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‘Totally disagree’: Wellsville planning chair quits after 14 years

February 20th, 2014 Posted in Opinion

By Sarah Romero

WELLSVILLE—For John Spence, it just became too much to bear. Uneven sidewalks, his own health issues and the city’s no-contract business deals pushed him too far.

John Spence, right, is stepping down. Sarah Romero photo

John Spence, right, is stepping down. Sarah Romero photo

Planning Commission Chairman John Spence announced this week that he’s resigning after more than 14 years.

Spence said his decision to resign resulted from his own health issues and his disagreements with the City Council.

“I don’t totally agree with the way the city’s going on in some areas,” he said. “I want to be taken off the planning commission. I don’t want to have anything to do with Wellsville City.”

The city recently installed a sidewalk in front of his house. Spence said he disagreed with how the city handled the $40,000 project.

“It’s a mess,” he said. “There’s a lot of money involved here and I think they’ve wasted it. I feel like they’ve done a really poor job.” (See “Muddy Mess” on Hard News Café.)

Spence said he asked the city council to inspect the sidewalks, but didn’t get much attention from them.

“The mayor said talk to Glenna. Glenna said talk to Don. Don said I don’t want anything to do with it, I washed my hands of it,” he said. “I invited Glenna and her husband to come out and see it. He’s a builder so I said if he says it looks fine then I’ll just be quiet. Neither one of them ever showed up.”

But City Council member Glenna Petersen said she did inspect the sidewalk, “To make sure what I saw and what they saw were the same thing.”

Regardless of the sidewalk’s quality, Spence says he’s concerned with the way the city is doing business. The city didn’t sign a formal contract with the contractor, which Spence says is unacceptable.

“I’ve been in business for over 40 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “We always had a contract and someone to come check the place.”

Spence said there were other issues besides the sidewalk that motivated him to resign, but he refused to give any details. “I’d as soon as leave that alone,” he said. “I don’t need any more friction in my life.”

City Councilman Kent Larsen said he was unaware of any disagreements Spence had with Wellsville City, although Spence confronted the City Council to express his concerns at a public meeting earlier this month.

“He hasn’t voiced any concerns that I know of,” he said. “We’ll miss him greatly because he had a lot of experience. He’s been with us for years.”

Mayor Thomas Bailey said he was not aware of the reasons behind Spence’s resignation either. “That was a decision he made,” he said. “I have nothing but appreciation for the service he gave the community.”


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