Carbon County Democratic Commissioner Charles Getz is expected to resign on Friday, seven weeks after being elected to a fifth term in office and just a day before the end of his fourth term.
Frank Jacobs of Nesquehoning, a member of the Executive Board of the Carbon County Democratic Committee, said on Wednesday that he learned of Getz's expected resignation by way of a telephone call late Tuesday.
Getz, who was not available to speak to the TIMES NEWS early Wednesday, was quoted on a regional news website as saying he was quitting because of a "smear campaign" conducted by Republicans Thomas Gerhard and Wayne Nothstein against the current Commissioners Chairman, Democrat William O'Gurek, in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 general election.
Gerhard, a newcomer, and Nothstein, an incumbent, won seats on the three-man board in the November General Election.
The election shifted the balance from Democrat to Republican when O'Gurek lost his bid for election to a third term.
Nothstein was the top vote-getter with 7,055 votes, while Gerhard netted 6,542 votes. Getz received 5,296 votes, and O'Gurek got 5,142 votes.
Getz has been unreserved in his criticism of the Gerhard-Nothstein campaign, which used mailings and television spots aimed at O'Gurek, casting him in a negative light.
On Oct. 27, Getz said he wanted to "set the record straight" concerning a flier distributed by the state Republican committee, accusing O'Gurek of selling the Carbon County nursing home at Weatherwood.
"When we sold Weatherwood, there were three votes to sell it," Getz said. "Since when can one commissioner make a decision to do something? Our minutes will reflect that three commissioners voted to sell Weatherwood. It was not Bill alone. It was not me alone and it was not Wayne Nothstein alone. Three commissioners voted to sell."
After the election, Getz continued, stating that the pair were "liars," after he questioned Nothstein on the five fliers sent out during the campaign. Nothstein denied having any involvement in the production of the fliers.
Since then, Getz has voiced disapproval for Nothstein and Gerhard and said he had lost all respect for them.
"Billy and I ran a campaign being positive," Getz told the TIMES NEWS the day after the election. "I am just shocked that our opponents would put out six different brochures about Billy O'Gurek and they're all lies. I have never, in 50 years, seen a race in Carbon County as dirty as this has been."
Gerhard and Nothstein claimed the state Republican committee crafted and ran the attack ads.
O'Gurek did not immediately return a telephone call or answer an email early Wednesday requesting a response.
If Getz resigns on Thursday, as expected, Carbon County President Judge Roger Nanovic will appoint a replacement. That person would serve two years, until an election can be held to determine who will serve the remaining two years on Getz' term.
Jacobs said the executive board would meet to decide on a name to submit to the judge for consideration as a replacement. That name, he said, would likely be O'Gurek's.
"Bill's the best man suited for the job," he said.