The borough of West York has a new mayor.
Shawn Mauck, who had been council president, was sworn in Friday morning, replacing Charles Wasko, who has been under fire for a month since The York Dispatch reported on community outrage because of his racist Facebook posts.
The ceremony was quick. About 11 a.m. Friday, District Judge Jennifer Clancy swore in Mauck, who placed his hand on an old Bible he'd brought and took the oath, swearing to uphold the respective constitutions of the United States and Pennsylvania and the ordinances of West York and to carry out his duties as mayor with fidelity.
And that was it. Clancy congratulated him and shook his hand, His dad, Frederick, and identical twin 3-year-old sons William and Dominick smiled, and a half-dozen news outlets' cameras clicked and filmed, documenting what appears to be the official end of a month in which West York made unwelcome national headlines.
Now-former-mayor Wasko's behavior had brought unwanted national attention to the borough with several of his posts on Facebook this year. Two compared President Barack Obama and his family to apes, and one suggested Obama should be hanged with a noose. Another post featured a fictional black person saying that socialism is "when the white folks work every day so we can get all our governmental entitlement stuff for free."
The council members on Monday voted unanimously to approve Wasko's resignation based on an email he sent them a week earlier outlining conditions that would have to be met in exchange for his resignation. One of the requests was that the council "entertain the idea" of hiring an experienced police officer of the rank of sergeant or higher who could become chief of the borough police department.
They "gladly entertained that idea ... literally within 10 minutes of receiving the letter," Mauck said at the meeting, so the council met the conditions.
At the same meeting, the council appointed Mauck to fill the remainder of Wasko's term.
"I think we finally get to turn the page on a very ugly distraction," said the new mayor after the media re-descended on him outside Clancy's offices.
As a result of the mayoral appointment, Mauck will no longer serve on the council, and the council must seat a replacement.
Right after Clancy swore in Mauck, she administered the oath for West York police officer Michael Mendez, who this week was promoted to the rank of detective. The force has eight officers and is looking to hire three more. Mendez's promotion means the department now has two detectives.
Mauck will fill the rest of Wasko's term, which ends next year. Mauck, who didn't want to talk about his longer-term plans, such as possibly seeking re-election, focused on his first 100 days as mayor. He said he wants to focus on the police department, improving community policing and working to make the borough more inviting to new businesses.
"I will work with redevelopment agencies to bring West York into the 21st century," he said.