Greater Beloit’s better-neighbors movement can be advanced by voters.
The election April 6 in the Town of Beloit is sure to confuse some voters, where four candidates are running for three positions.
The town chair position, previously held by the late Tammy Maegli, is uncontested. Former board Chairwoman Diane Greenlee is the only candidate for the post.
Two supervisors will be elected from among four candidates. For some technical reason that makes absolutely no sense to us, Greenlee also is on the ballot as a supervisor candidate. She will be elected chairwoman, uncontested, and has no interest in the board supervisor post. If, for some unlikely reason, voters pick her for supervisor anyway, she would decline and believes the two highest vote-getters not named Greenlee should fill the positions.
So that leaves three candidates for the two supervisor seats. Incumbent Jim Stevens is running for reelection along with two challengers, James Packard Jr. and John Pelock.
First, a word about Greenlee. She’s well known and well thought of in the Beloit area and has held this job in the past. Greenlee first was elected to the town board in 2012 as a supervisor and later won the chair, losing that seat to Maegli in 2018. Greenlee mostly did a good job representing Town of Beloit residents. She’s a good steward of public dollars and strives to be responsive to local residents.
Greenlee’s tenure became controversial when the Town of Beloit engaged in the incorporation effort, which had both strong supporters and strong opponents. The board also faced citizen pushback for not being transparent enough. Such issues contributed to Maegli’s victory at the polls. Maegli worked hard to ease tensions, including with the city of Beloit, and moved the town into a more conciliatory and cooperative stance with neighbors before her untimely passing.
Has Greenlee learned the right lessons? She sounds like it, in conversations with the Beloit Daily News. But as the old saying goes, “Watch what people do, not what they say.” Citizens who support a more collaborative approach in Greater Beloit—and we hope that’s most—should monitor the situation for continued progress.
As for the other three supervisor candidates, the Beloit Daily News was able to conduct interviews with Packard and Pelock but not Stevens. The incumbent was dealing with a family situation and could not connect with the newspaper. He was first elected supervisor in 2010, took a couple of years off and then returned in 2019. Stevens has done what was asked of him and served honorably.
The other two candidates, however, bring exceptional qualifications to the board race.
Packard is a well known businessman and leader in Greater Beloit, rising to responsible positions with the Regal Beloit organization. Just as important, he has been a vigorous supporter of community efforts and organizations, serving as a volunteer and board member for a lengthy list of key nonprofits. He has taken the lead on various important endeavors, such as chairing the current capital campaign for a new Stateline Boys & Girls Club facility.
While Packard wants to maintain the Town of Beloit’s unique identity, he’s a strong advocate for community cooperation and sees advantages in supporting the best public services at the most efficient cost. He’s committed to promoting smart growth and expanding the town’s tax base. He believes in leading with integrity and providing optimum transparency for stakeholders. Packard is retired and therefore has plenty of time for an elective role.
While Packard is making his first run for public office, John Pelock is well known to citizens in the Beloit Turner School District. He spent 37 years as an educator in the district and retired in 2008. And, yes, he is still a member of the Turner board and, at least for now, intends to seek reelection in 2022. A logical question is this: Can one person devote enough time to serve effectively on both boards? Pelock points to Carl McMillan, who seems to be doing just that. McMillan is a Turner board member (term expires in 2022) and a Town of Beloit supervisor (term also expires in 2022). Another logical question: Should one person serve on both boards? Voters will make that decision.
Otherwise, Pelock has a lot to bring to board service. He has a proven record as a good steward of tax dollars. He’s a big supporter of whole community cooperation. He believes the town needs to foster both commercial and residential growth, but carefully and selectively to preserve its identity. He’s a stickler for transparency, recognizing elected officials work for the benefit of the people. He has a good understanding of the separate roles of board members and administrators, having worked well in a similar capacity with Turner.
The Beloit Daily News endorses Diane Greenlee for chair, along with James Packard Jr. and John Pelock for town of Beloit supervisors.
Moreover, we encourage the new board to continue the direction set by the late Tammy Maegli. The town and city now share a fire chief, and that’s just the first of many possibilities to foster efficient quality services across the community. Conciliation, goodwill and open minds can benefit all of Greater Beloit, while still maintaining individual community cohesion and identity. That’s a worthy goal for leaders across all local jurisdictions.