EDITORIAL: West York, York City work for greater good

York Dispatch
  • The York City Human Relations Commission is moving to West York Borough.
  • The commission was recently forced to look for a new home when it had to leave its former home.
  • The commission will now be located in the West York Borough Building on West Poplar Street.

At first blush, it looks like it must be a typo.

The York City Human Relations Commission (YCHRC) is moving to West York Borough.

The geography just doesn't seem to work.

West York Mayor Shawn Mauck, center, speaks about the York City Human Relations Commission's move to West York, as York City Mayor Kim Bracey, left, and York City HRC Chairwoman Karen Rollins-Fitch look on. Tuesday, March 22, 2017. Jason Addy photo.

Why would a city organization move outside the city limits?

The answer?

Because it's in the best interests of the organization and both municipalities.

Background: First a little background.

The YCHRC was forced to look for a new home when it was asked to leave the basement office in the county's human services building that it shares with the Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF). The county needed the space to accommodate a CYF expansion. That left the YCHRC without a home.

That's where West York Borough stepped in.

West York has generously offered space in its borough building at 1381 W. Poplar St. to the YCHRC. The YCHRC gladly accepted the offer.

York City human relations group moving to West York

No, it's not in the city, but it is within walking distance of the city's west end. It also can be accessed through RabbitTransit and has ample free parking.

In some ways, it's a better site than the current city site.

Vital role: The YCHRC plays a vital role. It's tasked with investigating complaints of unlawful discriminatory practices in housing, employment and public accommodations in the city and enforcing the city's anti-discrimination ordinances.

The YCHRC can also field human relations complaints from throughout York County. Complaints that don't involve city residents are forwarded to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in Harrisburg.

There is the possibility that, in the future, the YCHRC could also investigate complaints originating from within West York Borough.

West York Mayor Shawn Mauck said the move is a “gift to both municipalities,” with the commission paying no overhead costs, while offering West York residents a new range of anti-discrimination services.

Overcoming past: West York's role in this process is especially welcome considering the controversy that recently rocked the small borough when the former mayor, Charles Wasko, posted racially-charged comments on his Facebook site last fall. Mauck eventually succeeded Wasko as West York's mayor.

“Many of you know that I was put front and center in a public display of hate last year,” Mauck said. “We promised our community that we would continue a dialogue and put forward true meaningful help. This, today, makes good on that promise.”

Mauck sworn in as West York's new mayor

Good example: The agreement between the city, and Mayor Kim Bracey, and the borough and Mauck is also a much-needed example of real municipal cooperation that others should follow. Often, it seems as if the surrounding municipalities try to keep the city at arm's length, fearing that any cooperation may allow the city's problems to seep into the suburbs.

Well, here's a bulletin — the city's problems are already seeping into the suburbs. The best way to address those woes is through cooperation, not separation.

“When all of us come together for a common goal, the results are always so much better,” Mauck said.

He's absolutely right.

West York stepped up in a big way when its larger neighbor needed help.

It's an example for us all.