SYKESVILLE — Voters ganged up on the "Gang of Three" yesterday.
A record turnout toppled Council President Charles B. Mullins and council members Charles H. "Tim" Ferguson and Maxine C. Wooleyhand.
Replacing them on the six-member council will be William R. Hall Jr., Jonathan Herman and Walter R. White.
"I'm tickled," said Hall, a Baltimore City firefighter. "I think the town is showing it wantsa fresh start, and I hope we can give it to them."
Town officials said 194 voters turned out, a record for a Sykesville election.
Vote totals were: Hall, 108; Herman, 107; White, 88; Wooleyhand, 71; Mullins, 69; Ferguson, 69; and Norbeck, 58.
About 20 people -- mostly candidates and their families -- broke into applause when election judge Thelma Wimmer announced the results.
"This was an important election," said town resident Dennis Karr after he voted.
Ferguson, Mullins and Wooleyh and became known around the Town House as "The Gang of Three" for taking conservative stands and teaming up on budget deliberations and other issues.
The pattern frequently has sparked dissension on the council.
Several council votes on proposed legislation were 3-3 ties, effectively killing measures because Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. cannot cast a deciding vote on ordinances.
"We hope to make the relationship between the mayor and town council better," Hall said.
The new council members will be sworn in for four-year terms on Tuesday, May 28. The council's regular Monday meeting will be moved up a day because of the Memorial Day holiday, Helt said.
"The voters have spoken, and I wish the winners well," Wooleyhand said, a sentiment echoed by Ferguson.
Mullins, 49, first elected in1983, declined to comment on the election results; Ferguson could not be reached for comment.
"I'm pleased with the result," Norbeck said. "At least I have the notoriety of being last."
The results were a contrast to the election four years ago.
Mullins was the top vote-getter in 1987. He was voted council president shortly afterward.
Wooleyhand, 48, was first elected in 1987, while Ferguson, 55, first won a seat in 1983.
The three, also known for their frequent clashes with Helt, had agreed to run as an informal ticket and work to get the others re-elected to the $30-per-meeting post.
"The Gangof Three will not be as effective unless all three are voted back in," Mullins said several weeks ago.
In February, Mullins declared that he would not seek re-election, only to change his mind six weeks later and announce his candidacy.
The tension between the three incumbents and the mayor and other council members emerged as a centralissue of the campaign, with challengers vowing to work to alleviate the strained relations.
"I think it made a difference that the people will be represented, which hasn't happened for a while," said White.
The primary item facing the new council will be crafting a budget for the coming year.
"That's the big issue," said Herman, chairman of the Planning Commission.
SYKESVILLE ELECTION RESULTS
Council (elect 3).. .. .. .. .. .. Votes
Tim Ferguson.. .. .. .. .. .... .. .69
* William R. Hall Jr... .. .. .. .. 108
* Jonathan Herman.. .. .. .. .. .. . 107
Charles Mullins.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .69
Carole Norbeck.. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 58
* Walter R. White.. .. .. .. .. .. . 88
Maxine C. Wooleyhand.. .. .. .. .. . 71