West York council president asks police chief to remove mayor from meeting

Jana Benscoter
York Dispatch
Council President Mary Wagner asked that Mayor Mauck be removed from council's meeting Monday, June 4. (Jana Benscoter)

West York Borough Council’s regular meeting came to a grinding halt Monday, June 4, when the council president asked the borough police chief to remove the mayor.

That didn't happen, according to Chief Matt Millsaps, who said he was responding to another incident when he was summoned to the council meeting.

When he arrived, the chief said, he heard Mayor Shawn Mauck calmly reading aloud, which prompted him to ask what had happened.  

What happened? About an hour and 15 minutes into the meeting, Council President Mary Wagner had called on Mauck to deliver the mayor's report. 

The mayor prefaced his report by saying he wanted to be “professional,” and then directed his attention to former Mayor Charles Wasko, who was forced to resign in 2016 because of racist Facebook posts but who still regularly attends council meetings.

Mauck began to say, the “former mayor has come in here for the last year and a half ...” 

That’s when Wagner’s gavel came down.

“Stop now. Stop,” she said, and then called for Millsaps. "We're not listening to any of it."  

Despite Wagner's edict, Mauck tried to continue with his report, which included him reading two letters that updated council members on the work being done within the borough, he later explained. 

After Millsaps arrived, Wagner had already adjourned the public meeting, and the council was going into an executive session behind closed doors.

When asked on Tuesday, June 5, why she adjourned the meeting, Wagner said, "no comment." 

Unsure: Millsaps — who had been at the council meeting before he was called away on the other incident — appeared unsure of why he was summoned back.

“I guess it was the perception of one member or more that Mauck was saying something that could be inflammatory or could be adversarial that would lead me to believe there was an imminent threat to everyone’s safety,” he said later.

Millsaps said the reason he attends council meetings is to "maintain an orderly meeting" and to ensure that the public and elected officials are protected.

He said he was going to follow up with the borough solicitor on how he should handle such a situation should it occur again. 

Audit: Before Mauck's report, Wasko spoke during public comment. Wagner also asked him to stop when he continued to pepper Mauck with questions about alleged missing borough money and council meeting minutes that haven't been made available to the public. 

In March, the former mayor encouraged council members to conduct a forensic audit. They voted 6-1 to research how much it would cost to hire an outside firm to conduct it. Council member Alan Vandersloot voted no.

Borough Manager Linda Diaz said at the Monday meeting she would try to have an auditor attend the next borough council meeting — Monday, June 18 — to educate members on a forensic audit. 

A forensic audit is used to examine and evaluate specific financial information and can be used as evidence in court, borough solicitor Mieke Driscoll has said.

Letters: Mauck provided The York Dispatch with the two letters he was attempting to read during his report to council. 

According to one letter addressed to council members, Mauck said the borough's ability to accurately account for its financial reporting, meet annual audit deadlines and finalize a resolution for Millsaps' pension are of high importance among other issues.

In the second letter, addressed to state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Mauck reiterated there are several areas the borough needs to focus on, including: poor governance; poor transparency; the sale of the sanitary sewer system and management of collected past-due fees; and poor banking practices, where the use of multiple accounts have cost the borough $24,000 in annual interest. 

“Also, despite my insistence of the adoption of written internal controls and procedures since 2016, the borough has failed to adopt any of substance,” Mauck wrote.

The borough has a "shrinking fund balance," which could warrant state oversight if it's not managed properly, he continued. 

“I had sincerely hoped council would get its act together, but I do not see any end to the dysfunction," Mauck's letter concluded.