OAK CREEK - When Mayor Steve Scaffidi announced his resignation Feb. 21, he made history, leaving the city with a choice it isn't accustomed to making.
Scaffidi is the first mayor in Oak Creek’s history of nine mayors to resign from his office mid-term, City Clerk Catherine Roeske said this week.
He is leaving his position officially March 3 to co-host a mid-afternoon radio show, “Scaffidi and Bilstad,” with Erik Bilstad on WTMJ-AM 620. The program will focus on big news, politics and sports stories. It premiered Feb. 28.
With his resignation, the council now has a rare choice to make on how to fill his mayoral seat, with talks expected to begin at the March 7 common council meeting.
“The council must appoint someone to fill the vacancy,” Roeske said. “In addition to the appointment, the council also has the option of ordering the November special election.”
The council could also determine its own procedure to nominate candidates and select someone to fill the vacancy, Roeske added.
Until an appointment is made, Alderman Ken Gehl, the common council president, will serve as acting mayor. Gehl is up for re-election as alderman in the spring election this April, and is running unopposed.
Roeske said the mayoral situation doesn’t impact the April 4 election. The ballot of candidates will remain the same, regardless of what the council decides next week.
Oak Creek is not completely unfamiliar with filling a vacant mayoral seat. Dick Bolender died in December 2011 just prior to the end of his third mayoral term. In that case, the council chose to appoint Allen Foeckler as mayor until the April 2012 election, when Scaffidi was elected.
Coincidentally, Bolender was recently honored with the Drexel Town Square plaza named in his honor as the Richard Bolender Plaza.
Scaffidi announced in September 2016 he didn't plan to run for the mayoral seat again in April 2018. The decision was unrelated to his current reason for stepping down. He said he was approached in January to do the radio show and decided it was the "right time to pursue it."
Scaffidi is also leaving his position as account executive at Leonard and Finco Public Relations to do the show.