EDITORIAL: Susan Byrnes, Pam Lee will be missed when they leave York County public offices
Last week, two Republican women who have dedicated their lives to public service announced that they are stepping away from York County politics.
President Commissioner Susan Byrnes and Prothonotary Pamela S. Lee will finish out their terms through the end of 2019 and then exit public office. They will not seek re-election.
They will both be missed.
We may not have always agreed with every decision that each woman made, but they always had our respect.
In an age when a bitter partisan divide threatens the very fabric of our society, Byrnes and Lee seemed to harken back to another era, when political foes could disagree, without being disagreeable.
The No. 1 priority for both women always seemed to be the folks of York County who elected them, not their party or some rigid, political philosophy.
It was a refreshing change.
Byrnes has long served York County: Byrnes is exiting after serving one term as a county commissioner, but she has long served the York County community.
In the late 1980s, Byrnes, a registered nurse, made the decision to dedicate her life to the prevention of premature deaths through unhealthy lifestyle choices. That directly led to the creation of the Byrnes Health Education Center, which has helped millions since its inception. It will likely serve as Byrnes’ lasting legacy in these parts.
Still, she has some work to do before she leaves office. One of her plans for 2019 is to educate York County voters about the importance of integrity, hard work and fiscal responsibility for any future commissioner.
Another goal for 2019 is to officially establish the $1 million Pleasant Acres resident welfare fund. The fund will help indigent nursing home residents to pay for necessities they otherwise couldn't afford, such as replacing worn-out clothing.
It is not surprising that Byrnes earned praise from both of the other county commissioners, including Democrat Doug Hoke.
Lee leaves after four terms: Lee, meanwhile, leaves office after a much longer political term. She served four, four-year terms as prothonotary.
Lee will be 65 at the end of her current term and she said that she's ready to retire. Her husband, Rick Lee, retired from the York Daily Record in December.
"The thing I’m proudest of is the great team that I’ve put together, supervisors who really know what they’re doing and do their best to serve the taxpayers," Lee said.
Service key for both women: Service was the key motivation for both Byrnes and Lee. Hopefully, their successors will follow a similar path.
Byrnes said she’s vacating her seat to create an opportunity for a new generation of leaders with new ideas.
Hopefully, that happens.
There is one certainty, however. Whoever ends up succeeding Byrnes and Lee will have some sizable shoes to fill.