An account manager for a Waukesha printing company has announced his candidacy for mayor of Wauwatosa.
John Pokrandt has lived here with his family for 11 years. He has a wife and two children, a 5-year-old son who attends Washington Elementary School and a 3-year-old daughter who, he said, "just missed the K4 cutoff."
Pokrandt has never held public office but believes his background in sales and marketing would serve him well in office.
"It is with great enthusiasm that today I announce my intention to run for Mayor of Wauwatosa," Pokrandt said in his announcement Monday. "I have decided to run because I believe that Wauwatosa deserves a passionate and engaged leader. I want to return Wauwatosa to its history of sensible, good governance.
"I will be a tireless advocate for the city whether it’s on economic development issues, public safety or community planning. As mayor, I will be accessible and work towards a more open and transparent city government."
Pokrandt works for City Press printing in Waukesha as an account manager and already has a flexible work schedule, he said in an interview. He said he would be able to give the office of mayor all the time it needs and deserves.
"I have an office, but I'm on the road a lot," he said. "I'll probably end up managing my accounts on the side and working as an independent contractor.
"My wife has a job, too, so that helps."
The mayor's office, up for election in April, pays a salary of $22,500 a year that has not been raised since 1984. In January 2010, a proposal was made to , but that was tabled until this past July because the salary cannot be raised at all during a sitting mayor's term.
A proposal that went to the Common Council in September to , despite the worries of supporters who felt the part-time pay was not enough to attract qualified candidates unless they were independently wealthy or supported by someone else.
"Nobody takes on the enterprise for the money," Pokrandt said.
Mayor Jill Didier's supporters have held at least two fundraisers on her behalf, but she has not declared her intention to run for re-election next year, nor any intention not to.
Didier also came to city government with a marketing background and to the mayor's office with limited experience. She completed only half a term as a 4th District alderman, her first elected office, before running for and winning the mayor's seat.
Pokrandt said that while there were a number of issues on which the mayor's position should show greater strength, the main driver in his candidacy was visibility and openness.
"I think that the biggest thing is that the mayor hasn't been visible," he said. "The mayor is supposed to be the spokesman for the city, a cheerleader for the city.
"The mayor should be the face of Wauwatosa and be out there in the community."
Pokrandt has created a website for his campaign, on which he lists his top priorities for governing:
- Focus on economic development
- Work with the chief of police to evaluate policing strategies and increase patrols in “trouble spots”
- Take a long-term view of budgeting and infrastructure planning. I believe that city services, public safety, schools and infrastructure define the quality of a community.
- Work to implement and fund Wauwatosa’s master plans for the Village and North Avenue
- Oppose Waukesha’s attempts to return treated water to Underwood Creek instead of building a pipeline back to Lake Michigan (putting us at risk for more flooding)
- Be an engaged, focused and dedicated leader who will work to move Wauwatosa forward.