York City Human Relations Commission to host town hall in West York
After settling into their new West York digs over the past two months, the York City Human Relations Commission and West York Borough Council will host a town hall meeting Monday, Oct. 23, about the commission’s role and responsibilities.
Borough officials planned to hold an open house several months ago to mark the commission’s move, West York Borough Councilman Alan Vandersloot said, but the move was delayed by legal and procedural hangups. The office opened in West York in August, he said.
The town hall, scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the borough building at 1381 W. Poplar St., will give West York residents an opportunity to meet their public officials and learn about how the commission can help them, Vandersloot said.
“We’re trying to be more proactive getting the information out there that West York does have services (for residents),” Vandersloot said. “The town hall is the first real way to open that door.”
Members of the York City Human Relations Commission and West York Borough Council will be joined at the town hall by other local officials, Vandersloot said, including West York Mayor Shawn Mauck and York City business administrator Michael Doweary.
Invitations have been extended to state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City, and York County’s three commissioners.
West York Director of Public Safety Matt Millsaps, who serves as the borough’s police chief and oversees the fire department, also will be on hand to answer questions from residents, Vandersloot said.
Public engagement: While the town hall will primarily focus on the Human Relations Commission, Vandersloot said he also wanted to use the opportunity to connect with residents.
“I just want the residents to know their public officials, not just borough council or the mayor,” Vandersloot said. “It’s a way to just welcome the people to the borough hall. It’s a good way to get the public more involved.”
Despite the commission now operating out of West York, the commission cannot provide the same tailored services as it does to York City residents until the borough council adopts its own anti-discrimination ordinance.
Vandersloot said he believes West York council members are open to the ordinance, though they have not yet fully explored it.
Protracted move: The York City Human Relations Commission spent about four months in limbo after leaving its office in the basement of the York County Administrative Building, where it operated for seven years.
In February, the county asked for the space back by the end of March so it could expand the county Department of Veterans Affairs.
With just a month’s notice to find a new office, West York Mayor Shawn Mauck and York City Mayor Kim Bracey announced a potential partnership March 22 that would see the commission move from the city to West York’s new borough building.
Though both mayors showed great enthusiasm for the move, both municipalities’ councils took a more measured approach when ratifying the move.
The West York Borough Council approved a temporary lease April 3 for the commission to move into its new office on the second floor of the borough building.
But before the move could be completed, the York City Council first had to update its Human Relations Commission ordinance to allow the commission to move into another York County municipality.
More than two months after the mayors’ announcement, the commission was still unable to move to West York and was forced to work out of a conference room in York City Hall.