Fellow Trustee Jen Patterson, who was appointed earlier this year to fill former Trustee Tom Willsey’s seat — he passed away after battling cancer — said there will be a big void in township leadership with her departure.
“This is a big loss for the township she has such a depth of knowledge, about why things were done, or the story behind the decisions,” Patterson said. “I think anytime you lose that in a community that’s a real loss and will take use some time to build back that capacity.”
She said after Yordy leaves office she hopes people remember “her genuine care for the township, she really truly loves Ross Twp. and from what I’ve seen she’s really always acted in the best interests of the township as she saw them.”
Yordy won her seat with 51% of the vote in a three-person race in 2003, ran unopposed the next two election cycles, beat fellow Trustee Keith Ballauer with 53% of the vote in 2015 and took 68% of the tally against Keith Klinefelter in 2019.
Township Administrator Laurie Kile said Yordy has been a true public servant in every sense of the word, “she really connected with the people and wanted to help the residents.”
“In my estimation each trustee brings their own strengths to the board and for me Ellen was a constant reminder that we are here to serve the residents,” Kile said. “I believe to Ellen everything was personal, even things like property nuisances, she wanted to very much help the resident take care of whatever the problem was, she wanted to help people as opposed to just making broad policies and being a true politician.”
The past couple years haven’t been an easy for township officials, losing key members of the leadership team. They lost Willsey in April, he had served as a trustee for 36 years and was considered a “champion” for the community. Long-time township administrator Bob Bass retired in 2021 after more than a decade.
The trustees were frustrated after residents battled back when they tried to get the Burns Farm property developed into a $353 million mixed-use project.
Fiscal Officer Julie Joyce-Smith, who was elected in 2019 said Yordy was her biggest supporter when she took office and “she’s served this community for a really long time and she deserves to be lauded, she’s a fantastic lady.”
“I don’t think the residents of Ross realize how much the trustees do, how much grief they take, how much they’re at the beck-and-call of people, whether it’s phone calls, emails, being stopped by people at the store, ‘hey we have a speeder can you look into this’,” Joyce-Smith said. “It’s just the little things, they have two meetings a month but they do so much, they are so involved, she’s going to leave big shoes to fill, it’s not as easy as people think.”
The township is advertising the vacant seat — Kile said she has already received one resume — and they will be accepting resumes until Jan.15. Ballauer and Patterson will fill the seat and the winner will fill out Yordy’s unexpired term.
Ballauer told the Journal-News he was surprised by the announcement and while the two of them have not “been real close on our thoughts and ideas of Ross Twp., like any trustees we’ve debated over stuff” but he wishes her well in her retirement.
Fire Chief Steve Miller said Yordy has been a “great asset” to his department and the township and has always shown how much she loves Ross, “she’ll be dearly missed.”