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Councilman clashes with new mayor over mix-up

After checking poll totals on election night, then Mayor-elect David Flick posed for this picture outside what he thought would become his new office in the McKees Rocks borough building.


By Jamie Wiggan

Councilman Nick Radoycis berated new mayor David Flick during a recent public meeting for penning a letter to the tax collector requesting she vacate her office for him.

“This is as threatening a letter as I’ve ever read,” Radoycis said during a Jan. 25 meeting. “...This sounds like a bully flexing his muscles.”

The letter – read aloud by Radoycis during the meeting – did not contain any threatening language, but stated, “I need to ask you to move anything relating to the office of McKees Rocks Borough Tax Collector and any personal items out of the Mayor's office space by the end of business on January 28th. My apologies for any inconvenience.”

Flick said he mistakenly thought Tax Collector Tracey Pedersen’s spacious office nearer to the building entrance was reserved for the mayor, and so he requested use of it after struggling to settle into a smaller space provided for him behind the council chambers.

He also acknowledged he should havedirected his request to the council president first, but said he was at the time unaware of the relevant procedures.

“I made a mistake sending that message to [Tax Collector Tracey Pedersen],” Flick said. “I should have sent that message to [Council President Archie Brinza], that’s the procedure.”

Radoycis – who had served for several decades in the fire department and zoning board before arriving on council – said Pedersen’s office has always been used by the tax collector. Prior to Flick’s predecessor, Jack Muhr, the mayor used an office currently occupied by the borough manager, Radoycis added.

Despite Muhr opting to share the main reception office with the borough’s administrative assistants, his name was marked on the external entrance to Pedersen’s office until he left office in December.

While taking responsibility for his errors, Flick suggested the situation may have been avoided if council members had been more communicative with him since he took office Jan. 1. He offered to open up further conversations with fellow officials or staff and promised to listen “with an open heart and an open mind.”

“The reality is, without one-on-one transactions, we’re in big trouble,” Flick said.

A political newcomer, Flick won his seat following a head to head with Muhr, whose bid for a sixth term was supported by a majority of councilmembers including President Brinza. After sending the letter, Flick said he had a productive phone call with Brinza lasting for an hour.

After hearing Flick’s account, Radoycis withdrew a motion he was prepared to enter to formally maintain the current allocations of staff offices, and said the situation emphasized the need for a new building.

“This building is horribly obsolete,” he said. “The responsibilities [of the borough] have amplified beyond the four walls of this building.” Council has begun exploring grant opportunities to help fund construction costs for a new headquarters.

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