Running on a campaign slogan of "A Time To Work Together," Joel Skornicka forged a coalition of "name" Democrats and business leaders that carried him to a narrow victory over James Rowen in Tuesday's nonpartisan mayoral election here.

The final vote was Skornicka, 31,202; Towen 30,184.

Formely an assistant chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Skornicka, 42, described himself as an open-minded moderate who listened to everyone, including the conservative businessmen who were at odds with Mayor Paul Soglin during his six years in office.

Rowen, 33, promised to "provide the strongest continuity" to the Soglin years. Rowen, whose father-in-law is Sen. George McGovern (D-D.D.), resigned as Soglin's principal aide to mount a campaign.

Soglin had announced in December 1977 that he would not run for a fourth mayoral term.

Skornicka and Rowen were making their first bids for elective office. A virtual political unknown last fall, Skornicka ran a well-financed media campaign managed by James Wood, who guided U.S. ambassador to Mexico Patrick Lucey's successful 1974 campaign for governor of Wisconsin.

Skornicka said Madison voters were "looking for a new face as we face the problems of the 80s

The mayor-elect carried 14 of thec ity's 22 aldermanic districts. Rowen won the central city and benefited from an unusually large turnout in the four so-called "student districts" located near or on the University of Wisconsin Campus. Rowen's total of 8,792 votes in those four districts was the hightest in a mavoral election here since Soglin turned out a huge student plurality that was the key to his upset victory in 1973 over incumbent William Dyke.

However, the vote in Tuesday's election was about 14,000 less than in the 1977 mayoral final, when Soglin crushed conservative challenger Anthony Amato.