A dozen people waited more than 45 minutes Monday for the start of a York City Human Relations Commission meeting that never happened.
For critics of the commission - including Stephanie Seaton, the commission's executive director placed on administrative leave last year - the apparently canceled meeting was just the latest in a recent string of disappointing decisions.
"I just think there's a lack of accountability and lack of respect for the community," Seaton said.
The volunteer commission, which oversees a quasi-independent city department authorized to investigate allegations of discrimination, placed Seaton on leave Nov. 19. They cited a lack of confidence in the accuracy of her monthly reports.
In December, the board hired attorney Sean Summers to conduct an independent audit of the commission's casework dating back three years.
Days later, the commission's chairwoman, Dolores Abreu, submitted a resignation letter to Mayor Kim Bracey. Abreu followed in the footsteps of several other commissioners who have resigned over the past year.
York City's ordinance authorizes 11 members. Abreu's resignation left the commission with just six members - one of whom continues to serve despite a technically expired term.
The commission is supposed to meet the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. They did not meet in January.
Monday's meeting was confirmed as part of the 2013 schedule in an email last week from the commission's administrative intake support specialist.
But none of the six commissioners ever showed up - a frustrating reality for city resident Tina Hunter.
"I feel like they just shooed me off as a citizen," Hunter said.
Iris Ferber said she skipped her granddaughter's dance class to attend the meeting that never happened.
"I think it's very disrespectful," she said. "I think that's a smack in the face."
Reached by phone, commission treasurer Ralph Serpe declined to comment about the meeting. He referred questions to Bracey, who could not be reached Monday night.
Commissioners are appointed by the mayor.
Manuel Gomez, who regularly attends HRC meetings, called Monday's no-show a "new low" for the embattled commission. Gomez, a Libertarian candidate for the York City Council, said it's another reason to lack confidence in the board.
"They are not fulfilling the duties of the Human Relations Commission," Gomez said.
Aaron Anderson, a Democratic candidate for the council, attended Monday's meeting for a crash course in HRC but instead spent an hour waiting around.
"This commission exists because of city ordinance," Anderson said. "If you're going to have the city ordinance, we need to make sure that we're doing what's necessary to fulfill the ordinance."
The commission's next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 18 at 7 p.m.- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.