunitymedia.com/ and click on their ‘On Demand’ section.