Thumbs up for fixing Fair problems

York Dispatch Editorial Board

Thumbs up to the York State Fair for recognizing a problem and making changes to fix it. 

Last weekend, concertgoers complained about long waits to get into the grandstand area, including West Manchester Township resident Mike Springer, who said he stood in line for about an hour to see Saturday’s Styx and REO Speedwagon concert.

“This year, the lines feel longer than normal,” Springer said, adding that he's never waited that long to get into the grandstand for a show. “I can only assume it’s COVID related and there’s protocols in place today.”

On Monday, fair spokesperson Montgomery Stambaugh said several new metal detectors were being brought to the grandstand to speed the ticket entry process along, in addition to a new protocol for how lines form.

Chase Rice performs on the Bobcat of York Grandstand Stage during opening day of York State Fair in West Manchester Township, Friday, July 23, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Stambaugh said fair officials can only open the grandstand roughly 90 minutes to two hours before a concert begins. In response to the weekend concert lines, Monday night's show featuring Kane Brown looked different.

Though there was only one line for ticket holders — as it had been in previous years — that single line split into two between the plaza and track entrances based on where an individual's seat was located. 

“We normally don't have as many people as we had for that night — it was a very large concert night," Stambaugh said of the Styx and REO Speedwagon show. “So when you have 8,000 people, that can take a long time."

With more big names coming up — including Grammy winner Halestorm from Red Lion on Friday — fair officials are doing the right thing to ensure everyone has a good — and safe — time at the fair.

In this photo taken March 15, 2018, a dispatcher works at a desk station with a variety of screens used by those who take 911 emergency calls in Roswell, Ga. The Roswell call center is one of the few in the United States that accepts text messages. This year is the 50th anniversary of the first 911 call placed in the United States and authorities say it is in desperate need to have its technology modernized. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Thumbs up to the York County commissioners for finally increasing wages for York County 911 dispatchers ... and down for waiting so long to do it.

Effective Aug. 1, the starting wage for 911 dispatchers in York County will be $17.04 an hour. That's an increase of $2.50 from the previous wage of $14.54. The increase was approved at Wednesday's salary board meeting.

Under a 40-hour work week, $17.04 would translate to about $35,360 a year. The increase is the first since 2017.

It's about time, Commissioner Ron Smith said Monday.

"It's long overdue, and we should've gotten this done years ago," Smith said.

We agree. Reporter Matt Enright checked around and discovered that before the raise, York County ranks second among surrounding Pennsylvania counties. Adams County pays $14.50 an hour with a $1 increase upon the completion of training. Dauphin County pays $16.55 an hour, Cumberland County pays $15.60 an hour, and Lancaster County pays $17.05 an hour. 

That means that after training, York County employees had the lowest wage in the region. 

In addition to Pennsylvania, York County must also compete with counties in Maryland, Smith noted. Cambria County starts at $17.98, he said.

No, a higher wage won't solve all the problems at the 911 center, where the county has budgeted for 78 employees but only has 49: 35 full-time, seven part-time and seven trainees.

There are problems with mandatory overtime and with getting time off, union president Steve Mullen said. 

But a starting wage that's higher than workers could get at Rutter's or Sheetz is a good start toward getting the 911 center back on track.