York City Council pulls Given confirmation, OKs Ray as business admin

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

The York City Council on Tuesday indefinitely delayed a confirmation vote for Philip Given to the post of director of community and economic development before unanimously approving another department head.

The City Council pulled Given's confirmation from its agenda Tuesday, Dec. 3, without scheduling it for another date. However, council members without hesitation approved acting business administrator Tom Ray, making him the official department head as of Jan. 1.

Ray's salary as business administrator will be $100,000. His salary as acting business administrator was $95,000.

"Council is not prepared to consider that appointment at this time," Nixon said of Given, declining to comment further.

More:Helfrich sends two dept. heads to York City Council for confirmation

Philip Given, York City chief of staff, is serving as the interim director of economic and community development (Photo courtesy of York City).

Given has had his hands full in Mayor Michael Helfrich's administration. He had served as the mayor's chief of staff since 2018 but was tasked in April with handling economic development amid a string of vacancies.

If Given were to be confirmed, he would see a pay raise, topping his salary off at $73,500 annually. He made $57,400 as chief of staff, which was raised to $69,279 upon him taking on the acting director role.

Given's confirmation would leave the city with no more acting department heads, a point of contention during Helfrich's tenure. The mayor has come under fire for allegedly circumventing the council, as acting department heads don't require council approval.

Tom Ray, right, talks with an attendee before a York City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. The council approved appointment of Ray to head the city's business administration department during the meeting. Bill Kalina photo

Helfrich said Wednesday he is still confident the council will confirm Given after budget season. He declined to comment further.

The mayor's push to officially fill the positions followed significant turnover in both the community and economic development and business administration departments.

Earlier this year, the economic and community development department went through two acting directors in three months, which led to Given taking over.

The business administration department lost its chief in July 2018. In September 2018, the council scuttled Helfrich's suggested replacement by putting off a vote. Ray, the No. 2 choice, then came on board in January. 

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