BELLEVILLE — As the votes were counted Tuesday night, the trend for independents leading incumbents stayed strong.
Candidates running under the Unified Independent Coalition of All of Belleville party and independents defeated members of the Belleville Good Government Party for the seats of clerk, treasurer and four aldermanic positions.
Both the city clerk and city treasurer seats were unseated by independents. Linda Fields has been city clerk since 1997.
Independent Dean Hardt took the treasurer seat from incumbent Jerry Turner with 59.04 percent of the vote.
Dallas Cook, the independent, received 52.58 percent of the vote, or 3,328 of the votes.
Results are unofficial and include absentee votes.
"I think this just shows that the city was more informed than people really understood and people are ready for a change, ready for balance, and it shows. People are ready to end this one party rule," said Dallas Cook. Cook is the son of Rodger Cook, former Belleville mayor and the candidate for the 2012 GOP primary for the 12th Congressional District. "We are now going to have balance in Belleville. We took a lot of seats in the council and we have a lot of great people in there and will make decisions that are right for Belleville."
Mayor Mark Eckert does not believe either man is experienced enough for the positions.
"I think losing Linda Fields is an absolute shame," Eckert said. "The lady has been trained in and learned every clerk job there. It's sad to lose someone of that caliber."
Cook is young and has no leadership experience, Eckert said.
"He has little to no idea what he's getting himself into," Eckert said.
Eckert said the same is true for Hardt, the new city treasurer.
"These things really concern me," Eckert said. "It's going to be a challenge. It's not my responsibility to tell them how to run that office or to train them. I don't pretend to know all the ins and outs of all of those offices."
Only 21 percent of the voting population cast their votes Tuesday but the results didn't surprise Cook.
"I personally talked to 750 to 1,000 citizens and I didn't find one that wasn't supportive of change," he added. "Although the turnout isn't what I had hoped for, I think it's enough to make the changes we hope for. I'm very excited for the future, I'm excited for the future of the city, for the future of the county and it's time to clean things up, it's time for balance and transparency in Belleville."
Three aldermanic races retained the incumbents. Ward 1 Alderman Ken Kinsella kept his seat with 59.66 percent of the vote. Of the 728 votes cast, Kinsella received 423 of them. Ward 5 Alderman Phillip Silsby also kept his seat with 55.54 percent of the vote. Of the 1,061 ballots cast, Silsby garnered 576 of them.
In the Ward 4 Alderman race, Johnnie Anthony, with 287 votes, won his seat by one vote and defeated incumbent independent Timothy Carpenter, who had 286 votes.
"I am disappointed that Phil Elmore did not get elected, but the voters made their selection," said independent Dean Hardt, the winner of the city treasurer race with 59.04 percent of the vote. "I look forward to making a change in Belleville and will make sure I do my best in my new position."
Hardt is currently a Ward 4 alderman and when he vacates his seat to take on his new position as city treasurer, the mayor will appoint someone to fill it.
Hardt said he was not surprised the independent candidates swept the race.
"That's the environment that we are in right now. The residents want change and they chose change and that's pretty well it," he said. "I'm glad there are more independents on the council because I believe that's what the city needs."
Before the mayor appoints an alderman for Ward 4 to take Hardt's seat, the Belleville City Council is made up of seven members of the Belleville Good Government Party and nine independent members.
The Ward 2 alderman race between independent candidate Janet Kay Schmidt and the Belleville Good Government incumbent Dorothy Meyer was a close race with just three votes deciding the winner. Meyer had 313 votes and Schmidt 316.
As of midnight early Wednesday, the unofficial vote counts are:
City Clerk (35 of 35 precincts reporting):
Dallas B. Cook 3,328
Linda Fields 3,002
City Treasurer (35 of 35 precincts reporting):
Dean L. Hardt 3,715
Jerry Turner 2,577
Ward I Alderman (5 of 5 precincts reporting):
Ken Kinsella 423
Garrett Peak 286
Ward 2 Alderman (6 of 6 precincts reporting):
Janet Schmidt 316
Dorothy Meyer 313
Ward 3 Alderman (8 of 8 precincts reporting):
Rob Anderson 342
Kent Randle 448
Ward 4 Alderman (5 of 5 precincts reporting):
Johnnie Anthony 287
Timothy Carpenter 286
Mona Monken-Gehr 169
Ward 5 Alderman (5 if 5 precincts reporting):
Michael Hagberg 461
Phillip Silsby 576
Ward 6 Alderman (5 of 5 precincts reporting):
Dave Martinson 338
Bob White 456
Ward 7 Alderman (5 of 5 precincts reporting):
Trenton Galetti 492
Victoria Weygandt 419
Ward 8 Alderman
James Musgrove ran unopposed. He received 555 of the 767 votes cast.