Helfrich appoints new acting business administrator for York City

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
Thomas Ray was appointed the acting business administrator of York City on Tuesday, Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of York City)

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich appointed a new acting city business administrator after his pick for a permanent administrator was stalled by the city council at a Jan. 2 meeting. 

Deputy business administrator for human resources Thomas Ray will assume the acting business administrator role, the administration announced in a news release on Tuesday, Jan. 15. 

Tommy Williams, who had been serving as acting business administrator since August 2018, when former business administrator Michael Doweary resigned, will return to his role as deputy business administrator, according to the release. 

The appointment of an acting business administrator is not subject to council approval, Council President Henry Nixon said. 

Helfrich said Ray will serve as acting business administrator for about a year.

"I'm giving him time to kind of show us what he's got," Helfrich said. "Before we make a permanent decision, we want to get through the audit process and the budget process for 2019." 

Helfrich said Williams did not apply for the position. 

Second choice: Helfrich said Ray was the administration's second choice, behind W. Glenn Steckman III.

Steckman's appointment was up for council approval on the Jan. 2 city council agenda, but the vote was pulled from the agenda that night. 

Helfrich said at the time that the delay was due to human resources working on getting information to council members regarding Steckman. 

Steckman was the former managing director for the city of Reading and was fired the week of Sept. 18, according to the Reading Eagle. 

The day after his termination, Steckman held a news conference saying the city of Reading "is now unstable," according to the Reading Eagle, which didn't report Steckman or Reading Mayor Wally Scott as giving a reason for the termination.  

Helfrich previously said Steckman was the most qualified candidate out of 27 applications the city received. 

'Probably, very capable': According to Helfrich, Ray brings a "wealth of knowledge" to the administration, particularly in the fields of employment law, departmental operating budgets and labor relations. 

Nixon said Ray "is probably, very capable."

"We'll certainly see whether he can fill Michael Doweary's shoes," Nixon said. 

Ray, an Oklahoma native, has more than 35 yeas of municipal government experience and has been employed by the City of York since April 2010, according to the release. 

"I am very excited to be part of Mayor Helfrich's Cabinet and more importantly working with the mayor, department directors, city council and citizens to make the City of York a thriving hub for the area," Ray said in the release.