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Monday's York City Council town hall meeting addressing the controversial appointment of Blanda Nace and the economic development department is expected to be informal and community focused.

The town hall scheduled for 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers will come after the public and council's scrutiny of Mayor Michael Helfrich's decision to appoint Nace as chief opportunity development officer without council approval last month.

"The purpose of the town hall is to hear from the community, specifically about the hiring of Blanda Nace and the economic development department," Nixon said. "I want this to be as informal as possible and provide an opportunity for people to express their concerns."

More: York City Council wants answers about Nace's appointment

More: LETTER: 42 criticize York City Mayor Helfrich's appointments

Last month, Nace abruptly ended his bid for a seat on the York County Board of Commissioners and, instead, accepted the post in Helfrich's administration. Nace's appointment didn't require council approval, as it wasn't to a director position.

Condemnation quickly followed, including a letter bashing the decision that was signed by 42 city residents and out-of-town individuals. The council has also weighed conducting an investigation into Nace's appointment, Nixon has said.

Monday's event will open with remarks from Nixon. Afterward, Helfrich will give a brief presentation about the inner workings of the economic development department and its hiring decisions.

The rest of the time will be dedicated to the audience, Nixon said. Anyone is free to attend the event, and audience members will be able to raise their hands and ask questions or make comments once given the nod by a council member.

There will not be a time limit for the speakers, but Nixon said he will urge residents to stay on topic and avoid repetition.

Nace's position entails handling opportunity zones, staffing the York City Redevelopment Authority and other economic initiatives, Helfrich has asserted amid criticism that the position is vague in its prescribed duties.

The appointment has also ruffled feathers because of an incident last year, when the city considered outsourcing economic development to the York County Economic Alliance, Nace's employer at the time. 

During several City Council meetings, residents of color said outsourcing economic development to the majority-white YCEA would gentrify the city. The criticism ultimately killed the deal. 

Finances also have come into play with Nace's appointment.

Helfrich has said the city is not searching for a director for the department because of budgetary reasons, adding Nace's salary is "definitely lower" than that of a would-be director. 

But based on the city's earlier listing for a director, the salary would range from $69,000 to $85,000, which Nace's reported $88,544 salary exceeds.

A director's salary ranges from $69,000 to $104,000, based on experience, Helfrich has said, and top talent tends to make more than what's advertised. 

For managers, such as Nace, the salary ranges from $60,000 to $88,500.

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

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