Charles Helms, interim city manager for the city of York since 2007, is retiring by the end of the year.
Helms, who has spent 40 years working for the city, made his intentions to retire official to the city council Thursday night in a letter to city officials. A timeline to choose a successor has not yet been finalized.
“I’m 69 years old - it’s time,” Helms said in a phone interview Friday morning.
Helms said he is proud of the service he’s given York’s residents over the decades, including four times taking over as top official in the city while permanent city managers were found.
“I was proud to give them my best,” Helms said.
Before taking over as interim city manager for the community of more than 8,000 residents in 2007, Helms was the public works director for the city.
The city will first do an internal search of its 100-plus employees to consider a replacement, York Mayor Eddie Lee said, and listen to residents as the city charts a path to the future as it handles residential and business growth. Helms, who lives outside city limits, had the interim tag on his title the past nine years because York has a residency requirement for city manager, Lee said, and generally permanent city managers in South Carolina have a master’s degree.
Lee said Helms has worked for the people of York for four decades, and his leadership never wavered. Helms started out working for public works and rose through the ranks.
“For the last 40 years, Charles Helms has seen it all and done it all as a city of York employee, plugging water lines, serving as public works director, and for the last nine years, as interim city manager,” Lee said. “He has been a valuable asset to me and to all of us.”
Helms, 69, was the city’s point person in the renovations of York City Hall that gave the city a modern meeting area and public services, and also was the project leader for the city’s wastewater plant, Lee said.