By Frank Lewis
With his wife of 36 years, Laura, at his side, William “Junior” Williams was sworn in as the village of New Boston’s 20th mayor Monday morning by Village Councilman Dan Fetty. Williams had been serving as acting mayor since Mayor Jim Warren became ill several months ago. Warren died last week leaving the need for an official ceremony.
“I’m excited in one way and sad in another,” Williams told the Daily Times. “It’s not the way that a person wanted to take this office. Jim and I were going to talk in the fall and see what we were going to do.”
Williams said, aside from the circumstances of his taking the oath of office, he is excited for the people of New Boston because they are putting the finishing touches on a year-long project that began with a new sewer project and has now evolved into repairs and paving of U.S. 52 (Rhodes Avenue) area of New Boston.
“We finished the sewer project – phase one and phase two,” Williams said. “It’s a $4 million project. We received $2 million in principle forgiveness loans and we ended up having to pay approximately $1.6 million at this point. There’s also a phase three that is going to be done with Glenwood Avenue and we also have the street project the state of Ohio has going on right now. It’s supposed to be finished some time in mid September. Those are things that are challenges to businesses and the public and that has brought some traffic problems but we hope to have them cleared up real soon.”
The Williamses have three children – Dustin, Amanda and Aaron. They also have seven grandchildren. Williams is employed as a superintendent for Tri-America Contractors, Inc. He has been the President Pro Tem of the New Boston Village Council budget director and Finance Committee Chairman for the last eight years.
“They (village council) are great guys,” Williams said. “We have some experienced councilmen and we have experienced employees, great employees and they’ll be fine. They’ll be fine. They’ve been great to work with. I’m sure they’re going to give me all the help I need.
Williams has also been certified by the state of Ohio to conduct Mayor’s Court for the last four years. Williams will return power to the Democratic Party after Warren, a Republican, had broken a 50 year Democratic hold on that post some 21 years ago when he was first elected.
Council will most likely announce at Tuesday night’s regular meeting that they are accepting applications for candidates to fill Williams’ unexpired term. According to the Scioto County Board of Elections, with four seats open, there are four candidates for New Boston Council on the November ballot. Running for election is Johnnie Steele, and incumbent councilmen Dan Fetty, Jon Mills, and Mike Payton. Vonald Patrick had also filed to run for village council but withdrew his name when he was named earlier this year to fill the unexpired term of Councilman Terry Salyers, who resigned his seat and then passed away. With four openings and an equal four candidates, council could simply choose to appoint Steele to finish Williams’ unexpired term, with the expectation that he will take the seat after the election — barring any write-in opposition.
The Scioto County Board of Elections said anyone wishing to be a write-in candidate for either a council position or mayor has until 4 p.m. Aug. 24 to file. If there is no write-in candidate for mayor, Williams will begin his first full-term in January of 2016.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.