In four of the last five village elections in Riverside, the candidates slated by the Riverside Community Caucus have run uncontested. Next spring’s election, which will seat three trustees, looks to be uncontested again, though that’s not a sure thing until nominating petitions are filed later this month.
Last week, the caucus announced it was slating three candidates. The ticket is headed by an incumbent trustee, Joseph Ballerine, who was elected in an unopposed race in 2011.
He is joined on the slate by Michael Sedivy, who serves as the chairman of the Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission, and Scott Lumsden, an architect and former U.S. Navy officer who came from nowhere to win caucus approval.
It was Lumsden’s experience as lieutenant commander in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, where he led procurement, construction and public works efforts, that put him over the top, said Riverside Community Caucus Chairman John Mathews.
“I think the biggest thing he brings to the table is an awful lot of government contracting and procurement experience,” Mathews said. “To our mind that was just huge with the redevelopment of Burlington Street and the [bond] money the village will receive for street repairs.
“It seemed like someone was just falling into our lap.”
Mathews said the Caucus interviewed six candidates during its slating process earlier this fall.
“It was a really good year,” said Mathews, who declined to name the three who weren’t selected. “Any one of the people we interviewed could have been slated.”
Lumsden, a resident of Riverside for 19 years, was recommended to the caucus’ nominating committee by Ballerine, who had met him while addressing traffic issues on Fairbank Road and came away impressed.
“His depth of knowledge in public works is immense,” Ballerine said.
Should no one else surface as a candidate for trustee during the filing period just prior to Christmas, Ballerine will be guaranteed re-election, which would make him the senior trustee on the village board.
Jean Sussman, who is finishing out her second term as village trustee, is not seeking election for a third term.
“She helped me immensely,” said Ballerine, noting that Sussman served as a mentor, inviting him to sit in with her on meetings with other officials about village issues. “That mentoring really helped me a lot, and I’ll miss her for that.”
Ballerine, who is the village board’s liaison to the Riverside Cable Commission, has overseen that commission’s expansion of service to the village. In addition to broadcasting village board meetings, the commission now also broadcasts meetings of the Riverside Township Board and Riverside School District 96 Board of Education.
“When you talk about open government, I don’t think there’s anywhere that’s more true than what the Cable Commission has done,” said Ballerine, who noted that videos of meetings uploaded to the commission’s YouTube page have received more than 31,000 views since July 2012.
Sedivy has been involved in Riverside government in an advisory role on and off since 2007. In that year, he chaired an ad hoc committee that evaluated the long-term financial health of the village. In subsequent years, he has served as a member of the Riverside Economic Development Commission and as the chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on advisory commissions, and I was interested in moving to more of a decision-making role,” said Sedivy, who works as vice president of Associated Bank.