York City never listed police commissioner post, pulled candidate from old pool

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Osborne "Moe " Robinson III was announced as the next York City Police Chief, replacing retiring chief Troy Bankert, during a press conference at York City Hall Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. Osborne will work with Bankert starting in October and become chief in January. Bill Kalina photo

York City never posted a job advertisement when searching for a new leader of the police force, but Mayor Michael Helfrich said Wednesday he wasn't concerned about another flare-up in response to his hiring practices.

City officials on Tuesday announced Osborne "Moe" Robinson III, the deputy chief of the Reading Police, would take over the department in January. The candidate was hand-picked by retiring York City Police Chief Troy Bankert.

When reached Wednesday, Helfrich said there was never a job listing for the post despite recent controversy partially stemming from the city's failure to adequately advertise new positions.

There isn't concern this time around because it isn't uncommon to rely on searches instead of job advertisements when looking for such high-level positions, and there is no guideline requiring a job listing, he said. 

"To be able to bring him here was an impossible opportunity to turn down," Helfrich said of Robinson's appointment.

More:Reading deputy chief to succeed Bankert in York City

In May, the administration was hit with a wave of criticism after the appointment of Blanda Nace as chief opportunity development officer. The position was only advertised for seven days.

Unlike the Nace appointment, Robinson's appointment requires City Council approval. Council President Henry Nixon did not respond Wednesday to inquiries for comment.

The council's confirmation vote has not yet been scheduled. 

Instead of a large-scale search for new candidates, Robinson was chosen from an existing pool of candidates gathered before the city appointed Bankert as chief. Internal candidates were also considered but were reluctant to move within city limits to meet the job's residency requirement, according to a Wednesday news release.

Local and regional media outlets initially reported Robinson was taking over as chief rather than as commissioner, which could have broken city code that states chief candidates must "be designated from the force."

When asked about Robinson's future job title, Ricky Quintero, the mayor's executive administrator, advised The York Dispatch to wait for a police news release, as the mayor and Philip Given, acting director of community and economic development, were out of the office.

A news release on Wednesday confirmed Robinson will take over as police commissioner in January instead of chief. He will first come on board as a police administrative adviser in October to familiarize himself with the area before the City Council votes on his appointment.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.