LETTER: 42 criticize York City Mayor Helfrich's appointments

42 signatories
York City Mayor Michael Helfrich applauds as community leaders gather to announce details for the 2019 Latino Health Summit during a press conference at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts in York City, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. The City of York will host the second annual Latino Health Summit and Expo at York Expo Center April 17-18. Dawn J. Sagert photo

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.

More:York City Council schedules hearing on Helfrich's appointees

More:York City residents blast Nace's post in Helfrich administration

More:York City Council wants answers about Nace's appointment

More:Blanda Nace drops out of the race for York County commissioner

More:York City contracts Nace to plug economic development hole

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. 

Aisha Jamison, York

Angela Griffith, York

Anne Clark, York

Anu Banks,York

Barton Ruffin, York

Candace Robinson, York

Carmelita Jamison,York

Carol Thompson, York

Charles Sexton, York

Clara Matthews, York

Darren Moore, York

Deja Brown, York

Edith Searles, York

Erik Mann, Jacobus

Felicia Sexton, York

Jerome Carter, York

Keith N. Johnson, York

Kelly Way, Virginia Beach, Va.

Kendra Way,York

Leroy Jamison, York

Madell Clark, York

Marlene Robinson,York

Melani Acevedo, York

Micelania Acevedo, York

Ricardo Loper, York

Richard Woodard, Norfolk, Va.

Robert Roland,York

Roman Saxon, York

Sandra Acevedo, York

Sena Jenkins,York

Sharae Brown, York

Sharon Moore, York

Shirley Woodyard, York

Susan Watkins,York

Toni Smith, York

Tonya Thompson-Morgan, York

Tosha Swan, York

Tyrone Foreman,York

Villette Barnes, York

Wendy Miles, York

Lavern Orr, York

VaShonda Roberts, Phoeniz, Az.