Danville’s Four Mayoral Candidates Present Cases For Fighting Crime, Boosting Economy

The Vermilion River, running through Danville.

A view of the Vermilion River in Danville.

City of Danville

Danville voters will elect a mayor from a field of four candidates in Tuesday’s election. It could be Acting Mayor Rickey Williams, Jr., who was appointed to the post last October, when longtime mayor Scott Eisenhauer resigned to become Rantoul’s village administrator. Or it could be one of three challengers: Donald Crews, Steve Nichols or James McMahon.

Acting Mayor Williams says if elected to a full term, he’ll focus on public safety, neighborhoods and infrastructure and economic development if elected to a full term. Williams is the executive director of the non-profit Project Success. He was a Danville alderman prior to his appointment in October as acting mayor. Williams previously ran for mayor in 2011, finishing in 3rd place. Running on a theme of “Stewardship and Respect”, Williams says as mayor he would revive the police department’s Problem-Oriented Policing Unit to target violent and drug-related crimes in high-crime areas, focus on improving city infrastructure, work to strengthen and expand neighborhood associations and watch groups, and promote business incentives and job training programs to boost Danville’s economy.

Donald Crews, a city safety inspector and former Champaign County juvenile probation office, says his background in criminal justice and law enforcement will help in fighting violent crime in Danville. He calls for putting a freeze on local taxes and fees while seeking new sources of revenue for the city. Crews calls for a reduction in the amount of subsidized housing in the city, and creation of a Criminal Housing Management Task Force to go after bad landlords.

Alderman Steve Nichols says his business experience in restaurant management will help him restore confidence in city government. He says he would institute zero-based budgeting to make city government more cost-effective, make sure city policies enable rather than hinder business growth, and work to bridge what he calls the “trust gap” in improving police-community relations and fighting crime.

And former Vermilion County Board Chairman James McMahon says he would “tighten the belt” on city spending and work to bring new business to Danville.  McMahon says he would fight violent crime in Danville by promoting education and opportunities for those who want to “get out of the world of violence and drugs”, while stepping up good police practices to crack down on criminal activity. McMahon ran for mayor in 2011 and 2015, finishing in second place behind Scott Eisenhauer in both elections.

All four candidates say they have the mix of government and private sector experience needed to help Danville improve city finances, fight violent crime and attract new business and jobs.

The four candidates are running after Danville voters defeated a referendum that would have made the mayor’s job a largely non-administrative one with a reduced salary, under a council-manager government. Believing that voters might approve the referendum, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer resigned last fall to work for Rantoul’s village government. Eisenhauer’s resignation after four terms in office --- and voters’ rejection of the referendum --- opened the door for the four candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

Story source: WILL