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West York mayor says he didn't resign; council disagrees

Written by Teresa Boeckel/York Daily Record | Oct 19, 2016 8:26 AM
west_york_waskso.jpg

Attendees react to a speaker during a West York Borough Council meeting two weeks ago. The council was addressing West York Borough Mayor Charles Wasko's inflammatory Facebook posts. (Photo: Paul Chaplin, For the York Daily Record)

His comments come the day after the borough council accepted his resignation

(York) -- West York Mayor Charles Wasko said on Tuesday that he did not resign -- a day after council members accepted his resignation.

"I never signed a letter of resignation," he said, while working inside his garage with the door mostly shut.

Wasko provided the York Daily Record with a copy of the email he sent to the borough council on Oct. 11. In it, he made three recommendations:

  • "Entertain the thought of looking for an outside person, male or female, of any ethnicity, with a bachelor's degree from an accredited university in a related field of study, such as criminal justice or police science, that has at least four years of experience, of at least a Sergeant, that is looking to become a Chief of Police for the Borough of West York."
  • Replace acting Police Chief Matthew Millsaps from within with the qualifications in the first recommendation.
  • Return Police Chief Justin Seibel to his former position, "if he so desires."

The mayor wrote in the email that his resignation would take effect 10 days after one of the items had been completed. He wrote that the conditions are non-negotiable.

Council President Shawn Mauck said Tuesday that Wasko's letter is clear, and "we acted very clearly on his own words." The council met the requirements of the mayor's first recommendation, and the mayor's wording was read into the record as part of the motion at Monday's meeting. The council voted unanimously to accept the mayor's resignation.

"We're moving on," Mauck said. "He can say whatever he wants to say."

West York got together for a forum after its mayor, Charles Wasko, made some controversial Facebook posts. Gordon Rago, York Daily Record

The council subsequently voted to appoint Mauck as mayor when Wasko's resignation becomes effective Oct. 21. Mauck will serve the remainder of the mayoral term, which expires next year.

Wasko has been under fire since word spread late last month of several posts on his public Facebook page, which were described as offensive and racist. News of the posts garnered international attention. Members of the public and lawmakers ranging from his fellow council members to Gov. Tom Wolf have urged Wasko to step down.

On Tuesday afternoon, while Wasko worked in his garage, he said he grew up in a black neighborhood, and he stands up for black people. He said he's not against all black people, saying there are "good, hard-working" people. He also described youth who call each other the "N-word."

He shut the garage door a short time later, ending interviews with the news media.

Wasko's letter to the council also had called for suspending Millsaps, saying he was not in uniform and wearing body armor several times while on duty. The council voted on Monday night to find the suspension as void and to pay Millsaps for the time he missed from work. The council found the suspension "without merit."

Millsaps said Tuesday night that he has followed the department's policy. He also said he exceeds all of the qualifications the mayor listed in his statement.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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