Fedor
Fedor

In the matter of his new recreational vehicle, E. John Fedor of Springettsbury Township had a few complaints.

There were 20 of them, actually, which he fully enumerated in a directly worded yet cordial letter to the company's president.

He was not a "happy camper," he wrote, and he suggested the RV should carry a decal from the Citrus Growers Association because it was such a lemon.

The enclosed list included observations — engineering improvements and design changes — that would make him and future customers happier.

Number 16, for example, detailed openings that could allow rodents, insects, dirt, dust and moisture to enter a storage area.

"There should be some sort of rubber grommet to keep this area secure from pests," he wrote.

Few people might take the time to record a camper's shortcomings with such specificity, but Fedor's eye for detail and customer satisfaction has been highly honed after 38 years working retail and another 12 years as director of the York County Department of Assessment and Tax Claim.

The 68-year-old heads the department responsible for evaluating properties and assigning market-value assessments and collection of delinquent real estate taxes. He retires May 2.

President York County Commissioner Steve Chronister said the county will soon start the task of replacing him, which "won't be easy."

"He was certainly the right person for the job. ... He did things right, done by the books, and in taxation, that's the only way it's going to be," Chronister said.

In his retirement speech to commissioners, Fedor employed his direct style to praise his bosses for never trying to influence him to "play favoritism."

"I want to publicly thank the commissioners for keeping their nose out of our business," he said.

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Fedor rides the Rabbit Transit bus to work every day, boarding near his East York home and riding the 2.5 miles to the area of the York County Administrative Center on East Market Street.

He has a big diesel truck, but he estimates he saves $40-$60 per week by riding the bus. It's free, funded by the state's lottery, because he's a senior citizen. Fedor said he considers it a return on his investment playing the lottery.

Fedor's parsimony continues with a carried lunch, leftovers prepared by wife Mary Ann Fedor. He tells people they have been happily married for 38 years. (They have been married a total of 43.)

Fedor pores over papers and spreadsheets for hours per day, reviewing records and researching numbers related to home sales, appraisals and tax assessment appeals. The past few years have been especially busy after the housing market tanked and the number of people filing assessment appeals increased.

The day is also filled by responding to emails and fielding phone calls, as it is his name listed at the bottom of about 10,000 delinquent tax notices every year.

"It's not an easy process, dealing with irate taxpayers," he said.

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Fedor said he'll miss the job and the people, and the view of one of York City's murals from his first-floor office window.

The new free time will allow extra hours at his tax preparation business, as well as more time for ballroom and polka dancing with his wife, he said.

Fedor is also Exalted Hibernator of the York Slumbering Groundhog Lodge at the Elks Lodge on North George Street. Every year on Groundhog's Day, the group summons an otherworldly weather forecast from a taxidermy groundhog that members had stuffed after it died 22 years ago.

Elks is a "wonderful organization," he said, and he and his wife are planning to visit different lodges across the United States as they take to the road in the RV.

The camper has been, since his original letter, sent back to the factory in Indiana for a makeover that included a complimentary air conditioner and a gray water tank for the galley.

"They did all the checkpoint items," he said. "Now I enjoy my RV immensely."