West York council warns mayor about using borough resources for Senate bid

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch

West York’s solicitor sent Mayor Shawn Mauck a letter warning him not to use borough resources for his state Senate campaign and demanding restitution for 1,400 photocopies.

The letter, dated March 16, was sent at the direction of the council, which had earlier met in executive session to discuss concerns Mauck used the borough copier on a Sunday in January to print campaign material.

Pennsylvania Senate candidate for the 28th District, and current West York Borough Mayor Shawn Mauck speaks during the 2018 State of the County Committee Breakfast at Wisehaven Event Center in Windsor Township, Saturday, April 7, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Mauck denied the claim but acknowledged reimbursing the borough $80 for the copies made and $10 to replace the paper.

In her letter, solicitor Margaret Driscoll noted his denial.

“When confronted, you insisted that you did not use the Borough copier for any campaign purposes and had several alternative explanations for the use of the copier on January 14, 2018,” she wrote. “You did admit to printing the two sided color document, but nothing further."

A photo of the letter West York's solicitor sent to borough Mayor Shawn Mauck.

"Based on all of the evidence at hand, however, Council was not satisfied that your explanation accounts for the use of the copier that day," she added. 

Mauck is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 28th Senate District seat being vacated by Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner, who is running for governor.

He called the allegation “sour grapes,” made by “a few people who would like to tarnish" his name ahead of the May 15 primary election.

“They are trying to disparage my character,” Mauck said.

All of his Senate campaign material has been “electronic,” he said, adding, “I don’t have any need to print anything off at the borough.”

Mauck acknowledges making copies in the borough office Jan. 14, but he says it was 700 copies each of four versions of Martin Luther King images, printed double-sided, for the sixth annual MLK Sunday Supper held that evening at Lincoln Charter School.

Mayor Shawn Mauck said he printed 700 copies of four different versions of MLK images.

Mauck attended the event, along with York City Mayor Michael Helfrich, state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, and members of the York City Council and the York County commissioners.

Although denying the allegations, Mauck said he paid the restitution to settle the matter.

Mauck’s opponent in the Democratic primary, Judith McCormick Higgins of Lower Windsor Township, said she was "disappointed" to learn of the allegation, but it was a matter between the mayor and the council.

Council member Alan Vandersloot said he believes Mauck.

“We dealt with it as a council,” he said. “We have residents coming to our meetings, where everything is a conspiracy. Unfortunately, this issue had to be dealt with, and we had our solicitor send an official letter. He paid a restitution."

West York Mayor Shawn Mauck, right, and borough Councilman Alan Vandersloot speak before York City Mayor Kim Bracey's 2017 State of the City Address at the Valencia Ballroom. April 25, 2017. Jason Addy photo.

Council President Mary Wagner and Councilman Brian Wilson declined to comment. The other council members — Annette Christine, Mildred Tavarez, Richie Stahle and Wayne Leedy — did not respond to phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Wagner, Christine, Stahle and Leedy are Republicans; Wilson, Tavarez and Vandersloot are Democrats.

The solicitor noted in her letter that if Mauck did use borough equipment for his campaign, it would be a violation of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Act.

“Council trusts that you will refrain from using any Borough resources whatsoever, including, but not limited to, copiers, printers, computers, supplies, offices, etc. to support your state Senate campaign in any way,” Driscoll wrote.