Where do you live? Wind Point
How long have you lived there? 2 years
Spouse or partner’s name? N/A
If you have children, please include their ages: N/A
What is your current profession? Retired
What position are you applying for? President, Village of Wind Point
What motivated you to seek out this seat? I really want everyone to understand that there are really two parts to this answer. First, what caught my attention about Wind Point governance. Secondly, what did I think I could contribute to Wind Point. During the Fall of 2019 I was going door to door in Wind Point collecting petition signatures. At almost every door people wanted to talk. Everybody had a story and everybody wanted to tell their story. Now the stories were different, but they all had the same theme. Everybody had a story about how the village did not listen to them. This was not one family or one story. This was multiple families and multiple stories. After a number of these stories, I was touched. I was amazed. I thought why does the board not listen? What is so hard about listening? I could listen. We then took our signed petitions to the Wind Point Village Board. Over 400 citizens had signed the petition; that is a considerable percentage of the population in a tiny village like ours. The Wind Point Village Board completely rejected the petition. They completely dismissed us and I got to experience what the other citizens were telling me. They do not listen. This sparked my interest in village governance.
Why do you think you are a good candidate for the job? I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology and over 40 years of human service and public service accomplishments. In all of my professional positions I was the trend setter, the problem solver, and one who got things done. I have always been a positive influence in every setting I’ve been in. However, it was not an easy decision to come out of retirement and to run for public office for the first time in my life. I had to ponder long and hard about what a candidacy would mean. It is not just about saving Deepwood; it’s about serving all of the people during all of the seasons, all of the time. I believe that I can be a positive influence on village life. I will listen. I will focus on quality of life and public service. I have no agenda but to serve the citizens and the village. It is ironic that a series of very trying events lead to this decision. However, I am not running just because of the negatives. That’s not me. I am running to seek out all of the positives and build on the foundations of this wonderful village. I am very blessed to have good mental and physical health, even though I am of retirement age. I still ride my bicycle around the village; just ask around. And if it were not for the pandemic, I would be walking door to door and asking for your input.
Name three things you would like to see change with how things are being done?
I hear many complaints about the current board. There are complaints about the board just going their own way and ignoring the citizens. There are complaints about cutting down five acres of heavily wooded forest. There are complaints about appointing old time friends to vacant board positions. There are complaints about meetings that seem mysterious and disjointed. I want to set a positive tone. I want to be a straight-talking bridge from the board to the citizens. However, we live in paradise. And I want to continue our quality of life, our natural beauty, our friendliness, our security, and our public services. And I will work hard to improve on anything I can. I am opposed to cutting down the Deepwood forest. I have spoken publicly about my opposition to cramming 40 condos on to the small school house property.
What resources would you need to have to accomplish that?
If you visit my website www.johnpolodna.com I spend some time talking about partnerships. In my professional life I was involved in some very beneficial partnerships including private businesses, non-profits, state and county government. The Village of Wind Point is a very desirable partner for others, and we already have some good partnerships. We have great geography and so much natural beauty. We already have great relationships with the Community Club, the Garden Club and the Wind Point Living magazine. We have nationally and internationally recognized organizations here. We already have partnerships with the city of Racine and the village of North Bay. And we have a concentration of talent that is probably second to none in the state of Wisconsin. I will work to build on what we have for the benefit of all our citizens.
What would success look like and how would you measure that success? To me success would be measured from citizen to citizen. It would be measured from employee to employee. It would be measured from partner to partner. Does everyone feel they arelistened to and respected? Do they feel they have a better quality of life? Do they feel they are receiving great public service from their President? Job One for any municipal employee is to make sure that the local government operates smoothly. No matter what big picture one might have, the snow must be plowed, and the garbage must be picked up in a timely and sanitary fashion. We have at least two opinion surveys from Wind Point residents. I would use them as a beginning point to delve into wants and needs of our citizens.
How would you seek buy-in from either the community and/or your colleagues to accomplish those tasks?
This question encapsulates most of my adult professional life. This question causes so many hundreds of memories to come flooding back; this is a book length topic. If you are promoting a good cause in an honest manner, most people will buy-in. Now, in 2021 everyone knows that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition which usually happens in the Winter when a person receives less sunlight and as a result becomes depressed. However, in the mid-1980s very few people knew that SAD even existed. I had a client with SAD, however, needed to get approval to begin light therapy. I had to go to meeting after meeting and present scientific information about SAD just to educate the administration that there was such a condition. After a lot of patience and a lot of persistence I got the approval. In the early 2000s my back yard was on a busy county highway and I wanted to build a berm between my yard and the road. Onceagain I took a reasonable and systematic approach to work with Racine County and a private contractor to build a 200 foot berm that was six feet high, that met all drainage and other requirements. I could point to many other examples. However, I guess people appreciate honesty, good-will, reasonableness and hard work. Each situation calls for a little different mix of positive attributes.
What characteristics do you bring to the table to accomplish those tasks?
I don’t find it easy to brag about myself, however, I have been blessed with an ability to adapt my skills to a variety of tasks. As I said before, I had to ponder before deciding to run for Village President. I decided that I would dedicate two years of my life to hard work, just like any other full time job. Next, I thought that my skill set, personality, and dedication would be a good fit for Wind Point at this time. I’ve had a number of situations where people say, well he’s too short, or he’s too skinny, or he’s too nice to really be taken seriously. However, people like working with me. I have always had a group of people rally around me and together we got things done. I would encourage you to go to my website www.johnpolodna.com and decide for yourself. As a young person growing up one of my heroes was Frank Lloyd Wright. He was a hero for me, not because I was a great student of architecture, nor because he was another Wisconsin boy who made it big. He was a hero of mine because he was productive into his 90s. Some experts claim that he did his best work after he was 60. I don’t know why that would appeal to me as a young guy; but now here I am, no longer a young guy, volunteering to be productive for the citizens of Wind Point.
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