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Police and Fire Commission chairman to fill Ponto's former seat

Edward 'Buck' Jurken will represent District 4 until April

June 16, 2010

Edward "Buck" Jurken Jr. has lived in Brookfield for more than a quarter-century and filled a leadership role on the city's Police and Fire Commission. Those two factors made him stand out from the other candidates vying for appointment to the District 4 aldermanic seat, city officials said Monday.

The Legislative and Licensing Committee had unanimously recommended Jurken from among five applicants. The council confirmed the appointment Tuesday.

The 56-year-old Jurken will serve until a special election can be held in April so residents can pick their own successor to Steve Ponto, who vacated the post to become mayor.

The seat next comes up for regular election in 2012.

At the committee level, four out of five aldermen ranked Jurken their first choice. Alderwoman Renee Lowerr ranked him third, below applicants Cathy Wolfla, who came in second in the overall rankings, and Don Schmidt, who came in third.

J.P. Murray and Robert Perry also had applied for the position.

Variety of skills impress

Jurken's varied experience was another attribute aldermen said they admired.

Jurken resides at 2040 Erin Court, has been married for 33 years and has four adult children. He is president of The 2040 Group, a general business consulting company, and has a bachelor's degree from the Marquette University School of Business.

He participated in three of former Mayor Jeff Speaker's campaigns for office. Speaker appointed Jurken to the Police and Fire Commission eight years ago and its members elected him chairman last year. In addition, Jurken helped run the St. John Vianney festival for 10 years.

"He is highly regarded," Alderman Gary Mahkorn said.

As he was being interviewed by the panel, Jurken said he is a good listener and a capable decision-maker, necessary attributes for an alderman. He also said he has other experience - running a business, negotiating contracts and managing people - needed to serve.

"(The city) is a business, to a degree," he said.

He noted that one of the city's future challenges will be ensuring prudent redevelopment.

Other opportunities exist

The aldermen, who applauded the other candidates for applying, encouraged them to get involved as Jurken did by volunteering for a board, commission or task force.

Because Alderman Dan Sutton is the council representative on the Police and Fire Commission, Jurken will have to resign his post, which leaves an open spot.

Alderman Rick Owen said serving on a board, commission or task force is a stepping stone.

He added that he was pleased the other applicants expressed a desire to seek out other opportunities to get involved in the city.

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