LOCAL

Wrightsville's mayor, elected last November, gets a phone — but not yet an office

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

Wrightsville's elected officials agreed to provide its mayor, who was elected last November, with an office in borough hall.

But the final say belongs to the borough's water and sewer authority.

"Now I have to wait for the authority meeting for them to say yes or no," said Mayor Tayne Slenker, a Democrat who had gone without an office, a phone extension and a cell phone since she narrowly defeated the incumbent mayor, Republican Michael Albert, last year.

Three weeks ago, the mayor and several residents questioned the council on the lack of a mayoral office. At the council's Oct. 3 meeting, the elected officials voted in favor of letting Slenker use the conference room attached to the council chambers as her office. Council also approved the issuance of a cell phone.

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"Two people said no, they didn't want me to get an office," Slenker said.

According to borough officials, the office vote is still not a done deal. It must now be approved by Wrightsville's municipal authority, the group that handles the borough's water and sewer systems.

Why?

The authority — not the borough — owns borough hall.

Laurie Harmer, the municipal authority office manager, said the authority took out the original loan to purchase the building and has allowed the borough offices to operate there. According to property records, the authority bought the building for $500,000 in 2006 from Electro Plater of York Inc.

Wrightsville Borough Mayor Tayne Slenker looks through paperwork during a regular council meeting at the Wrightsville Borough Municipal Building in Wrightsville, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Council President Joseph Giandalia has said that the authority has the final say over whether the mayor gets an office. The two-story brick building off Water Street currently holds various offices used by the borough treasurer, secretary and another administrator.

Despite being separate entities and operating on separate budgets, the municipal authority and the borough often work together. Several current borough council members served as municipal authority officers — which, like the council, has a seven-member board.

That includes Brian Lyle, a council member who also serves the authority's general manager. Lyle was one of the two members — alongside Eric White, a previous borough council president — who voted against giving Slenker an office at the Oct. 3 meeting.

Lyle did not respond to a request for comment.

White said he voted against giving Slenker an office because he didn't know if it would make a good environment for the other employees working in the borough building. He noted that during the six years he served as council president, the previous mayor never had an office in the municipal building.

The issue of whether Wrightsville's mayor gets her own office will be taken up at Thursday's municipal authority meeting, scheduled for 4 p.m. at Borough Hall, 601 Water Street.

Meanwhile, Slenker will at least get a phone. The borough secretary has already ordered a cell phone the mayor can use instead of taking resident calls on her personal phone.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.