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West Allis alderman adjusts to uncommon feeling

Election ends his nearly quarter-century reign on council

April 10, 2012

West Allis - After nearly a quarter of a century on the West Allis Common Council, Richard Narlock said it will take a bit of getting used to having Tuesdays off and a quiet telephone.

Narlock, one of two aldermen for District 3 for 24 years, came in third in last week's spring election. Political newcomer Michael May actually got the most votes, 1,109, followed by incumbent Gary Barczak with 1,088, officially. Narlock captured 821. Coming in fourth was Jon Keckeisen at 570.

"I did everything I could do," Narlock said this week. "I thought I'd get more support, based on my record."

But he gave May credit.

"The competition went out there and worked hard," he said. "The winner went around the district three times. I did not do that."

But he doesn't feel terribly deserted.

"After I lost, I got more calls than I ever expected," he said.

This was to be his last race, anyway, the veteran alderman said.

"It was time," he said.

A people person

Although a lot of city business got done in his 24 years, Narlock said the most rewarding part of the job was helping people with problems.

"I like to work with problems," he said.

He would rather try to solve them himself rather than turn them over to a city department, Narlock said. But if he had to do that, he always followed up to make sure the difficulty was solved.

"I like dealing with people," Narlock said.

Fair to workers

Over the years he has had to do a lot of that, serving as a union steward and union president and as chairman of the board of the Wiscor Credit Union for several years, he said.

Barczak, who was elected District 3 alderman the same year as Narlock, said, "He's a good guy, I'm going to miss him a lot."

The two biggest concerns his colleague has had were that city workers be treated fairly and that the city redevelop after big industry collapsed, Barczak said.

"Dick had a union background so he's coming from a Democratic view," Barczak said. "He always had city workers in his mind."

Also, "He was extremely supportive of development in the city," and supported special tax districts that help development along, Barczak said.

And not many people know that Narlock is very personable, he said.

"He'll put a smile on your face," he said.

Disagreements aside

Alderman Vince Vitale who also was a part of that "class of 1988," said, "Dick was a well-respected man all the way around."

"It has been a pleasure and honor to work with Richard Narlock," said Vitale, who acknowledged that even though he didn't always agree with his friend, the council was stronger for having differing opinions.

Alderman James Sengstock, who has served since 1972 and is the current council's president, said, "Dick was truly committed to the city."

"His decisions were thought out very thoroughly," Sengstock said. "Dick asked good questions and the staff provided the information."

"Everything he did, he did 100 percent," Sengstock said.

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