Wolf calls for West York mayor's resignation

Sean Philip Cotter

Gov. Tom Wolf has called on West York Mayor Charles Wasko to resign, saying, as local officials and residents have, that the mayor's Facebook posts are racist.

West York Mayor Charles Wasko.

Jeff Sheridan, a spokesman for the the office of Wolf, a York County Democrat, released a statement on the governor's behalf Tuesday evening.

“The actions of the West York mayor are beyond reprehensible, and Governor Wolf believes he should absolutely resign immediately," Sheridan wrote in an email. "The mayor’s comments are shameful and racist, and this kind of bigotry has no place in society, let alone government. If the Senate initiates the mayor’s removal, Governor Wolf will support their efforts.”

West York council, residents want mayor out

Wasko, who was elected mayor in 2013, has made several posts on Facebook this year that council members and community members took issue with. 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."

In this file photo, Gov. Tom Wolf talks with the media after a tour at York City School District's Ferguson K-8 on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. He was at the school as part of his Schools That Teach tour. Bill Kalina photo

The post with the noose appears to have been removed, but the others remain up on his public Facebook page.

West York mayor faces censure but not removal

At its meeting Monday night, West York borough council unanimously censured the mayor and advised the borough's solicitor to look for "any means possible" to remove him from office. Those motions came after a parade of locals spoke for an hour and a half, almost all calling the mayor's posts on Facebook racist and unacceptable.

Borough council president Shawn Mauck has said the council doesn't have the power to force the mayor to resign, but he wishes the board did have that power.

Sheridan noted that if it's deemed that there's "due cause" for Wasko's removal and two-thirds of the state Senate votes in favor of it, Wasko can be ousted.

West Yorkers talk race, the future after mayor's posts

Wasko has not answered repeated calls from The York Dispatch in the days since the paper broke the story last Wednesday. Wasko did post on Facebook on Thursday that he won't be "politically correct."

Wasko's position is up for election next year.

— Sean Cotter covers York City for The York Dispatch. Contact him atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.