Oath takers

Marinette Municipal Court Judge Peter Noppenberg (right) administers the oath of office to councilmembers (left to right) Debbie Klegin, Liz Mikutowski, Mayor Steve Genisot, and councilmember Jeffrey Skorik at Tuesday’s City of Marinette Government reorganization meeting following the April 6 election.

EagleHerald staff writer

MARINETTE—With the energies of public promotion, placing posters and campaigning platforms all wrapped up, and the election results for the 2020 spring election securely tabulated, the real work now lies ahead for those still in office and those new faces on the City of Marinette Common Council.

At the level of community leadership, the work always lies ahead.

A few simple words pulled from a popular children’s storybook by a well-known author epitomizes the purpose and drive empowering one to enter a community leadership position:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, 1971.

Tuesday afternoon, Marinette Municipal Judge Peter Noppenberg administered the oath of office to four of Marinette’s Common Council community leaders as they begin a three-year term of office, inaugurating the city government’s 134{sup}th{/sup} year.

Mayor Steve Genisot, Ward 2 Alderperson Jeffrey Skorik and Ward 6 Alderperson Debbie Klegin all represented incumbent officials sworn in at the Annual Reorganization for the city leadership. Additionally, the council gained some fresh façade to its community dedication with the addition of Ward 5 Alderperson Liz Mikutowski, who begins her very first term on the council after defeating incumbent Wally Hitt at the April 6 ballot box 122 votes to 89.

Following the oath, Noppenberg offered the EagleHerald an insight into the weight and meaning behind the words of the oath; words that commit each member to the promise of faithfully discharging the duties of his or her respective offices.

“I think (the meaning) is pretty self-explanatory,” Noppenberg said. “It is what we do. It is important. It’s all about accountability.”

He further emphasized that when an elected official takes the oath of office they are promising to support the constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Wisconsin.

“And you take this oath before God,” he said. “That is the back-stop. That is what keeps us all doing things in a respectful and honest fashion.”

According to a 2017 article in the Journal of Leadership Education, “community development is one of the most productive ways to improve the lives and livelihoods of individuals within a community.” In a similar fashion to Dr. Suess’s quote from “The Lorax,” the article continues by stating, evidence shows that “an effective mechanism” for enabling successful community development begins with community leaders.

“At the municipal level, or at the local level, that is the most personal,” he said. “That is where people like you and I can get together and discuss things and look each other in the eyes and give an opinion. The higher up the ladder you go, at the state and federal level, it is more impersonal.”

He further explained that while at the federal and state level, information can be communicated across a wider base, it can also be misunderstood on a wider scale.

In other annual reorganization business, the new Council re-elected Dorothy Kowalski for a one-year term as Council President and voted Jeffrey Skorik to retain his seat as the Common Council Plan Commission Representative, which also represents a one-year term.

So to community leaders, one can surely tip his hat, with community leaders success can begin, and that is that.