Feb. 5, 2018 – West Bend, WI – West Bend Dist. 2 alderman Steve Hutchins turned in his resignation Tuesday, Jan. 30. Hutchins had been alderman since April 2009.
The agenda for the Monday, Feb. 5 Common Council meeting shows item No. 28 as Discussion and Decision to fill Aldermanic Dist 2 Vacancy due to Resignation.
Amy Reuteman was city clerk in West Bend of 15 years and attended “a gazillion meetings” with Hutchins. “He was always very supportive and he took it very seriously to represent his constituents; you knew exactly where he was coming from,” she said.
“The best was Community TV. Those meetings were hysterical,” said Reuteman, now the clerk/treasurer in the Village of Rome. “Hutch would always say something cute. He named the channel and came up with something catchy and it was always fun.”
An archive search turned up a meeting of the Community Cable Committee from 2015 and Hutchins started, “Welcome to another episode of Community TV where I am your host, alderman, MC and chair of this committee,” he said. Pounding a fist on the table the meeting was underway.
“One of the nice things about Hutch is you always knew what was on his mind,” said Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten. “He always gave it to you straight and didn’t sugarcoat it.”
Kasten was first elected in 2014. He said Hutchins, as the longest-serving member on the council “always helped bring a historical perspective to the table.”
“He really gave a good foundation for the council,” Kasten said. “I’m going to miss him. I was shocked when I heard he was resigning but I appreciated his candor and we had a good relationship.”
City admistrator Jay Shambeau has been with the city of West Bend for a year. He too mentioned Hutchins history. “He was our longest standing council member so history wise he was a go to for staff regarding historical things in the city,” said Shambeau. “I always appreciated his frankness; you always knew where you stood on an issue with Hutch and that’s important in a role like this.”
According to city clerk Stephanie Justmann, Hutchins resigned Tuesday just before City Hall closed at 4:30 p.m. “He said he was choosing to end his term now,” said Justmann. “He said next April (2019) it would be 10 years and he thought that was enough.”
Hutchins has been reelected to a two-year term the past four election cycles.
“The council will have to decide if it will go out for a Special Election or if it will appoint that seat,” said Justmann. The Special Election would be held in November 2018, because the upcoming election is already within the next 70 days.
While Hutchins served as Council President he also was on a large number of committees including Plan Commission, Redevelopment Authority, Community TV, Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, Long Range Transportation Committee, and Deer Management Committee.
Justmann said the council did not have to formally accept Hutchins resignation. She said she could legally accept it as city clerk. “He was really a joy to work with,” Justmann said. “He brought a great balance to common council and he brought the opinion of the working man and really represented his constituents.”
Hutchins had not been in attendance at a council meeting since Oct. 2, 2017.
The city has already received interest in representing District 2 as Mike Christian called to inquire about the post. Christian has been involved in the community. He currently sits on the board for the History Center of Washington County and he’s on the Community Cable Committee. Christian also ran for mayor of West Bend in 2008 and lost to Kristine Deiss.