Chronister leaves York County commissioners

Greg Gross

Not one for  fanfare or overt recognition, outgoing York County Commissioner Steve Chronister attempted to halt the parade of well-wishers who highlighted his time in office at the end of his last commissioner's meeting Wednesday.

Not even the gavel worked.

"I was going to stand up here and rattle off a huge list of accomplishments," Carl Lindquist, the county spokesman, said before turning the microphone over to the larger-than-normal crowd in the commissioner's meeting room.

Nearly everyone who spoke, mainly heads of county departments or elected officials, acknowledged they didn't always see eye to eye with Chronister on issues  — but they appreciated his willingness to hear both sides.

"There was never any party politics," said York County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh.

After the meeting, Chronister said he was caught off guard by the honors but appreciated the kind words.

"I don't look forward to this kind of stuff," he said.

What they said: All who spoke also said Chronister, who is leaving after 12 years in office, has made the county, and particularly county government better. The long-time Republican lost the November election to commissioner-elect Susan Byrnes after he ran as an Independent.

"You have a big heart and you were always trying to do the right thing for the community," said Barb Bair, the county treasurer. "I think we've done a lot of good for the county. I want to thank you for that."

Former U.S. congressman and current court of common pleas Judge Todd Platts recalled the time he and Chronister were playing in a charity golf tournament.  Chronister, a former golf pro, gave the novice Platts a few pointers before Platts took his next swing. But the advice was all for naught, Platts said.

Platts hooked the golf ball and hit an attorney who was working with the county at the time, he said.

"My golf game still stinks," Platts said.

The light-hearted banter between Chronister and those who spoke seemed to highlight good working relationships that were forged.

"I have a good room for you," York County Prison warden Mary Sabol, joked.

Family: But it was also serious at times.

"As you leave office you should take great pride in your service," Platts told Chronister.

Despite the high praise, Chronister pointed out running county government was a team effort.

"I think the biggest part of this job was hiring the right employees and I think we've done that," Chronister said.

He also said he and his fellow commissioners faced trials and tribulations while in office. Most recently when they had to address a budget that included a 14 percent tax increase.

Chronister, as he did nearly every week for the past 8 years he's served as president commissioner,  uttered three words that brought the meeting to an end.

"Commissioner's meeting adjourned," Chronister said one last time.

— Reach Greg Gross at