MEET MAYOR WILLIAMS
A PROSPEROUS FUTURE.
My Fellow Citizens:
In 1996, we held our first ever Vermilion County Youth Summit, and I was chosen by my peers to be the chairman. It was a bit of a surprise to me as I was somewhat reserved at the time. It was then that God first placed the desire to be Mayor one day in my heart.
Below you can learn more about the various phases of my life and how they have prepared me for my current role. I offer you all of this not because I think I am special or important, but to demonstrate that for all of my adult life, I have successfully managed multiple functions while building skills, developing relationships, and improving outcomes in the endeavors in which I have been involved.
It has been an honor to serve as your Mayor for the past 4.5 years and I am incredibly proud of the Proven Progress my team and I have made. I have high expectations of myself and others and am proud to apply what I have learned through my formal education and career to help Danville be a city where people love to live, work, invest, and play! I love our city and our people, so I promise to give you my absolute best. Please visit our Vision page to learn what you can expect should you re-elect me on April 4th.
MAYOR RICKEY WILLIAMS, JR.
20 YEARS OF LEADERSHIP
After being chosen Best Boy Citizen and graduating in the top 5% of my class at DHS, I was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to attend Millikin University, where I studied Political Science. I was an Americanist with a pre-law emphasis, which meant that I took a number of courses focusing on legal studies, state and local politics, and economics. I helped to create and served as the President of numerous student organizations, worked 20+ hours/week as a Student Office Manager in Residence Life & Learning Enhancement, and served as a tutor, all while maintaining good grades and landing on the Dean’s List 5/8 semesters. In the Summer of 1998, I was chosen as 1 of 20 students state-wide to be a Michael C. Curry Fellow through Governor Edgar’s office, and in the summer of 1999, I was one of 14 students chosen nationally to be a Ralph Bunche Scholar at the University of Virginia. In both 1999 and 2000, I earned membership in Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society and was named amongst Who’s Who Among American University College Students.
Upon graduation from Millikin, I was one of six students nationally awarded a full-fellowship to pursue a PhD in Political Science at Emory University. I continued as an Americanist, but shifted my focus to Public Policy and Urban Development. I primarily took courses focusing on various forms of American government, creating policies, and the development of neighborhoods and communities. I also served as a Research Assistant, TA, and Co-Teacher, leading lectures, discussion sections and advising students in three sections of American Government. I co-created the syllabus for and led lectures, discussion sections and advised students in the African-Americans & Urban Policy course. I created and graded homework, quizzes, exams and papers and assessed participation as well as completing coding for various projects and other tasks assigned. During my last three years, I was one of three students chosen from the entire university to serve as a Fellow for the Office of University-Community Partnerships. I collected, reviewed, and analyzed data for grants, research, and publications, conducted surveys, interviews, and community focus groups, collaborated with government agencies to establish relationships and acquire information, and created maps using Geographical Information Systems.
In 2004, after completing all coursework, teaching requirements, and 2/3 qualifying exams, I took a missions trip to Malawi which changed the course of my life. It was there, one test and a dissertation shy of being Dr. Williams, God showed me that I must leave graduate school. It was the hardest but best decision I ever made in life! For a little more than a year, I lived in Clarkston, GA, as a residential missionary. I was tasked with creating an after-school program for youth who resided in an apartment complex similar to Fair Oaks.
This was to be accomplished in a tiny three-bedroom apartment with no staff and no budget. I recruited, trained, and supervised the volunteers who staffed our programs. With a lot of hard work and planning, we created a program that served more than 30 youth daily and grew so large that it had to move into another space. As a member of the support staff for Sunday School/Open Group Ministries at the Georgia Baptist Convention, I created brochures, fliers, forms and coordinated registrations for our state-wide VBS trainings. I also helped hire and directly trained and supervised our summer interns.
In 2006, I was faced with an even greater task when I assumed the Executive Director’s position at the Boys & Girls Club of Danville. At that time, the program had no structure and community support and staff morale were at an all-time low. Cash-flow was at a deficit and we owed nearly $400,000 on our mortgage; the Club was on the verge of closure. However, we were able to rectify this situation in short order. By creating and implementing the action steps in our strategic plan, we achieved the following: nearly tripled membership; more than doubled average daily attendance; maintained a waiting list as the Club operated at capacity; increased member Honor/High Honor Roll attainment from 9% to more than 40% all six years; maintained a 100% high school graduation rate with all but a few graduates enrolling in college on partial or full academic scholarships; celebrated our first member receiving a Bachelor’s degree; increased revenues by nearly 40% by procuring more than $2,000,000 in new grant money and conducting an annual fundraising campaign that averaged more than $120,000; and paid off our mortgage! In 2011 while this was going on, I taught an American Government Course at DACC.
Empowering my staff played a critical role in our success and was one of the aspects of my job that I enjoyed the most. As the only human resources personnel at the Club, I: wrote our Personnel Policy Manual; recruited, interviewed, hired, trained (on an ongoing basis) and when necessary, terminated staff; procured and oversaw benefit packages, including insurances (health, vision, dental, life, and short and long term disability), vacation/sick/personal/family leave and pensions; completed all employment related paperwork (including unemployment claims); procured and administered other insurances (accident, automobile, directors & officers, general liability, and workers’ compensation). Other major responsibilities included: creating our annual budget; overseeing audit and tax preparation; managing grants; processing bi-weekly payroll, payables and pension payments; creating marketing materials; overseeing the maintenance of building and grounds.
As the CEO & CFO Project Success, in addition to performing all of the tasks I did at the Club, I administered a budget ($1.8 million annually) that was five times larger than the Club’s, had multiple federal and state grants, and more than ten times the number of staff (121 located at 15 sites throughout the county as opposed to one site). I also had the added task of soliciting, supervising, supporting, and evaluating contractors and subcontractors.
COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP
In addition to my professional commitments since returning home, I have served the community in various private capacities including: steering & founding member of Vermilion County CASA; steering, founding member, and past President of Love, Inc; past board member and chairman of the Danville Humane Society. In 2010, I was named as one of Commercial News Up nd Coming Leaders to Watch, and in 2012, I was named one of Central Illinois Business Magazine’s Forty Under Forty. I served as an Alderman in Ward 1 from 2009-2019, and as Vice-Mayor 2015-2017. In 2021, I was one of forty of over 200 nominees chosen to serve as a Governor Jim Edgar Fellow. In addition to my role as Mayor & Liquor Commissioner, I currently serve as a member of the Central Illinois Landbank, Danville Area Labor Management Council, Danville Area Transportation Study Policy Council, Danville Foundation for Industrial Growth, StepUP Initiative, Vermilion Advantage Executive Committee, Vermilion County Community Development Corporation, Vermilion County Mayors Council, VMEG Policy Board, the Illinois Municipal League Resolutions Committee, and am a member of Community Church of God.