O’Rourke
O'Rourke

Michael O'Rourke, York City's tell-it-like-it-is business administrator, resigned the position he held for nearly 14 years.

O'Rourke submitted a letter of resignation, effective immediately, on Monday, Mayor Kim Bracey said.

Bracey said she accepts O'Rourke's decision. She declined to identify a reason for O'Rourke's departure, saying it is a personnel matter.

"He's done great work for the city of York," Bracey said. "We'll press on."

Bracey said she hopes to name an interim business administrator by the end of the week.

Attempts to reach O'Rourke for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.

As the city's top financial officer, O'Rourke has long served as York's go-to guy for information about the cash-strapped city's finances.

Before joining the city in 2000, O'Rourke had been an administrator in Schuylkill County since 1988.

Council surprised: Members of the York City Council expressed surprise at O'Rourke's resignation at a meeting Tuesday.

"I'm a big fan of Michael O'Rourke, and I'm sorry to see him go," Councilman David Satterlee said. "I'm shocked by it."

Satterlee said he credits O'Rourke's "sharp mind" with giving York "continued stability" in hard financial times.

The council held an executive session with the mayor at Tuesday's meeting to discuss a personnel matter.

"I'm concerned about (O'Rourke's departure), but I trust the mayor has a plan. She indicated she did," Satterlee said.

Council President Carol Hill-Evans said she was surprised by the news, but she has confidence other city employees will be able to carry the load. Hopefully, she said, the "city won't skip a beat."

Councilman Michael Helfrich said he had no information on the reasons for O'Rourke's "rapid departure."

"It was quite a surprise," he said.

Pension reform: Last week, the public learned O'Rourke and Bracey disagree about municipal pension reform.

Bracey was among a group of Democratic mayors in Harrisburg to laud a reform proposal from Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township.

O'Rourke, however, told The York Dispatch the legislation is unfair and won't pass muster with public safety unions, some of which have already taken positions against it.

In a column published Tuesday in the newspaper, Bracey wrote, "While it may not 'pass the muster' for some, most recognize a change is needed, or the choice of finding other employment is imminent."

O'Rourke received a raise just two months ago after a public spat with members of the council.

In December, he scolded council members for their "hypocritical" decision to increase the salary of one employee while denying a raise for himself and the public works director.

Later, in February, the council reversed the decision and granted O'Rourke a salary increase from $104,090 to $110,250.

Last year, city officials decided O'Rourke needed an assistant to carry part of the department's heavy workload.

They hired Michael Doweary in July to serve as the assistant business administrator.

- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.