OPED: Recognizing the exceptional career of Steve Warren

Chris Reilly and David Turkewitz
York County

On Nov. 19, York/Adams Mental Health-Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and York/Adams Drug & Alcohol Commission met for an annual breakfast, which included a shortened board meeting and lengthy recognition of the many fine organizations and staff members who work in those entities and are devoted to meeting the needs of individuals served.

This meeting was extra special as we celebrated the career of Director Steven A. Warren. This letter is to remind the residents of York and Adams counties of the incalculable impact he has had on the personal and professional lives of those he has served and led.  

We believe Warren is one of the most exceptional administrators who ever served in the commonwealth at the county government level.

Steven was drawn to a career of caring for society’s most vulnerable population during his college years. He began his career as a caseworker for York/Adams County MH/MR in 1976. Following three years away as coordinator in Chester County, he returned to stay in York and, within a year of his arrival, assumed the role of administrative leader of York/Adams Mental Health-Intellectual Disability Disorders and York/Adams Drug & Alcohol Commission.

Steve Warren

The following short list attempts to define Warren’s attributes:

  • His heart and mind completely embody the mission of the MH/IDD and drug and alcohol programs that he has led for the past 20-plus years.
  • He is an extraordinarily capable administrator with the vision to see what is needed and the abilities to bring those services to fruition.
  • In tight fiscal times, his ability to garner the needed financial resources required for the growing number of support services in our county. Plus, through the judicious use of funds, Warren has led reinvestment efforts of more than a million dollars essential to new programs in York such as the Children’s Advocacy Center (a special center for the multidisciplinary evaluation of suspected victims of child abuse).
  • His willingness to provide leadership to initiatives that to some individuals were unpopular but required for the greater good of the people of York and Adams counties.
  • His humility. Warren’s work was never about him. It was always about the people his organization served.
  • His leadership. With no exceptions, Warren is held in the highest esteem by staff members along with the leadership of the many service organizations that are financially supported through the county’s agencies. While people tend to come and go in most organizations, those who work with Warren never want to leave.

York and Adams counties are better places today because of the work accomplished by Warren. It has been our honor to serve on the agency’s board during portions of his tenure as administrative leader and we wish him the best in his retirement.

— David Turkewitz is chair of pediatrics at York Hospital and co-medical director of WellSpan’s Women and Children Services. Chris Reilly is a York County commissioner.