Alderwoman Linda Lubotsky took initial steps to run for mayor of Greenfield this week, filing papers Tuesday to challenge incumbent Michael Neitzke.
Two days later, however, Lubotsky withdrew her name from the race.
Had she stayed in, things would have gotten interesting, at least based on comments she made about Neitzke, who announced earlier this month he would be running for a third term in April.
Lubotsky told Greenfield Patch via email she was offered a part-time job with a law office in New Berlin on Wednesday, a position she said she applied for a few weeks ago.
“For a (part-time), job they will pay me over half what I'd make as mayor,” Lubotsky said. “I truly believe things happen for a reason. Mike will be happy I'm sure. He gets (to be) mayor another four years, only on default.
“I have no doubt in my mind if I didn't except (sic) this position, I would have beat Mike.”
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Candidates can still file papers through 5 p.m. Jan. 2. City Clerk Jennifer Goergen said Lubotsky could re-enter the race if she wants.
The popular pick?
In her email to Patch, Lubotsky said she had the backing of other elected officials, including unspecified county supervisors and mayors of other municipalities, as well as “people in Madison,” Greenfield business owners and many residents “that really wanted me to be mayor of this city.”
“The question on everyone's mind is can we really afford four more years of Mike being mayor?” she asked.
Lubotsky blasted Neitzke for accepting “a 4.5 percent raise” as part of a resolution that included a bump in mileage and expense allowances for the mayor and alderpersons. The Common Council passed the resolution Tuesday; Lubotsky voted against it.
“I gave back my $600 raise as I cannot accept a raise during these tough economic times,” Lubotsky said. “I urged the other (elected officials) to make the same sacrifices that our residents are enduring: no raises, job loss, working fewer hours … I would not have accepted more money as mayor on the taxpayers’ dime; they barely have a dime left.”
Effective April 17, 2013, the city’s mayor will make $77,969, with an additional $6,000 in stipends for expenses and auto allowance.
Neitzke called Lubotsky’s concern about tough economic times ironic. He said when he, the city attorney, the fire chief and the police chief took voluntary unpaid furlough days in recent years, she did not.
“Her commitment to the taxpayer was nowhere to be found,” Neitzke said.
“She is absolutely correct about tough economic times. As for what the mayor, whether it is me, or anyone else, will make, staff has put together a resolution and pay scale like they have before every mayoral election. There was no input from me in any way shape or form. I think the (human resources) director would say that under oath, but you’d have to ask him."
Mobility vs. accessibility
The District 1 alderwoman, who ran unopposed for her second term beginning in 2011, also attacked how Neitzke performs his day-to-day duties.
“We, the people of (Greenfield), pay for a full-time mayor, yet when a resident goes to City Hall to speak with our mayor, he's never there,” Lubotsky wrote. “Maybe he should do the job he's paid to do and have office hours not stay home and babysit his kids. Every other mayor is in City Hall that I know.”
Neitzke, who along with his wife has two school-aged children, said he does make sure his children get on the school bus in the morning, and defended his availability.
“I’m always moving, in meetings, on the phone, on the computer — there’s never a shortage of obligations, problems, commitments, discussions, changes," Neitzke said. "I’d rather see and be part of what actually is happening first-hand. With technology today, anyone, anytime, can get a hold of me, and they do.”
Lubotsky said she serves as an alderwoman to make Greenfield “a better place to live and work and raise a family, not for the money.” She said she’s made the city safer by pushing for locked doors at Glenwood Elementary School and helping pass the city’s sexual offender ordinance.
“What feathers has Mike put in his hat?” Lubotsky wrote. “Raise taxes, pushing people right out the front door of their homes, cut public safety, less cops on the streets … our city is full of crime and it's only getting worse daily.”
During Neitzke’s eight years as mayor, the city built a new law enforcement center, turned the old police station into a library and converted the library into a community center.
“I have no doubt that Lubotsky believes that everything positive that has happened in the city is her doing, and everything negative mine,” Neitzke said. “I, along with a whole bunch of others, just keep plugging along trying to make Greenfield a better place. If at the end of the day, the city is a better place, I don’t care who gets the credit.
“Lubotsky has her opinions of me, of others, of the world. It’s clear I’m not going to change them.”