At long last, John Dubinski can show his face in civil society.
Nothing to have been ashamed of. In fact, it's a pretty handsome mug he's got.
It's just that for 31½ years as a Wauwatosa police officer, many of those spent as a detective, Dubinski would not have wanted that mug plastered in the media. There was that "undercover" thing to consider.
But Dubinski retired from that role in December 2010, and as of 7:30 Tuesday night when he's sworn in again as a public servant, this time as aldermen of the 2nd District, he'll be front and center every week at City Hall.
Dubinski was of the Common Council to serve out the first year of the term won without a contest in April by Eric Meaux, who made a job move to Arizona. Aldermen make about $4,200 a year for serving on the council and committees.
Come April, Dubinski may run in a special election to finish the last three years of the term, and of course anyone may contest him then.
Bringing experience to the table
For now, though, he's been chosen as the best among five applicants who stepped forward to nominate themselves for the seat, and so will join sitting Ald. Kathleen Causier as representatives of the 2nd District.
"I thought it would be a good way to see Wauwatosa through a new set of glasses," Dubinski said. "I've looked at it from the perspective of a police officer, as a husband and father, as a homeower. This will give me another view, and hopefully I can bring some of those experiences to bear."
Ald. Pete Donegan, a member of the selection committee, said he puts a lot of value on that resume.
"I really look forward to serving with him," Donegan said. "It's always good to have someone on the council with experience in other city functions.
"All the candidates were really good, very impressive. I guess it shows something about the city when so many are willing to step forward.
Dubinski, Donegan said, "Looks like he has the right stuff – and he has the time."
Donegan, who concluded a career in business last year, said that being an effective alderman is much easier in retirement.
A man for all families
Dubinski grew up in Milwaukee and started his family in Shorewood. But, he said, "Shorewood, the east side, seemed a little too hip for me. Wauwatosa seemed like a real nice place to raise a family, and we've been here for over 30 years."
Dubinski joined the in June of 1979. Before his retirement as a detective in December of 2010, the unhip old-timer had become an expert in some of the most advanced and up-to-date investigative methods in use.
"I was specializing in internet crimes, particularly crimes against children," Dubinski said. "It's really tragic what can happen – some of that I'll always carry with me.
"I spent a lot of time in my last years talking to school groups, church groups, about technology crimes. A lot of mothers felt sort of desperate, helpless about it.
"But you can't just turn off technology. The internet is a valuable tool for education. You can't avoid it, but you can protect your children."
A district in the forefront of controversies
As 2nd District alderman, Dubinski is stepping into some of the most contentious issues in Wauwatosa's civic realm. Many residents along North 90th Street, in the eastern part of the district, are hopping mad about the disruption they will face along the route of the massive outflow pipe from .
"I'm coming in on the tail end of that," Dubinski said. "It's been approved, but I'm sure there's still much that's going to be said as it gets under way.
"I've communicated with Kathy Causier about it, and as soon as I'm sworn in, we're going to get together, and she will bring me up to speed."
"Then there's the power line project" that would terminate in the western part of his district, Dubinski said. "And that's not going to make any friends, either."
The Common Council has passed proposed by American Transmission Co. for new We Energies power lines to feed growing demand from the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and Milwaukee County Research Park.
Those users are mostly in the 3nd District, but the lines from the west would end at a substation in the 2nd and would have to get there by way of one of two paths through the 7th District – again, seemingly pitting residents most affected by the projects' construction against other residents and institutions that would benefit most from them.
In each case, Dubinski said, "Hopefully, we can find the least intrusive way to do it. It's like performing triage. What's going to be the least intrusive?"
"I wouldn't want it coming down the middle of my street," he said, speaking of the sewer line. "I understand that. But I wouldn't want the mess and expense and disruption of having my basement fill with sewage, either."
Quality of life for the whole community
"Ultimately," Dubinski said, "the No. 1 thing that attracted me to Wauwatosa was the quality of life and of the homes. We have kept that up, and we have to keep that up, and that means keeping up the infrastructure that supports it.
"I'm really proud to live in Wauwatosa, and I strive to keep Wauwatosa a proud place to live.
"Over the years, I've never seen an area become really blighted, or if it began to be, the city has moved to reverse it. I like what I'm seeing , and I'm looking forward to .
"I have concerns as well. But in 30 years, I've watched the city grow and change, and mostly in a good way. Being a homeowner, putting our kids through the schools, it's all been very good for us. This is a way to pay it back.
"I look forward to the challenge, being part of the team – of the think tank."