LETTER: 42 criticize York City Mayor Helfrich's appointments
Maybe Mayor Michael Helfrich found former Mayor Charlie Robertson's playbook in City Hall. That might explain Helfrich's following a Robertson stunt in trying to bypass city council scrutiny in appointing a department head.
Helfrich seems to follow a Robertson lead by appointing his Chief of Staff Philip Given as an acting director of Economic and Community Development, creating a Chief Opportunity Development Officer (CODO) and putting Blanda Nace in that position. Helfrich failed to present these moves in public to council as ordinance, budget and past practice would prescribe.
Back in the late 1990s, Robertson appointed himself as acting business administrator because council opposed promoting a person he wanted for the job.
Robertson held that position, which is allowed by city ordinance as long as a mayor does the job "temporarily." He had the person he wanted to be promoted as business administrator run the department. Robertson claimed council had no say because he would only hold the position temporarily until he worked the matter out with council.
Council criticized Robertson's actions, and refused to further negotiate. The situation got resolved when the person council refused to promote resigned for another job. Robertson then had to work with council to hire another business administrator, which took many months to complete.
Now we have Helfrich following Robertson's lead 17 years later. Look at the similarities. First council votes down Helfrich's proposal to have the York County Economic Alliance (YCEA), where Nace had worked, take over economic development. Helfrich then hires Nace, who had left YCEA to run for county commissioner, consult on economic development. Soon after, Nace resigns from the commissioner race to accept this new post created by Helfrich, which includes economic development duties.
Robertson at least asked for council approval for his plans. Helfrich, who promised full transparency, just ignores council and the public.
As 20 years ago, too much smoke and mirrors and too much cynical arrogance plague this administration.
Anu Banks, York
Carmelita Jamison, York
Keith N. Johnson,York
Kelly Way,Virginia Beach, Va.
Kendra Way, York
Marlene Robinson, York
Richard Woodard,Norfolk, Va.
Robert Roland, York
Sena Jenkins, York
Susan Watkins, York
Tyrone Foreman, York
VaShonda Roberts,Phoeniz, Az.