Councilman Derrin Roberts

Councilmen Garland Gates and Derrin Roberts listen as legislation surrounding a new electric generation facility within the city of Shelby. 

SHELBY — Derrin Roberts is a bit skeptical when it comes to unofficial results the night of an election -- and rightfully so. 

Eight years ago, running for a seat on Shelby City Council against the late Harold Shasky, he was named the winner of the Second Ward position by four votes. But on his way to celebrate with family and friends, that changed. 

"By the time I got back to Legends in Shelby, I'd lost because they found a box of absentee votes under a table," Roberts said. "So I'm pretty gun-shy when it comes to the Board of Elections." 

On Tuesday night, the unofficial results published by the Richland County Board of Elections showed Roberts, 49, has again retained his seat as representative of the Second Ward on Shelby City Council. Roberts earned 234 votes to challenger Lane Winters' 161 votes in the only contested race for Shelby City Council this election season. 

"If the results are what they are, I'm very happy and relieved," Roberts said with a laugh. 

Roberts was appointed to his current position in March 2015 after Shasky's resignation. The following November, he defeated candidate Keith Evans to retain the seat. 

Roberts credited a presence in the community and his reputation as a councilman for the last four years as keys to his latest victory. He also thanked Winters for running a clean campaign and wished him the best for his future endeavors. 

"We're going to keep working on the growth of Shelby," Roberts said. "We have the downtown revitalization going on and we have the broadband (internet) coming to town. Those are things we have to keep working on to make Shelby a better place." 

In another administrative contest, Shelby citizens elected Brian Crum as the next director of finance and public record for the city. According to final unofficial results from the Richland County Board of Elections, Crum earned 469 votes to defeat Teresa Scott, who earned 198 votes. 

Crum, 36, was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. 

Both Crum and Scott ran as write-in candidates to take over official duties from Steve Lifer, who was appointed interim director of finance in July 2015 and retained his seat after the following November election.

According to Paulette Hankins, director of the Richland County Board of Elections, Lifer had taken out a petition and planned on running for reelection until a disagreement with Shelby City Council prompted him to withdraw from the ballot. 

Crum stated in a pre-election article that his goal as finance director would be to provide accurate and timely information to council to assist with their decision-making processes. He also hoped his experience allows council to find more cost-saving measures and operate more efficiently.

The city of Shelby also elected two candidates to serve on the Shelby Board of Education. Newcomer Carl Ridenour earned the most votes of the three candidates with 1,519 to secure a seat on the board, unseating incumbent Mark Fisher, who earned 1,113 votes. Lorie White also retained her seat with 1,323 votes. 

"I feel good that the voters showed that much confidence in me, and also a bit of nervousness," Ridenour said. "There's a certain amount of pressure that goes with public service, making sure you do what the people hope you will do and getting enough input from the public to make an informed decision."

This will be Ridenour's first term on the Shelby Board of Education, but not his first experience as an elected official; he served on Shelby City Council from 2003 to 2008 for the Fourth Ward. 

Ridenour, 55, credits name recognition for his victory on Tuesday. 

"I grew up here in town, have lived here most of my life, and it doesn't hurt to have a brother who's been working for the media for 40 years," he said. "And I try to stay actively involved in the community by serving on various other boards as well." 

Ridenour stated his goal was to improve communication between the community and the board of education to help voters understand why decisions are being made. 

"One of the things that came out of three attempts at passing a bond issue to build the new building, a lot of feedback from the public was the board didn't listen to what the public said, but we really never got to the finer points of what the public was saying," Ridenour said. "Were they saying we don't want a new building, or we don't want you to raise our taxes?

"I feel it was the latter.

"We're still moving forward and providing better facilities and better opportunities for our students, staff and teachers," he continued. "It's incumbent on the board in place now to make sure the public does understand it can be a win-win for everyone involved." 

White was unavailable for comment at the time of publication. In a pre-election interview, White, 49, stated that she’s acquired a “well-rounded” knowledge of the school system in her 12 years as a board member. She feels there is “unfinished business” in the district, including the building project, evaluating athletic facilities and union contract negotiations.

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