York City police investigating suspicious deaths

Mayor's racist posts prompt West York Borough forum

STAFF REPORT, York Dispatch

In the wake of recent coverage regarding racist posts on social media by their mayor, West York officials will hold a community forum regarding race relations and local government on Saturday, according to a statement from borough council and law enforcement personnel.

West York Mayor Charles Wasko.

On Wednesday, The York Dispatch reported that West York Mayor Charles Wasko, who was elected mayor in 2013, has posted several pictures on Facebook this year that council members took issue with: Two compared President Barack Obama and his family to apes, and one suggested Obama should be hanged with a nooseAnother 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."

Wasko didn't respond to multiple messages from The York Dispatch seeking comment Wednesday and Thursday. The Associated Press was able to get a hold of him briefly Thursday; he told the organization he'd have more to say soon about what he called the "witch hunt" against him.

"The elected officials and law enforcement personnel of West York Borough are disturbed and outraged that the borough mayor would make such offensive comments regarding race, ethnicity and gender in any forum, let alone social media," reads the statement, issued to media members Thursday night.

"We would like to assure the borough’s residents and others that these views are not representative of the rest of the elected officials and law enforcement officials serving West York Borough."

The council and law enforcement are "taking every opportunity to explore how to legally remove him from office," according to the statement.

West York mayor faces censure but not removal

Nikki Suchanic, director of the York County elections office, said on Thursday that the council and courts have no inherent power to remove the mayor from his official post.

The forum will be held 4-5 p.m. at Borough Hall, 1381 W. Poplar St. Residents are encouraged to take the opportunity to share concerns with elected officials.