“Old school” alderman brings new ideas to council

A local city is moving forward, nearly a year and a half after an alderman was arrested.

He has lived in Murphysboro for most of his life, but until the last year Tom Ridings says he never thought of becoming a public servant.

“I’ve been here a long time, and I’d like to see this city change for the better,” said Tom Ridings.

After alderman Ronald Nolan was sentenced to nine years in prison for aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and aggravated battery Ridings said someone needed to step up.

“I got to know some of the neighbors around here and there were some minor concerns, and I just decided to start going to the council meetings and get to know more about it, and see if there was something I could do,” said Ridings.

It was that go getter attitude that intrigued the board according to Mayor Will Stephens.

“One of the things that made him stand out was that he had been coming to the meetings for the last year and a half almost without fail,” said Will Stephens. “He knows the issues that are facing this city and knows them well.”

One day into his term, Ridings is hitting the ground running.

“This ward has got a few houses here and there that need some work done to them, and I hope to alleviate that problem,” said Ridings.

Murphysboro was seeking to block pay to former alderman Ronald Nolan since he was in prison and unable to attend meetings. However, Mayor Stephens says to this point it appears he is entitled that money by law.

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