Volunteer and former webmaster Joyce Tikalsky will fill the City of Stoughton’s vacant District 1 Common Council seat, effective immediately.
At the Tuesday, Oct. 13, council meeting, alders approved Tikalsky’s appointment 7-4 for the seat, which was vacated early by Timothy Riley on Sept. 1.
Tikalsky won the seat against project manager and small business owner Rachel Venegas. Alds. Regina Hirsch (Dist. 3), Tom Majewski (D-3), Ozzie Doom (D-4) and Greg Jenson (D-3) voted for Vengas. Each alder said it was a difficult decision between the two.
“The city would be served by either one of these women, so it is a tough decision,” Ald. Lisa Reeves (D-2) said.
The district covers constituents in the northeast corner of the city; east of Lincoln Avenue and west of the railroad tracks parallel to Johnson Street. She will fill the seat until a special election is held, likely in April.
The applicants submitted written answers to four questions the council routinely poses when it has to fill a vacancy. The applicants then appeared before the council Tuesday to go over their responses and answer additional questions.
Applicants were asked to describe their background and any experience that qualifies them to serve and identify the most important issues facing the city.
In interview questions, Tikalsky said the three most pressing issues to Stoughton are the pandemic, reduction of carbon admissions and diversity training.
She was previously the senior information processing consultant/webmaster, for the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering for 15 years.
She has volunteered at the Stoughton Area Senior Center, Eyes of Hope and on the Syttende Mai Committee. In May, she wrote a plan and proposal to support changes to the 2020 special assessment and in 1995 served on the Communications Commission to write code for the city’s first website, according to her resume.
Traditionally, the oath of office would be taken after the appointment and the alder would take a seat with other council members; however, because of COVID Tikalsky is expected to take the oath in person at a later date.
After Riley vacated the seat under two years into his three-year term, the council had four options on how to fill the vacancy: Appoint someone, leave it vacant for the remainder of the term or hold a special election.
Riley previously told the Hub the serving no “longer gave him joy” when speaking about why he chose to leave the council. Riley was in the Public Safety Committee and Parks and Recreation Department committees.