EDITORIAL: North York deserves better

The York Dispatch
  • A local councilwoman said she is resigning following comments she made that upset a borough resident
  • In another borough, a racist mayor recently resigned after making local and national headlines
  • Officials must represent and interact with residents with a high degree of professionalism

A story about a York County borough made the Associated Press national wire last week.

A couple of months ago, it was West York and its racist mayor making headlines that were read across the country.

This time, it was North York.

Councilwoman Sandra Hinkle has said she will resign after telling resident Christopher Wilhelm she would beat him with his own prosthetic leg if he posted video he took during a meeting Dec. 13 on the borough's budget. She also told him after the meeting that she would flash her breasts at him the next time he took video.

What is it about York County's boroughs?

Yes, North York is a small place. It covers fewer than 200 acres and has fewer than 2,000 residents.

But that doesn't give its elected officials permission to spout off at the residents they are supposed to serve.

North York councilwoman to step down after crude remarks

Borough council members make decisions that are important to their constituents. The meeting that Wilhelm attended was about the 2017 budget, which decides how much property owners will pay in taxes and what will get done around the borough in the next year.

The seven members of the borough council are expected to look at the facts rationally and make choices that will work for the borough.

Most importantly, they're supposed to act like professionals while they're working on borough business. And Hinkle's behavior wouldn't be acceptable at a place of business.

Other members of the council said Hinkle has harassed them before. Councilman Bill Jackson said Hinkle had once offered to rub her breasts on him after an argument, and he filed a report with Northern York County Regional Police, although he didn't press charges.

Hinkle’s behavior and demeanor “creates a hostile and intimidating work environment,” Jackson said.

North York Borough building.

Hinkle said last week that she would offer her resignation at Tuesday's meeting, but she did not.

She doesn't seem to realize that her actions and words, which she said were in jest, have made the workings of the borough more difficult for everyone.

“He didn’t feel threatened," she said about Wilhelm. "Do I look like I’m big and strong enough ...  that I’m going to tear somebody’s prosthetic leg off?”

That misses the point. The threat of violence and the threat of unwanted sexual activity is enough to make a workplace hostile. And a borough council meeting doesn't need that kind of hostility.

Let's hope the next person in that seat can view the borough council as the professional organization it is.