North York Borough Council keeps vacant seat in the family
- Jamie Moore was appointed to fill the vacant seat left by the resignation of her mother, Sandra Hinkle.
- Moore's husband, Councilman Doug Moore, cast the deciding vote for his wife to take the position.
The North York Borough Council filled its final vacancy Tuesday night by appointing a familiar face, causing the meeting to end in acrimony.
Four candidates were interviewed for the position, but none earned enough support to take a seat on the board after the initial round of nominations.
After some private discussion in an executive session closed to the public, the council appointed Jamie Moore to serve until the end of the year. Moore replaces her mother, Sandra Hinkle, on the council.
Hinkle officially resigned from the council Jan. 11, almost a month after a borough resident started a petition calling for her to step down over crass comments she made to him for filming a meeting.
Hinkle initially tendered her resignation Dec. 20 on the condition that Councilman Bill Jackson also step down. The council accepted her resignation three weeks later, after she dropped her demand.
Moore was the only candidate to receive more than two votes during the initial round of nominations. However, the 3-2 vote in favor of appointing her to the board did not constitute a majority of the six sitting members, after her husband, Councilman Doug Moore, abstained from casting a vote on her nomination.
John Elliott, the borough's solicitor, advised Council President Vivian Amsbacher that Jamie Moore needed four votes to take the seat, since her husband did not abstain from voting against the other three candidates.
After Jamie Moore’s first nomination failed, the six-member council voted on each of the other three candidates, though all failed to reach a majority, with four votes against.
“Doug’s reputation and credibility leaped about 1,000 percent in my eyes by abstaining from that vote, because that’s a direct conflict of interest and everybody sitting here knows it,” North York Mayor Jerry Duncan said. “Whether it’s politically correct or not, what he did was the right thing.”
However, that was before the second round of nominations.
Unsure of how to resolve the vacancy after all four nominations were rejected, the council exited the room for a 10-minute executive session to discuss options.
When two council members returned before the others, it was clear they had made a decision.
“They’re voting her in,” Jackson said. “[It] doesn’t matter what we say.”
Re-vote: The council reconvened its meeting and again nominated Jamie Moore to fill the vacancy.
This time — along with Amspacher and council members Chris Kaltreider and Dana A’Hearn — Doug Moore voted in favor of his wife, putting her on the council.
Rick Shank, a former borough councilman and mayor who was one of the four candidates nominated Tuesday, said Doug Moore should not have been able to vote for his wife, as he receives a financial gain from her serving on the council because of the $1,750 stipend council members receive.
Jamie Moore told the council and those in attendance that she would vote in the best interests of the borough, despite what others thought.
“I’m not going to side with just one person because we’re friends. That’s not how I work,” she said. “I’m not afraid to offend people, and you know that. I’m tired of the bickering and the circus-like behavior from everybody.”
Though her comments diffused some of the tension in the room, it was not enough for the mayor. Duncan, who had earlier praised Doug Moore for abstaining, walked out without administering the oath of office to Jamie Moore, leaving the solicitor to swear her in.
After the meeting, Jamie Moore said she hopes to be a calming presence to get the council back on track after months of bickering between members and the community.
“I’m tired of the shenanigans,” she said. “I lived here all my life. I was born and raised here, grew up on North Duke Street. I’ve watched the slow decline of the borough over 10 years, and I’m just fed up with it.”
She soon will have to turn her attention toward a re-election campaign. Her seat is one of five up for election this year.