Amy Sasse, 42, selected from field of five hopefuls

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

A three-year resident with leadership experience in the hospitality industry has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Union Grove Village Board.

The six incumbent members of the local elected body named Amy Sasse, 42, to the position that resident Ryan Johnson relinquished at the end of the year because of an increased professional workload. Sasse was one of five residents vying for the position.

The Village Board on Jan. 18 interviewed each of the residents in 15-minute intervals. A range of questions were asked, including the reasons for seeking appointment, professional experience, perceived strengths and weaknesses within the village and views on economic development and growth within the community.

In the end, Sasse edged out hopefuls Robin Carroll, Eugene Faust, Kristine Faust and Stephanie Kurt for the vacancy.

Through a balloting process, four of the six seated board members recommended Sasse to the post. Trustees Adam Graf, Peter Hansen, Gordon Svendsen and Jan Winget cast support for Sasse, while Village President Mike Aimone and Trustee Chris Gallagher recommended Carroll.

At the conclusion of the interviews, Aimone said he was impressed by the number of residents who expressed interest in appointment for Johnson’s vacated seat, which expires in April 2022.

“I’m blown away,” Aimone said. “It is just incredible to see the level of excitement.”

During her interview, Sasse touched on her role as manager of Benchmark Hospitality and said her leadership philosophy could be an asset on the Village Board.

“I’m interested in being on the board because I really thrive on being engaged,” Sasse said. “The more engaged I am in an organization or committee, it motivates me.”

While she shared her views on a number of issues interwoven with municipal government, Sasse said she threw her hat into the ring with an open mind.

“This is not about my agenda,” she said. “It’s really about me serving the community. That’s where I see my responsibility as a trustee. It is about listening — it’s not about me telling people what to do.”

Although she is still a relative newcomer to Union Grove, Sasse grew up in Racine County. While getting her arms around the responsibilities of trustee, Sasse said she spoke with residents within the community and gained a deeper understanding of what she believes is one of the village’s attributes.

“I think the strength of the village is the number of long-term residents,” she said. “I believe that makes people very vocal about what they want into the community. They are people who have built their whole lives here.”

On the topics of economic development and growth, Sasse said she believes there are a number of ways to gauge the metric — not necessarily by adding parcels or expanding the municipal footprint.

“I see it as better quality. If it’s about better housing, that’s huge,” she said. “If it means less empty storefronts on Main Street, that’s growth. If people are coming to village meetings and being engaged, that could be a measurement of success, too.”