Carbon County commissioners Charles Getz and William O'Gurek have announced their candidacies for re-election to four-year terms of office. They are seeking the Democratic Party's nominations in the May 17 Primary Election.
Getz, of Albrightsville, is currently the vice chairman of the board. O'Gurek, of Summit Hill, is the current board chairman.
Getz was a Kidder Township supervisor for 18 years before being elected to county office. O'Gurek was the Summit Hill mayor for 10 years before his county service.
In their commissioner capacities, Getz and O'Gurek have held chairmanships of not only the board of commissioners, but the Carbon County Salary Board, Carbon County Retirement Board and Carbon County Board of Elections. They are president and vice president, respectively, of the Carbon County Railroad Commission and are members of the Carbon-Monroe-Pike Mental Health-Mental Retardation Joinder Board.
Getz is also the chairman of the county's Safety Committee and represents the county on the Lehigh Canal and Trails Commission. O'Gurek represents Carbon on the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, the Carbon-Monroe-Pike MH-MR Advisory Board and the Carbon County Action Committee for Human Services.
The two commissioners served as co-directors of the Carbon County Special Olympics Committee from 2006-1010.
Getz is the owner of Getz Transportation, Albrightsville, and formerly owned Whitewater Rafting Adventures. He serves on the board of directors of the Jim Thorpe National Bank and as a member of the Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame Committee, and is a former member of the St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, the Carbon County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Carbon County Environmental Education Center Advisory Board and the Albrightsville Schoolhouse Restoration Committee.
He is a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Albrightsville; Carbon Lodge No. 242, F. & A.M.; Lilly Chapter No. 181; Packer Commandery No. 23; the Irem Temple, Wilkes-Barre; and Carbon County Friends of Animals; and a charter member of the Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company.
He is married to the former Carol Kelhart, a retired teacher in the Jim Thorpe Area School District.
O'Gurek is a part-time employee of the TIMES NEWS, Lehighton, where he has worked since 1973. He is the current treasurer of the Democratic Party of Carbon County, having held the position since 1999, and served as financial secretary of the Men of Marian for many years. He is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Summit Hill, where he is a Eucharistic Minister; formerly served as president of the Summit Hill Little League, the Our Lady of the Valley Home and School Association and the Board of Directors of the Carbon-Schuylkill Industrial Development Corporation; and is a former member of the Carbon County Environmental Education Advisory Board.
He is married for the former Siobhan O'Donnell, a legal secretary for the law offices of Velitsky and Matika, Summit Hill. They have two children, William Jr., a state auditor, and Erin, a registered nurse.
Among the accomplishments cited by Getz and O'Gurek during their watch as majority commissioners are: no tax increase for seven consecutive years; elimination of the occupational tax previously assessed on workers in the county; purchase and ongoing development of Packerton Yards to bring jobs to the region at no cost to the county; establishment of a hotel tax paid by visitors to the county, resulting in $1.5-million in outside revenue being made available for tourist promotion in the past five years; partnered with state and local officials to build the multi-use trail that connects downtown Jim Thorpe with the Lehigh Gorge State Park, enhancing the recreational and economic opportunities within the county; establishment of facilities and staff for a third judge of the Court of Common Pleas to prepare for the judicial needs of the county in the next decade; millions of dollars worth of improvements to county facilities (911 center, courthouse, Susquehanna Street Office Building, courthouse annex, Josiah White Park and railroad station); and installation of traffic lights in Kidder and Mahoning townships to provide safer roads for motorists in those areas.
Getz and O'Gurek pledge to continue fiscal responsibility as they work toward preparing Carbon County to meet the many demands of a growing population.