As it was this time last year, the Village of Ferrelview is about to be shaken up again. The election of three trustees who are all vocal opponents of the sitting board of trustees chair, Theresa Wilson, are poised to change the political landscape.
With three seats open on the board of trustees, appointed incumbent Phil Gilliam along with John Rydholm and Lydia Whorton have won. Of the six candidates on the ballot Gilliam earned the top spot with 66 votes; Rydholm, 62 votes; Whorton, 61 votes; Wesley Lowther, 27 votes; Karla Hill, 23 votes; Melvin Rhodes, 21 votes. Three write-in votes were also recorded from two candidates that registered for the election — James and Vicky Meyer.
“I would like to thank the citizens of Ferrelview for coming out and voting in this election,” Gilliam said after the victory. “On behalf of myself, Lydia Wharton and John Rydholm, we look forward to making positive changes in the village, and encourage all residents to bring us their concerns so that we can try to move forward and help our community thrive once more. It means a great deal to all of us to win, and means that we can work towards making our town safe again, and that the citizens are not willing to accept corruption and abuse by board members. This is a massive win for common sense. And we thank the entire village for the support, and the landslide victory.”
Gilliam, Rydholm and Whorton advertised their candidacies with an election slogan of “because common sense matters.”
Those signs in the days leading up to the election were stolen/and or cut into pieces. Gilliam confirmed the authorities were called in regard to that situation.
John Rydholm, 37, is married with children and works as a correctional officer.
“Together with my peers, we hope to instill some common sense and actual leadership which will effect positive change in our home and make it a much safer, cleaner, pleasant place to live and visit,” Rydholm said.
With experience in customer service, security work and a criminal justice education, Rydholm said he feels he would be a trustworthy trustee.
“Since the current chair and board took office, I have seen public meetings at city hall degrade from civil discourse over relevant matters to angry blows,” Rydholm said. “There are speeding cars around our children, litter, the smell of drugs and many other issues which need to be addressed. Ferrelview has become the negative topic of numerous TV and newspaper articles.”
He said he wants to bring a functioning police force back to the village, keep meetings orderly and open and discuss a reasonable budget. He also hopes to bring back the village’s municipal court.
“The very apparent conflict of interest and violation of Sunshine Laws need to stop immediately,” he said. “Change will not happen unless our citizens vote to make it happen. My family wants to work with everyone else here to make Ferrelview a better place.”
Gilliam, 42, is married and works as a systems administrator. He was appointed to the board last year following the April election and has seen many things in that time.
“I have no personal agenda to impose on the residents,” Gilliam said. “My only goal is to make our home a safe and less newsworthy one, where the right things are done, not things that serve only myself as we have seen over the past year from the current controlling board.”
Gilliam said he is concerned the village will not survive another year without a change of direction. Like Rydholm, Gilliam said he wants to reconstitute a functioning village police force, and transfer the municipal court to the county level. The village’s current funding problems will require out of the box thinking to correct, he said.
He also said residents are afraid to voice their concerns, due to the actions of the current board leadership. The appointment of a new board chair would help to change the atmosphere.
“My plans for the city are to work to fix the things that have gone so wrong over the past year,” Gilliam said. “One major thing is to educate members of the board that they are not all powerful, that they do not get to have a single voice and decide on their own how things will be done.”
Whorton, 34, is married with five children and works at a local convenience store. She said she has a long background in customer service and customer relations, which would help her to serve the village.
“I will serve my position and my duty to this village by being thorough in the responsibility I am tasked with,” Whorton said. “The basic work ethic that has always made me successful is what qualifies me to fill this position.”
She said as a mother and member of the community, she wants to restore quality of life to Ferrelview.
“I am proud of this community,” she said. “I have family here. I have a real feeling of more than a small town here. It really is a village. I want our village to have the basics of safe streets, open and honest administration, streets and water services that are taken care of and operated with professionalism and accuracy.”
As with her running mates, Whorton hopes to return a police presence to the community and clean up the “open corruption and mismanagement of our village.”