Joseph A Ballerine

Home: Riverside

Age: 52

Profession: Owner J.Anthony Designs Interior Design

Community / Political experience: Over the past decade, I have served our Village in many different forms:  as a Village Trustee (filling the unexpired term of Robert Opelia); Parks and Recreation Board member and Chairman; Treasurer of Riverside Little League; founding member of Riverside Friends of the Fourth; and a leader of the latest referendum initiative to protect the sanctity of our Parks and Recreation Board.

I have also been involved with the Riverside Presbyterian Church as an Elder and Deacon, and has been a youth leader on two mission trips. I have also coached boys and girls baseball and softball teams in Riverside and North Riverside.

Other / Professional experience: N/A

Education: Western Illinois University BA Business Administration

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: Financial – Our Village, as many in our State, has many obstacles to overcome as we compete for a limited amount of tax dollars with other taxing bodies.  We must work together through open, honest, and transparent communication with our residents, employees, vendors, and school districts to take advantage of all cost saving options available.  A vibrant business district is imperative for Riverside to continue to grow and attract new families and the Village Board must be in tune with the business community to foster this growth.

Safety – Our Police and Fire are given the tools and support they need to continue to keep our residents safe.  Our town is blessed by having dedicated, highly motivated Police/Fire personnel and I will continue to support their efforts.

Respectful Government – My pledge to do my best to foster an environment that promotes open, honest, and respectful debate where residents and business owners alike are encouraged to be a part of the discussion.  This is truly the only way we will, as a team, face the issues that we will encounter over the next several years. The views of our residents are important and should be heard and respected.  I am proud of the passion of our residents, a passion that should be fostered and not wasted.


Ben Sells

Age: 56

Profession: Self-employed. Owner/operator of Fairwind Sail Charters.

Community / Political experience: Ran for District 96 School Board in 2005 and served on the Blythe Park PTA and Village of Riverside Preservation Commission before being elected Riverside Village Trustee in 2007; co-founded Riverside Springs Ahead Community Workdays; founding member of Riverside Friends of the Fourth and Riverside Community Events Council; co-leader of Village-wide referendum drive to save the Riverside Parks and Recreation Board.

Other / Professional experience: Former practicing attorney and psychotherapist.

Education: B.A. in history from University of North Carolina at Greensboro; M.A. in religious studies and philosophical psychology from Southern Methodist University; J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law; U.S. Coast Guard Master License

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: We need a positive vision for Riverside’s future that ensures our Village remains attractive to new and old residents alike. This means providing high quality and cost effective services, well-maintained public facilities and infrastructure, vibrant recreational opportunities, and keeping our Village true to its historic legacy of beauty and innovation.

The current practice of spending savings and compiling debt with no plan for the future cannot continue – simply reacting to things as they come up is not leadership. Riverside is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the returning economy and we need leaders who believe Riverside’s best days lie ahead. We need to invest in our Village, encourage our already strong commitment to volunteerism, and support and promote our local businesses.

Riverside has a long and proud heritage and an involved, talented citizenry ready to extend that heritage into the 21st century. We have an active business community, a Village staff for whom Riverside is more than a job, and volunteers ready to roll up their sleeves. Working together there is little we cannot accomplish. Now is the time to begin making a better tomorrow for our Village.


Jean Sussman

Age: 59

Profession: Economist:  I worked in both the private and public sectors as an applied economist.  My work included managing agricultural commodity procurement and pricing for large corporations,  forecasting and financial analysis, strategic planning, and working with small farmers in Central America.

Community / Political experience:
Most recent:
Current Trustee, Village of Riverside
Former Chair and Commissioner, Riverside Zoning Board of Appeals
Former Commissioner, Riverside Plan Commission
One of the founders of RAW  — Riverside Arts Weekend
Member of Board of Directors and past co-President, Rauner Family YMCA (Chicago Pilsen neighborhood)
Volunteer, Court Appointed Special Advocates (Cook County)
Member, Riverside Branch of AAUW”

Other / Professional experience: social worker

Education: Ph.D.: Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Minnesota
M.A.: University of Texas, Latin American Studies
B.A.: University of Michigan, Latin American Studies

List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: We are fortunate to live in an extraordinary community.  Our residents are committed to our heritage, to embracing the future, and to living in a Village where people work together to provide a vibrant community for current residents and future generations.

Fiscal:  We need to increase public participation in the budget process.  Ultimately, tough budget decisions must be made with resident input.  To do this, our budget must reflect the Board of Trustee’s policy commitments so that residents can have an accurate understanding of our financial future. 

Advocacy for the arts:  Our Village is a living museum of architecture and landscape design.  Moreover, residents of all ages are engaged broadly in the arts – from painting to music to theater to architecture and landscape design.  The Board of Trustees should work with our arts-based organizations both to promote public awareness of the arts in Riverside, and to promote our community through supporting the arts.