William O'Gurek named to commissioner vacancy
AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS William J. O'Gurek, center, is sworn into office as Carbon County's minority commissioner by President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II, left, during an impromptu swearing-in ceremony Tuesday afternoon. Holding the Bible for O'Gurek is his wife, Siobhan. O'Gurek fills the vacancy created by the retirement of re-elected Commissioner Charles Getz.
William O'Gurek, who lost his bid for re-election as a Carbon County Commissioner in November, has been reappointed to the position.
O'Gurek was sworn in Tuesday afternoon during an impromptu ceremony to fill the vacancy created earlier that day when Charles Getz, who won the minority commissioner seat, officially retired from his post. O'Gurek will serve the full four-year term.
Prior to the appointment, President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II, who was charged with the task of filling the vacancy, filed a three-page document that officially announced his decision to appoint O'Gurek as the minority commissioner.
"This date, Jan. 3, 2012, I have appointed William J. O'Gurek to fill the unexpired term of office of Charles Getz, who has elected not to take the Oath of Office and not to serve the term for which he was elected as a member of the Carbon County Board of Commissioners," Nanovic stated. "Mr. O'Gurek is an experienced former commissioner with eight years of service to the county in this position who desires and wants to continue his service as a Carbon County Commissioner."
He then provided an explanation on the process that must be followed and the reasons why he felt appointing O'Gurek was the best decision for the county.
Nanovic was responsible for the decision because, under the county code, "when a vacancy in the Board of Commissioners occurs, it becomes the responsibility of the Court of Common Pleas to fill that vacancy by appointment."
"The law requires that the person appointed be a registered elector of the county who was a member of the same political party as the commissioner whose place is to be filled at the time such commissioner was elected," Nanovic continued, noting that Getz was a member of the Democratic party as of the Nov. 8, 2011 election.
Nanovic noted that O'Gurek was "unanimously recommended to the Court of Common Pleas" by the Carbon County Democratic Committee to fill the unexpired term.
"I am well aware that Mr. O'Gurek was not successful in his effort to be re-elected to the Carbon County Board of Commissioners for a third term in the November 8, 2011 General Election. This failure, however, must be considered in context: Mr. O'Gurek was one of two successful Democratic candidates in the Spring 2011 Primary and the difference in votes between Mr. Getz and Mr. O'Gurek in the General Election was 154," Nanovic wrote.
"I am also aware that Mr. O'Gurek and recently-elected majority Commissioners Wayne Nothstein and Thomas Gerhard have different visions for the future of Carbon County," he continued. "I do not consider this a reason not to make the appointment. Instead, it has been my experience that when decisions are questioned and challenged, better decisions are made ... It is my sincere hope that all of the Commissioners work cooperatively for the benefit of this county."
Nanovic noted that he received no benefit from the appointment and "no silent promises had been made."
"I ask only that Mr. O'Gurek serve the residents of Carbon County to the best of his ability," he said. "I wish the newly-elected commissioners, Wayne Nothstein and Thomas Gerhard, the very best in their position as Carbon County Commissioners. I personally know both gentlemen well, and hope and believe that their accomplishments in office will be ones the residents of this county will be proud of."
After being sworn in, the new minority commissioner said he was very happy for the chance to again serve the county.
"I am delighted and thankful to Judge Nanovic for having the confidence in me to continue on the board," O'Gurek said. "There are 17,600 Democrats in Carbon County that Nanovic could have chose to appoint."
O'Gurek also extended his gratitude to the Democratic committee for its support.
"As commissioners, our job is to increase and make better the quality of life in Carbon County and that is what I hope to continue to do," he said.
Nothstein and Gerhard, who took their seats as the majority board shortly after O'Gurek's appointment, said they respect Nanovic's decision.
"I look forward to working with Wayne and Bill for the best interest of this county, hopefully to make good decisions so we can move Carbon County in the right direction," Gerhard said.