York City Council to start 2018 with two empty seats

Jason Addy
York Dispatch

After wrapping up its 2017 legislative session Tuesday, Dec. 19, the York City Council is entering a season of change and restructuring.

When the council gathers for its next meeting at the start of 2018, two of the council’s five seats will be vacant.

Michael Helfrich wins the York City Mayor's race ousting C.Kim Bracey who served two terms, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Those vacancies will prompt a mini-election, with council members Henry Nixon, Sandie Walker and Judy Ritter-Dickson voting on who will replace York City Council President Michael Helfrich and eight-year Councilwoman Renee Nelson when her term expires.

Helfrich will vacate his seat when he takes the oath of office Tuesday, Jan. 2, to become York City’s next mayor.

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The second vacancy will open as a result of November’s municipal election. Three seats on the council were up for grabs, but only two candidates appeared on the ballots after Ritter-Dickson won the Democratic primary for a two-year term and a four-year term.

Nixon and Ritter-Dickson secured re-election, but Ritter-Dickson will have to choose which seat to take, opening a vacancy for the other.

Latino representation: With one of his last comments from behind the York City Council bench, Helfrich urged Latino city residents to apply for the upcoming openings, as they are more than a third of the city’s population.

Nixon echoed those calls for Latino representation on the council, adding that any candidates who apply for the position should be ready to spend a lot of time and energy in the position.

“I’d like to see Latino representation on council and anybody else that is qualified,” Nixon said. “The most important thing to me is a person who is willing to devote the time and effort — being prepared for meetings is very important.”

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Once the vacancies are officially opened at the beginning of January, City Council will begin accepting applications and resumes from city residents.

Applicants can submit resumes to City Council Clerk Dianna Thompson-Mitchell once the vacancies officially open early next month.

Each of the three council members will then select one or two candidates to interview during a council meeting at York City Hall. Once those interviews are conducted, the council will vote on its two new members.

When a vacancy opened in November 2016 following Carol Hill-Evans' election to the state House, the council received 17 applications from residents interested in the seat.

Ritter-Dickson was unanimously chosen two weeks later by the council after five candidates were interviewed.