The Beaver Countian will ignore any policy passed by the County Board of Commissioners limiting the media’s access to public employees and will boycott any Minister of Propaganda (our words) hired to act as an official county mouthpiece.
The Beaver County Board of Commissioners is considering a resolution that would prohibit public employees from speaking directly to the press, and would require the media to go through an official spokesperson (who the county would newly hire) for information. County employees who violate this policy could face disciplinary action.
The Board of Commissioners did not consult with representatives of the media while crafting its proposed policy.
The Beaver Countian has notified the Board of Commissioners and the county’s law department that it is arranging for legal representation for any public employee who is disciplined for speaking to the media or who wishes to preempt a county media policy.
Given the current climate of corruption that exists in Beaver County, which has been exposed at great length by the investigative reporting of this publication, the timing of the Commissioners’ proposed media policy is suspect at best.
Here is an example of the type of reporting the Beaver Countian is able to accomplish by not going through a Minister of Propaganda (aka official spokesperson):
The new media policy initiative was proposed and set into motion by Commissioner Dennis Nichols. Commissioner Nichols became pissed off back on June 1st of last year when the Beaver Countian reported the county was considering spending $350,000 to buy a burnt-out old building at 804 Turnpike Street. The location formerly housed the law offices of Reed, Luce, Tosh, Wolford and Douglass before catching fire and becoming far less valuable (the Beaver Countian even published pictures of the structure devaluing in a burst of smoke and flames).
What remains of the structure belongs to Harold Reed, who supported Nichols’ election and is purportedly prepared to help support his reelection efforts as well.
Plans to buy the building stalled after the Beaver Countian’s reporting caused a public outcry over the deal (the public wasn’t expected to know about the transaction until after it was already completed). Just two weeks later, on June 17th of last year, the Beaver Countian reported that Commissioner Dennis Nichols instructed the county’s law department to research the crafting of a policy to prevent public employees from speaking to the press.
The sale of Friendship Ridge and various antics of Sheriff George David kept the law department preoccupied and slowed the research and implementation of that policy until now.
What’s happening now? You guess it: The County Commissioners spent part of yesterday’s work session once again discussing the possibility of buying that burnt-out old building belonging to Nichols’ campaign supporter Harold Reed.
Commissioner Joe Spanik has previously insinuated that Commissioner Nichols could be getting an indirect kickback on the deal. Commissioner Nichols has previously denied the real estate transaction had anything to do with his push for a media policy (despite the “reoccurring coincidences”), and lashed back at Spanik over his thinly veiled allegations of indirect kickbacks.
Surely an official county spokesperson would never have let you, the taxpayers of Beaver County, know any of that.
The public should be thankful there are some honest people who care about this county working in our courthouse and should demand they not be silenced.