Residents of York City who speak Spanish as a first language will soon have an advocate in City Hall.
Mayor Kim Bracey said she plans to hire a full-time Latino services coordinator in the near future.
Bracey first announced her intention to create the position in September at the Latino Summit, an annual policy workshop and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Bracey said a visit to a city school opened her eyes to York's growing Hispanic population — and the need to help families overcome language-barrier challenges.
"I'm trying to really reach out and also show the importance of inclusion," Bracey said.
Bracey said she hopes to have hired someone for the position within the next few months.
The reasons: Some cities, like Lancaster, have strong organizations that bridge the gap between government and Spanish speakers. But York lacks an organization with the necessary resources to do that job, Bracey said.
"So we need to do something to help this community," she said.
The mayor said city employees occasionally encounter Spanish speakers who have opened businesses or completed construction projects without first acquiring the proper licenses and permits.
"With a little bit of help, they may have done it the right way," Bracey said. "I just believe that there needed to be more of a connection for these folks."
Previously: This is the mayor's second attempt at hiring a person for the job.
A part-time worker filled the position between November and February.
Bracey said she's made the qualifications more rigorous and changed the job description to include an emphasis on information-gathering that can help the city determine the Hispanic community's needs — including whether a position in City Hall is one of them.
Bracey said she wants to find out if her instinct about the need for the position is based in reality.
"I'm going to need some data to support this ongoing work of the position," she said.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.