Anonymous Shelby campaign mailer distorts the facts

Posted 21 June 2021 at 10:43 am


This past Saturday, June 19th, in the mail were found two postcards, which pertained to this Tuesday’s Republican primary for councilmen in the Town of Shelby.

The first was a typical post card introducing the candidate and his views, some promises if elected, some pictures. Totally usual campaign information, and something one would expect during a cleanly run primary race.

The second was a big-city type slick attack ad. The timing of the mailing was perfect, it came out just a few days before the Tuesday primary, and grouped two of our hard-working Town of Shelby councilmen with city slick lawyers. The timing makes it hard to mount a defense against unmerited claims, accusations and distortions of the facts.

Whoever produced and approved this ad must have been ashamed of their work because after making fun of councilmen William Bacon and Stephen Seitz, and condemning the entire board, the producers forgot to tell us who they were. So, the anonymous ad producer included some partially correct information but were not brave enough to take credit for their slick mailing.

The reverse of the mailing had a chart comparing the budgeted amounts for legal expenses in the Town of Shelby compared to costs from other nearby towns. The information regarding the Town of Shelby was FOILED (sought via Freedom of Information Act) by Ed Zelazny, one of the primary candidates, a month or so ago. So, while there is no proof who did this mailing the information must have come from Mr. Zelazny because we did not have other FOILs for this information.

The mailing basically said the Town of Shelby board, including Councilmen Seitz and Bacon are spending too much on legal fees, and that we spend more on lawyers than road repair.

In 2020 our actual legal expenses were about $73,000. We spent about $154,000 of town funds on road repair. In 2021 we have budgeted $160,000 for road repairs and expect to spend the entire amount. The legal budget line is $127,500, but we hope the actual spending will be less than for 2020. Unused amounts from any line item get rolled into the next years’ budget and keep tax increases down.

Back to the attack mailing. It is quite a stunning accusation that the board is overspending on legal fees when a substantial amount of the legal fees can be attributed to defending the Town of Shelby against repeated lawsuits brought by Mr. Zelazny and his family.

There is one other lawsuit against the town costing money, and we are also getting legal counsel regarding the solar, wind and STAMP projects which affect Shelby’s legal costs. If all these uncommon items were taken out, our legal fees would be similar or less than Ridgeway’s.

We have a new highway superintendent, Dale Root, and myself as new town supervisor. With both having one year of experience we are working with the board to formulate a five-year plan for road repairs. Councilmen Bacon and Seitz are on the roads committee, and with Dale laid out plans in March for road repairs. This included repairs to Martin and Fletcher Chapel Roads.  Damage to Bigford and Sour Springs Roads made it necessary to revise the plans.

Please feel free to contact me or any other board member to get the real facts about these situations. The entire board is working hard to do the best it can for the residents of Shelby. We all live, work, and pay taxes here, too. The board is trying to run a more efficient town. Our budget workshops are open to all.

Please get out and vote this Tuesday. Find out the facts and don’t be deceived by a slick attack ad produced by someone unwilling to sign their work.

Jeff Smith

Shelby Town Supervisor