Editorial Note: Republican Beaver County Commissioner Dennis Nichols has submitted the following op-ed in response to remarks made by Democratic Commissioner Joe Spanik in an interview with the Beaver Countian last Friday. This op-ed submission is being published here unedited and in its entirety as written by Commissioner Nichols, who noted that its contents were reviewed by his personal attorney before being sent to the Beaver Countian for publication. Links to relevant articles previously written by the Beaver Countian were embedded by us.
This letter is in response to your recent article based on an interview with Joe Spanik. While I am disappointed that the Beavercountian would publish the type of unfounded accusations and political attack made by Mr. Spanik, I feel I must defend myself against the self-serving, self-patronizing, irresponsible, and outrageous comments made by Mr. Spanik.
Since the article began ostensibly around the issue of Unis Demolition, let me first address this situation. At the last commissioner’s public meeting, I questioned why Unis was to receive another demolition contract while the company was past the contract due date on several existing contracts. My question arose after several discussions among the commissioners, the county law department, the community development department, and some municipalities. In fact the county law department issued a letter to Unis on May 5 concerning their lack of performance. A copy of that letter is available. In the public meeting, I agreed to support the passage of the new contract resolution solely on the basis of Commissioner Amadio’s request. He was concerned about delaying the issuance of a contract. I agreed to approve the resolution, but I wanted additional information from Community Development for any ongoing demolition projects.
Evidently the questioning of Unis performance struck a nerve with Mr. Spanik, witness the personal attacks on me and Treasurer Javens. It is well known that Mr. Spanik is an unabashed champion for Unis Demolition. Whenever complaints have arisen in commissioners’ meetings about Unis. Mr. Spanik figuratively leaps to his feet in defense of Unis and his friend “Ralphie”. Obviously Mr. Spanik will go to any lengths to attack those who question his friend’s performance.
For the record I have no personal relationship with Unis, and was only made aware last week by the Beavercountian of the past criminal record of Unis and the assertion of not paying some taxes since 1992.
A second issue brought up by Mr. Spanik concerned my relationship with Treasurer Javens. Mr. Spanik proposed some type of political conspiracy. Theses contentions are nothing more than the hallucinations of a paranoid politician, who sees political intrigue around every corner. Maybe with all the skeletons in Joe Spanik’s closet he should be worried about losing Democratic votes. For the record, I sit on Pension Board with Treasurer Javens, and occasionally we do discuss issues related to the Pension Board and other county matters. It seems Mr. Spanik sees political goblins if a republican has any contact with a democrat.
A third issue Mr. Spanik discussed was the sale of Friendship Ridge and discussions I had with Marcus & Millichap, the brokers for the sale of the property. It is obviously a point of irritation that from time to time Marcus & Millichap would call me for information regarding Friendship Ridge and not call Mr. Spanik. It is simply hilarious to think the brokers of the sale would seek information from Mr. Spanik, who clearly fought the sale of the property until the last minute of the last day. I clearly supported the privatization of Friendship Ridge early on in the process and clearly championed the sale as it was not only in the general best interest of Beaver County but also required to prevent the bankruptcy of the county, which would have occurred before the end of 2013 without a sales commitment. Ultimately Joe Spanik voted to support the sales of Friendship Ridge but only after that sale had been confirmed by Commissioner Amadio and myself. Mr. Spanik’s final vote was typical of his approach to try to play both sides of the fence on an issue. Mr. Spaniks insinuation that I somehow benefitted personally from the sale of Friendship Ridge is simply outrageous and unequivocally false. However, this is probably the mind set of Joe Spanik, who has been called around the county for years “pay to play Joe”.
A fourth issue raised by Mr. Spanik is the possible acquisition of the office building next to the courthouse. The property in question is the only space in the block in which the courthouse stands that is not owned by the county. Apart from what should be the obvious long term benefit to the county to own such a property, the courts and others in the county administration have discussed the future expansion of the courthouse. The adjacent office space is the only area of expansion for the courthouse and is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the property. Somehow Mr. Spanik sees this as some type of personal gain by me which is absolutely false, but again it goes back to the political mindset of pay to play Joe.
Since Joe Spanik has broached the subject of political favors and personal gain, I think the readers of the Beavercountian, should keep in mind the relatively recent situation in which Mr. Spanik recommended and promoted the hiring of an Eastern PA and NJ engineering firm by the county. Subsequent to the hiring of this company, it was pointed out to the commissioners that the company had been convicted of illegal campaign contribution in other areas. This of course led to my recommendation to fire the company which was ultimately done. To paraphrase a local journalist Joe Spanik has more skeletons in his closet than the Adams Family.
A final self-serving insinuation by Mr. Spanik is that he is a harder worker than other commissioners. This is just another example of Mr. Spanik’s self- promotion. It is rumored that Mr. Spanik has been irritated by comments of many around the courthouse and elsewhere of my dedication and hard work to the job. Obviously this has challenged Mr. Spanik’s high impression of himself. As an aside, I think that Mr. Spanik’s assertion of his hard work is amusing as it comes a day after he missed a public meeting to play golf with a private vendor at Firestone Country Club in Akron, an invitation that I respectfully declined so I could be at the scheduled public meeting.
All in all Mr. Spanik’s comments are self-serving, self-patronizing, unfounded, irresponsible, and simply outrageous. I trust the voting public will see Mr. Spanik for what he truly is as an insecure and paranoid politician in the worst sense of the word.