Leader Blues

Monday, August 06, 2007

TOP STORY >>New mayor hard at work

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Finishing up her first week in office, Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman simply said it was busy. Even though she was the city clerk for six years, she said she still didn’t have a complete picture of the mayor’s job. “It’s bigger and broader over here,” the new mayor said.

The mayor, 43, who garnered 2,646 votes, or 64.4 percent, against interim Mayor Bill Harmon, who received 1,461 votes, or 35.6 percent in Tuesday’s runoff election, said her first few days have been very positive.

“I’ve attended a chamber meeting and have met with a number of the aldermen, and it’s all been very positive and upbeat,” she said.

Alderman Butch Davis said Hillman was very helpful to him when she was city clerk and expects her and the council to work well together. “Her job is to administrate and our job is to legislate, and yes, the two can co-exist.”

Davis expects some disagreements with Hillman. “I had them with Mayor Harmon and won a few and lost a few, but we were always able to shake hands afterwards.” He expects to do the same with Hillman.

Alderman David Henry said Hillman “was pretty sharp.”

“Everything will be all right. There’ll be no problems,” he said.

On Monday, she’ll attended the monthly senior citizens’ luncheon as she has for years, but this will be the first time as the mayor.

“It’ll be fun,” she said.

Hillman will finish out the remaining 41 months of Mayor Dan Stedman’s term. Stedman was elected last November, took office in January, but resigned in April due to health issues.

Former Mayor Bill Harmon, who didn’t run in the November election, opting for retirement instead, was appointed interim mayor a week after Stedman re-signed and then decided to make another run for the position.

Hillman and Harmon were the top vote-getters out of a five-candidate field in a July 10 special election.

Since neither Hillman nor Harmon received more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff was scheduled, and on Tuesday Hillman beat Harmon.

After the runoff election, Sherwood resident Julann Carney, who is active in city affairs, said, “Virginia Hillman is a common person with uncommon values.  I believe that due to her 21 years as a city employee that she brings in a vast breadth of knowledge to the office.  She has an outstanding reputation for unimpeachable character and integrity.”

Carney added, “I hope that the city council will work with Mayor Hillman much better than they worked with Mayor Stedman. The people of Sherwood have given her a mandate, and the city council needs to remember that when they convene again.”