A series of resolutions to extend the county’s contracts with SEIU represented employees at Friendship Ridge failed to pass during the public meeting of Commissioners today.

Assistant County Solicitor Bernie Rabik had negotiated an agreement with the union which would have extended their contract to February 2014, in exchange for a guarantee from workers they wouldn’t attempt to block the sale of Friendship Ridge to a private entity. The agreement had already been approved by union members, and was on the agenda for today’s public meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Dennis Nichols declined to approve the agreement, motioning to approve only those resolutions not related to the Friendship Ridge contracts. Commissioner Joe Spanik attempted to ratify the contracts, but with Commissioner Tony Amadio away at a conference in Harrisburg the effort failed with a tied vote.

“While I am not opposed to extending those contracts to as late as November of this year, I find it problematic for the sale of Friendship Ridge to extend those contracts into next year,” said Nichols. “To extend them beyond a potential closing date would be problematic for us, and could cost us millions of dollars in potential bid money… This becomes a very costly caveat in the agreement.”

Commissioner Nichols said he understood Commissioners Amadio and Spanik were in favor of the agreement because it would guarantee the union wouldn’t attempt to file litigation against the county. “I think the chances of them being successful with that are very, very, small. Our broker has never experienced the stop of a sale in 27 sales… You have to decide if that is worth the potential loss of millions of dollars in bid money.”

Nichols said he consulted with attorneys who didn’t work for the county, and they agreed with his assessment.

“We don’t know when the closing date will be,” said Commissioner Spanik. “It could be October, November, December, it could be next year. We just don’t know yet.”

Spanik said it is also unclear whether or not extending the union’s contract would actually have an impact on bid amounts for the facility. “Whether it would be a loss of income, we don’t know that yet. We don’t know what they will do. It’s all hypothetical.”

Commissioner Spanik said he had conversations with Commissioner Amadio, and expects the two will successfully vote to approve the agreement at the next public meeting. But with a public meeting scheduled for the end of this month already cancelled, the first opportunity the two will have to vote on the matter won’t be until the middle of July.

Controller David Rossi recommended that the Board of Commissioners ask interested parties to submit bids based on both scenarios, with and without the contract extension, so any potential loss to taxpayers could be quantified before a final decision is made.

In an interview with the Beaver Countian after the meeting, Commissioner Nichols said he is open to Controller Rossi’s suggestion, and would discuss it with the other two Commissioners.

Representatives for the SEIU could not be reached for comment, and it remains unclear how union employees will react to the board’s failure to approve an agreement at today’s meeting.


  1. Here’s a hint commissioners….FIND OUT how much potential bid money you will lose before you agree to extend the contract until Feb….THEN make a decision. The two majority clowns spend money without knowing the consequences then cry poor when the shit hits the fan. If its going to cost bid money then don’t do it, if it isn’t pass the resolution. The union doesn’t own the facility…any attempt at blocking the sale is just a waste of their money (and eliminates most of their chances of being employed by the new owners) so if you want to be stupid, be stupid but the commissioners shouldn’t be running the county based on what they might do.

    Due diligence…..look up the meaning in the dictionary Mr. Commissioners and then maybe everything you do won’t blow up into something that ends up costing the taxpayers even more.

  2. AND if AMADIO was at work today WORKERS would have CONTRACT!!!! quit FUCKING around in HARRISBURG tony and SHOW UP to WORK! :upset:

  3. what happens to the workers now. do you three commissioners have places to put them to. how many people will get shifted out now.

  4. It seems tome that Nichols is a real snake. If their solicitor & the majority of the commissioners came to an agreement, who is he to renig on the agreement? He shows no integrity. He is someone I wouldn’t vote for if he was the only one running.

  5. The Commissioners keep closing offices, and shutting things down. between merging offices and bumping people out . Nobody is safe Courthouse Employees get ready, because I think alot of bumping is comming your way, because they are not done yet not by a long shot. they aren’t done screwing up everyones life yet.

  6. Wait Nichols talked to attorneys that are not involved about sell, wtf how about the three you got? Feel bad for Spanik yes I said it, little Vinny and Dennis hatching a plan it seems, sounds like the board needs a real chairman to lead not be lead as it is obvious.

    As far as Dennis goes enjoy the your last 2 years, your treating of people and employees will cost you at the polls added the friendship ridge workers, and a splitting in you with in the Republican party ahhhh excuse me but your fucked.

  7. I must be missing something here. I like the move by Nichols. He seems to have a legitimate concern. Since the sale of Friendship Ridge seems inevitable wouldn’t we all want the county to get the highest price possible for this asset? If he believes a contract that goes beyond the closing could reduce the value at the time of the sale then I agree with him. I also happen to believe he’s right in his concerns. It sounds to me like he’s doing his job on this one.

    Just my opinion.

  8. Dennis Nichols is allowing his dislike for union workers to interfere with the governing of the county. Once again he’s independently seeking companies and entities ( outside the courthouse ) to align with . We have three commissioners , and he is not the chairman , yet he constantly attempts to run the direction of county and the sale of Friendship Ridge. It is very ironic how he states on his election page that his father was a union president , yet he shows nothing but contempt for the union workers themselves. These are hardworking people trying to raise their families , they don’t make astronomical pay. If the company has been managed correctly and overseen by the commissioners with more concern , it wouldn’t be in it financial demise it’s in now. The workers did not choose the vendors, managerial placements with raises , management company , or contracts to friends/ family that financially drained this facility for decades .
    Mr Nichols forced the county nursing home to be sold based on the premise it would be profitable to the county, how is the attempts to disband a union be profitable? It would only gain him personal satisfaction. I

  9. Nichols is not interested in the public welfare or taxpayers in this matter. His agenda is his implementing his economic ideology which has been the dominate governing philosophy since the election of Reagan displaced the New Deal. As we look to where BC and the rest of the country is today it has been a total failure but that will not deter the likes of Nichols who envision a society based soley on winners and losers. Friendship Ridge will most likely be a pile of ruble in several years just as Aliquippa Hospital and J&L The implications will be felt severely as the baby boom generation ages without the resources that the previous generation had for elderly care. We tried this before and it didn’t work. It was called the guilded age. The question is when the shit hits the fan as it did in the 30’s will there be a savior for capitalsim as Roosevelt was or will an angry popuplace seek revenge upon those who put them where they are?

    • I’m not as familiar with Nichols ideology as you are. I do not like that Friendship Ridge is being sold. However, if that ship has sailed then I reaffirm my belief that the County has a responsibility to get the best price they can for this asset. I don’t understand your connection to J&L. J&L was a private sector USWA manned steel mill. The only similarity between them are union workforces. J&L was not funded by taxpayer money and was bank owned at the end. Those are two very different situations.

      • Taxpayer nmoney? You bet it funded it’s funded by tax payer money ,mine and millions of others who beleive in the great works of the new deal and great societies.Who want their taxes to go for the betterment of our people not to spending on defense of an empire by more than all other nations combined ,not to feeding political contributors of the likes of Corbett , Christiana and the rest of the leaches. Not to giving farmer Vogel his damn dairy subsidies Not to bailing out the Wall st banksters and on and on. This country has the means to fund these institutions .The Nichols of the world choose to transfer those funds to the “winners” who can buy this government. If you don’t understand the connection of the losses of the J&Ls ,Aliquippa Hospitals and Freindship Ridges of this country ,the policies which led to them and the people who have brought this about that’s too bad for you becuase you’re nothing more than another stooge for this system to drain until they have no use for you and pitch you in the trash like so many others.

      • I want something that works for a modern society and meets the needs of it’s people. Don’t even throw that socialist communist BS at me.

  10. @Jackson, No need for name calling. I was genuinely asking you what economic system you prefer to capitalism. I’d love to hear how your tax dollars EVER funded J&L. I don’t understand the connection of J&L and Friendship Ridge. There isn’t one. Since you’ve called me a stooge why don’t you to explain that connection to me. Seriously, let’s hear it.

    • Did the industrial base of this country not fund government? Did it not support the communities that the Aliquippa Hospitals of this country served? Did those communities not pay taxes? Do you not know why Freindship Ridge was built and the state of medical care for the elderly before medicare and medicaid programs funded again by that industrial base? Do you not see the disaster of supply side economics ? None of this is connected at all? Please!!!!! Tell me who is going to pay 25 mil. for a 55yr old hospital funded 80% by medicaid which is being cut year after year with funds being transfered to the military defense intellegence complex and their disasterous wars. Corbett just gave away 150 mil in taxpayer money to his developer cronies along with his other tax giveaways . The state doesn’t have any money for medicaid and FR do they? I never hear anyone bitching about that. Isn’t that taxpayer monies?Tell me when FR is gone where those who need medcaid going to get care and that is the overwhelming majority of us.Which private homes here take medicaid? You give me some answers . You tell me what should be the priorities of this society. Tell me why we can afford all else but the needs of our people. Tell me why the wealth that’s produced in this economy is controlled by such a small percentage of the population. Tell me if we’re better off now than we were 30 yrs ago before the era of supply side economics . Will you or anyone of yours ever need lomg term skilled nursing care? Where will you get it and how will you pay for it? What is the responsibility of government to it’s people. The rest of the developed world beleives that it is the responsibilty of their societies to see that all those who need medical care gets it . Only America beleives that it is just another way for the “winners” to make more profit.

      • I share those concerns. As I stated earlier I don’t like that Friendship Ridge is being sold. You’ve tried to put words in my mouth and fit me into something you feel is wrong and want to argue with (the Republican Party). I’m not a Republican. I’m a Libertarian. I never said a thing about being for or against the level of defense spending going on in this country. I respect your opinion and your concerns. In my opinion we shouldn’t be so quick to go to name calling and stereotyping each other. You don’t know me and you have no clue what I’m about. I worked at J&L and several generations of my family worked in the Valley’s mills. The mills here went out for many complex reasons that intersected with each other in my opinion. None of which had anything to do with your tax dollars. You backpedalled from your earlier statement and it’s pretty clear that on that point you don’t know what you’re talking about. Again, you’re entitled to your opinion but stating that businesses like J&L failed because of misappropriation of YOUR tax dollars is completely incorrect and disrespectful to those who lost jobs there.

  11. About Nichols consulting attorneys that don’t work for the county…is he paying for this out of his pocket or are we the taxpayers paying for it? Wouldn’t that money be better used to purchase the burned building next to courthouse so they could house all the
    crooks from the courthouse instead of transporting them to the jail in West Aliquippa?
    Also why haven’t we heard anything more about the Shell plant going in Potter Twp. or did they screw that up too? Or are they so wrapped up in selling Friendship Ridge that they don’t have time for any thing else?

  12. There was no intent to link tax dolloars and J&L on my part . The statement of tax dollars funding was meant to be directed at funding medicaid and hospitals such as FR . Is that clear now? And don’t ever lecture me about being disrespectful of those who lost their jobs at J&l.



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