LATEST:A look inside the lives of council, board members - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

LATEST:A look inside the lives of council, board members

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by Meg Bonacorsi

MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -- The paperwork is now in for those who plan on running for city councils or county boards across the state.  So the question now is, what's in store for the future leaders?

Roger Otto served on the Wausau City Council for 19 years; he was council president for 16 of them.

"I almost lived at the city hall," he says with a grin.

But there's obviously a reason he spent nearly 2 decades committed to the council.

Otto says, "The greatest reward about being an alderman or alder person is when you can help people."

However Otto admits, it can also be tough, "It's kind of a thankless job so if someone has a problem and calls their alder person and they take care of the problem, give them a thank you. That's appreciated."

Kelly Michaels served nearly 6 years on the Marathon County Board and has some advice for those throwing their hat into the ring.

She says, "The most important thing to know when you're an elected official is there's just no way you're going to please 100% of the people.  Someone is going to be unhappy with your decision."

Michaels says elected officials spend hours doing research and talking with their constituents. 

"You have to do your homework and study the issue, learn about the district and what the needs are in your district.  Find out about the people you're representing, what they're opinions are."

And Otto says current leaders face much different issues than he had to over 20 years ago. 

"It's a whole different ball game as far as the funding and budgets so you just go out and do the best you can and hope people realize you've done the best you can."

Michaels says the workload typically gets heavier the longer you serve because you typically end up on more committees. It also depends on what issues are going on at a particular time. 

Depending on how many people are running, some counties may need to hold primaries in February.  And then the general election is in April.

Online Reporter: Meg Bonacorsi

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