State Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia) on Friday put in motion an effort to remove from office West York Mayor Charles Wasko.
Hughes sent a letter to Senator Joe Scarnati, President pro tempore, calling for him to appoint a special committee to investigate the removal of Wasko, who has been censured by the borough’s council in the wake of racist posts that he penned on Facebook.
Hughes cited Article VI, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution in his request.
“This is simply unacceptable,” Hughes said. “Federal law makes it a crime to threaten the life of the President of the United States. I do not take the removal of an elected official lightly, but clearly Mr. Wasko is unfit to hold office and this very serious step must be taken.”
News of Wasko’s racists posts went viral last week. Among his posts, Wasko seemingly threatened President Obama in a post showing a noose and a caption intimating it was for him. He also penned racists and denigrating posts, including posts targeting Obama’s family.
Borough council on Monday night moved to censure Wasko. He has refused to speak with members of the media and has placed a sign on his front door blaming the media for his troubles.
Wasko has been denounced widely by residents of the borough, as well as elected officials and members of the NAACP.
Gov. Tom Wolf says he will support the Senate should it decide to remove Wasko.
“We know from Mr. Wasko’s social media posts that he holds contemptable attitudes towards many of his own constituents,” Hughes said. “His removal is something that ought to be supported by all good thinking people in West York and across Pennsylvania.”
West York mayor blames media for troubles
In Article VI, section 7, the Pennsylvania Constitution provides a means by which the Senate could remove Wasko from office. That action would require a full investigation and an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Senate.
“I do not believe that Mr. Wasko can perform his duties as mayor,” said Senator Hughes. “His behavior is unacceptable, especially since public officials must be held to a higher standard. It’s time for the Pennsylvania Senate to take action and consider taking the step of removing him from office.”
West York Borough Council votes to censure racist mayor