Hallam mayor announces York County commissioner bid

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Hallam Borough Mayor Glenn Wascovich.

After one year as mayor of Hallam borough, Glenn Wascovich announced he plans to expand his community impact by running for a York County commissioner seat in 2019.

The Tuesday, Nov. 13, announcement came in front of a crowd of roughly 30 in a cul-de-sac near the York County 911 Center in Springettsbury Township.

Wascovich, a Democrat, grew up in northern Clearfield County and later moved across the state, spending years in the retail business before winning his race for mayor in November last year.

He currently works as a store manager at Bath & Body Works in Lancaster.

He is also the husband of Hallam Borough Council member Michael Wascovich, who recently lost in the 47th District House race to eight-term Republican incumbent Keith Gillespie.

More:Gillespie wins ninth term in 47th House District

Bigger plans: Although thankful for the opportunity to represent the borough of just more than 2,500, Glenn Wascovich said he wants to extend his community influence to represent the nearly 450,000 people in the county.

"Being the mayor of a small town is something that's been an amazing experience for me," Wascovich said. "But I've learned pretty quickly that my ability to impact my community needs to be greater than Hallam borough."

The mayor said he doesn't plan to resign to pursue the commissioner position, but if he were to win next November, he would vacate his mayoral job.

Wascovich has options; next year, all three commissioners — two of whom are Republicans — are up for re-election.

Republican President County Commissioner Susan Byrnes was first elected in 2015. Democratic Vice President Commissioner Doug Hoke was first elected in 2008.

Republican Chris Reilly, the longest-serving commissioner in York County history, was first elected in 1999. Although he didn't run in the 2003 election, he returned and won re-election to take back his seat in 2007.

Problems to address: Wascovich said the two Republican commissioners have "failed" the county, and he specified three areas that need to be improved.

 He emphasized staffing and morale issues at the York County 911 Center, the misuse of taxpayer money to cover overtime costs at the York County Prison and the mishandling of the Pleasant Acres Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

In regards to the 911 center, Wascovich said employees are overworked and underpaid, adding there's no wonder why employees are leaving quickly. He suggested there should be employee protections, pay raises and hour regulations.

He also said the county is mishandling the prison by throwing taxpayer money at the facility to cover overtime costs without a concrete plan to fix the issue moving forward.

But Pleasant Acres, he added, is the "No. 1 mess-up" because the people inside "are our most vulnerable citizens."

Earlier this year, the county finalized a $33.5 million sale of the nursing home to Premier Healthcare Management, a for-profit nursing home operator, rather than maintain the facility itself.

More:Rising overtime costs at York County Prison lead to staff reorganization

More:Union rep: 'Popcorn day' is nice, but won't solve York County 911 center issues

More:Commissioners approve signing of final documents for $33.5 million sale of Pleasant Acres

Empathy: Although he admits he is no politician, Wascovich said his empathy for his community and desire to fix such issues are more important than anything else.

"I've never been a political person, and I'm still not," Wascovich said. "But what I am is someone who cares about our people, our neighbors, our friends and family, and I care about what happens in our communities."

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