The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 21, 2013

Tvardzik not among Paint Twp. candidates

David Hurst

— A man who is the frequent target of residents’ rage in financially troubled Paint Township isn’t seeking re-election.

But the names of five others will likely be on the spring ballot.

Supervisor Andy Tvardzik, called on by residents for months to step down from his seat, apparently has decided to do so – but on his own terms.

Tvardzik didn’t petition to run for re-election, Somerset County’s Election Office confirmed. The former township board treasurer did not return calls for comment Wednesday or Thursday, but a family member who answered his home phone said, “Andy isn’t running again.”

March 12 was the deadline to file petitions.

There was no shortage of candidates eager to fill his seat next year in a township that battled a cash crunch through most of 2012, nearly shut down its police force in the fall and then borrowed a total of $425,000 to pay its bills and debts.

Three candidates are running as Republicans and the other two as Democrats. The hopefuls include a former township supervisor and a former Scalp Level councilman.

On the GOP ticket are Lewis Clark II of Morningland Drive, Richard W. Seese of Statler Road and Bret R. Shaffer of Cameron Court.

Pursuing the Democratic nomination are Frank E. Tallyen of Spruce Street and David A. Zeglin of Bryce Way.

Seese served as a township supervisor from 1994 until 1999 and touts his business administration background and years as a township treasurer.

“I have experience in the budget process,” Seese said.

He said his goals include paying down debt and reducing this year’s 6-mill tax increase.

Zeglin, a former Scalp Level councilman now living in Paint Township, also cited township spending and the tax hike as cause for concern.

“The auditors warned for years about bad spending habits and the township didn’t listen,” said Zeglin, a pressman for The Tribune-Democrat.

He said the board needs to enforce cost-controlling measures across the board, particularly with the township’s biggest budget item, the police force, but also health care costs and upcoming employee contracts.

“Paint Township should only be paying its share for police – nothing more,” Zeglin said.

Tallyen, a retiree who worked years delivering bread for Stroehmann Bakeries, said he hopes to get a regional department in place.

He indicated this is his first foray into politics but said he’s making a run to make  that happen – and to help “balance” Paint’s issues.

Shaffer, a Republican, worked 12 years as president of Shaffer Asphalt. He now works as a delivery driver for Shaffer Oil, a company unrelated to the asphalt business.

“The damage has been done with the tax increase. What we have to do now is go in and trim some of the fat off the budget,” Shaffer said.

Clark, who could not be reached for comment, is a retiree. He frequently attends  township meetings and is a watchdog of township finances who has been critical of the current board’s spending.

Somerset Elections Director Tina Pritts said all five are expected to be on the May ballot unless they formally withdraw by Wednesday.

Deadlines for new entries and petition challenges have passed, she noted.

Winners of the May 21 Democratic and Republican primaries will face off for the seat in November.