Six current Shelby board members welcome newcomer

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 7, 2012

Nick Nightingale is no stranger to the Shelby Township boardroom, but he’ll now have a different vantage point for township meetings.

Nightingale, who has attended meetings as a resident and operating manager of Nightingale Service, was elected to the Board of Trustees Nov. 6 with six of the current board members. He will be sworn into his new office at the Nov. 20 Board of Trustees meeting.

“I think Shelby Township needs to get back on track, and I believe we deserve better than what we’ve received the last four years, and perhaps the past 10 years,” Nightingale said.

“First thing I need to do is get in there and look at the numbers — where the money’s at and where the money’s going that’s coming in,” Nightingale added.

In his previous visits to the boardroom, Nightingale has often been at odds with the returning board members over issues such as the township towing contract, which the board dissolved with his company Dec. 20, 2011.

“I think we’ll work fine together; we’ll work very well together,” Nightingale said. “Shelby Township is no different than other municipalities, and everyone is facing money issues right now. And I am a staunch conservative despite what anybody has said.”

Along with his past relationship with the Board of Trustees, Nightingale said he didn’t know how his current federal lawsuit against the township and board would affect his candidacy.

“I figured it would,” Nightingale said when asked if he thought the lawsuit would sway voters. The lawsuit charges that the township and board violated the law when the board dissolved the township’s contract with Nightingale Service.

“I think the citizens know that I’ll represent them, and I’ll be a voice for them,” Nightingale said of why he thought he was elected. “A lot of the general public that is actually paying attention and seeing what’s going on knows I’ll be someone that will stand up for them.”

Nightingale said the lawsuit would be unchanged with his election to the board, and he foresees no conflict of interest with the proceedings.

“Right now, I’m not going to make any comment on the lawsuit,” Nightingale said. “The township hired outside legal services, so I think most of it’s going to be handled that way.”

“That’s a business decision; that’s not a Nick Nightingale decision,” Nightingale added when asked if the lawsuit would be dropped.

“(Nightingale Service) hired numerous highly qualified attorneys to look at it, and they said federal law has been violated and they said you need to pursue this so it doesn’t happen to other residents or business owners in the community.”

Shelby Township voter turnout Nov. 6 slightly exceeded township Clerk Stanley Grot’s estimates. Voters re-elected Supervisor Richard Stathakis and Trustees Douglas Wozniak and Paula Filar and elected current Treasurer Paul Viar to a trustee seat

“I am very humbled by the election results and honored to be elected for a second term as Shelby Township supervisor,” Stathakis said.

“I look forward to continue working with the Board of Trustees and employees in making a better local government — by continuing to implement more efficient services, by continuing to reduce costs and by continuing to increase transparency.”

Stathakis called the re-election “gratifying” after his first term as supervisor saw him face several recall campaigns and conflicts with the township’s labor unions over issues such as pensions and retirement benefits.

“It’s especially gratifying that the electorate saw through the special-interest groups and establishment mentality for which it really was,” Stathakis said.

“In the end, I believe that the residents realized the importance of solid fiscal responsibility and the importance of being good stewards with their tax dollars.”

Stathakis won his second consecutive term as supervisor, besting independent David Erickson with 63 percent of the vote to Erickson’s 36. Stathakis won the Republican nomination in August, besting former Shelby Township Police Chief Bob Leman with 56.1 percent of the vote.

"This whole process was never about me," Erickson said in an email. "It was about providing the great people of Shelby Township a choice and an opportunity for change. I have been and shall remain interested, concerned, and involved in my community and will never fail to speak out on issues of importance."

Grot and current Trustee Michael Flynn were uncontested in the Nov. 6 elections and rounded out the new board as clerk and treasurer, respectively.

Trustee Douglas Wozniak was the leading vote-getter among trustee candidates with 21,314 votes in his second election. Filar came in second with 20,621 votes, Nightingale was third with 20,152 votes and Viar placed fourth with 19,070 votes.

“I think there’s a silent majority out there that really wants things to happen the way they should happen in government,” Wozniak said of the re-election of six of the board’s current members.

Clarence Cook, who was the lone Democrat running for Shelby Township office, placed fifth among trustee candidates with 17,066 votes.