For the first time in a year, the York City Human Relations Commission has an investigator on the payroll.

Tonya Thompson-Morgan, who currently works in the city's economic and community development department, will start in her new role Monday.

Karen Rollins-Fitch, the HRC's acting chairwoman, said the commission received about 70 applications and interviewed 10 candidates.

Thompson-Morgan, who worked previously for the HRC, emerged the most qualified applicant, she said.

"We wanted someone that knew the community," Rollins-Fitch said. "We wanted someone that had some experience in investigation, which she does."

The HRC is a board of volunteers that oversees a quasi-independent department charged with investigating allegations of discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations in the city.

The past year: A year ago, the commission fired its executive director and paid an attorney to produce a report auditing several years of commission casework. The report has never been released to the public.

Under increased public scrutiny, the commission steadily lost volunteers in the months that followed.

A rebuilding process has been underway since.

The HRC will pay Thompson-Morgan $18.25 per hour, according to Patricia Siebert, the city's Right to Know officer.

Thompson-Morgan first will be tasked with resolving about a dozen cases opened before the director's firing, Rollins-Fitch said.

"It's time," Rollins-Fitch said. "I think that the HRC is ready to pick up and move forward with handling the cases that we still have that are kind of on hold."

New cases: Then, the commission can start taking on new cases again.

For nearly a year, new cases have been referred to the state Human Relations Commission.

According to the job description, Thompson-Morgan "will interpret federal, state and local civil rights laws, regulations and review complaints to determine if civil rights laws have been violated. This is technical and sensitive public contact work investigating alleged discrimination against individuals in employment, housing and public accommodations."

The job was advertised on the city's website, www.yorkcity.org. The full-time position required a person with a bachelor's degree and several years of investigative experience.

"We're excited to have her. I think it'll be a great working relationship," Rollins-Fitch said. "She's ready. We're ready."

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.