York City Mayor Kim Bracey has signed a contract with an interim business administrator.

Michael Johnson will temporarily fill the void left by Michael O'Rourke, who held the position for 14 years but said he resigned last month at Bracey's request.

According to the contract provided by the city controller's office, the city will pay Johnson at a rate of $75 per hour.

The total cost cannot exceed $42,000, according to the agreement.

The contract does not specify how many hours per week Johnson will work. However, to reach the $42,000 maximum at a rate of $75 per hour, Johnson would work the equivalent of 14 40-hour weeks.

The hourly rate is significantly higher than O'Rourke's rate of about $53 per hour. O'Rourke earned an annual salary of $110,250.

Johnson's contract with the city went into effect April 21 and will expire Dec. 31. Either party can cancel at any time with a 10-day notice, and it could be extended beyond Dec. 31 if both parties agree.

Bracey did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

On the agenda: Last week, she said she would discuss the appointment at Tuesday's York City Council meeting.

Councilman Michael Helfrich said he trusts that Johnson, who has a banking background, will do a good job. Johnson served as treasurer for Helfrich's 2011 election campaign.

"He's got a good, solid skill set," Helfrich said.

Council President Carol Hill-Evans said it is her understanding the city will pay Johnson as a contractor with money budgeted for "other professional services."

She said she views the $42,000 agreement as "a good deal."

But, Hill-Evans said, she hopes the contract with Johnson does not delay the search for a permanent business administrator.

"We want to get the best person in there that we can. I know it's going to take some time. I just hope that we can do it as quickly as possible," Hill-Evans said.

Background: Bracey originally characterized O'Rourke's departure as a voluntary resignation that went into effect April 14.

However, last week, O'Rourke said the mayor showed up at his house Sunday, April 13, and asked for his resignation. The next day, O'Rourke said, his email and building access were shut off.

According to a separation agreement, O'Rourke will remain on the city payroll until Aug. 31, collecting a paycheck for his accrued but unused vacation time.

Then, when O'Rourke's retirement goes into effect Sept. 1, the city will pay O'Rourke for his remaining vacation time of 1,060 hours.

Taken together, that amounts to more than 46 weekly paychecks. That means the city will pay him more than $97,000 in vacation time.

Job duties: According to Johnson's contract, the search for a replacement will be one of Johnson's responsibilities.

In the agreement, he is tasked with establishing a search and recruitment committee "to obtain qualified and capable candidates to fill the vacant" position.

Johnson's other responsibilities include management of the business administration department; oversight and management of city finances; evaluation and possible negotiation of proposed agreements; coordination with the state Department of Community and Economic Development on the Early Intervention Process related to York's "financially distressed" status; coordination with the mayor and city staff on a municipal asset and facility review; and coordination with the mayor and city staff on inter-municipal discussions of cost-sharing and regionalization.

Even though the mayor is not required to seek the council's approval of the appointment, Hill-Evans said she is glad the mayor has decided to appear at Tuesday's meeting to introduce Johnson.

"I think it's a courtesy, and it's a good move, for her to bring him forward rather than just putting him in that position," she said.

The council's meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. with public comment, followed by the legislative session at 7 p.m.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.