Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Halcovage Steps Down as Chairman of Board of the Schuylkill County Commissioners; New Calls for Resignation

During the Wednesday work session of the Schuylkill County Commissioners, Commissioner George Halcovage announced he would step down as chairman of the Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners.

On Tuesday, the findings of a month long investigation by the Schuylkill County Solicitors Office and Human Resources Department into "serious allegations" reported that Commissioner George Halcovage violated three county polices that included the Sexual Harassment Policy #2005-18 (Revised September 2013), the Conduct and Disciplinary Action Policy #2005-19; and the Physical and Verbal Abuse Policy #2007-02 (Revised March, 2007).

Halcovage has denied the allegations.

At the top of the meeting, prior to the public comment, Commissioner Halcovage stated, "During this time, I will be stepping aside as the Chair.  As to not distract the operations of the county as these proceedings that we are all aware of.".

Halcovage then passed control of the meeting to Vice-Chairman Commissioner Barron Hetherington.

The floor was open to those who connected electronically via phone as well as those in attendance.

Clerk of Courts Maria Casey also spoke and called for Halcovage's resignation.

"These are critical allegations against Commissioner Halcovage.  Commissioner Hess has asked him to resign and now I'm also asking him to resign." Casey said.

Casey also made a point to say that she felt Commissioner Halcovage should not be allowed in the courthouse.

Casey called Halcovage a "serial perpetrator" and said that victims should not be afraid to go into the courthouse.

Commissioner Hetherington spoke at the end of the public comment portion of the meeting and stated "I just want to sum up by saying that all this stuff I take very seriously and deep into my heart.  I do believe in due process through the United States Court System, however as the father 3 young women that work in this industry.  I will not support any type of harassment, especially sexual harassment with women.  I speak for Commissioner Hess and myself, that at any point will we cover anything up.  This is a process that has to take place and take care because there are several people involved that are employees and we have to protect their identities.  As for comment, I think the report speaks for itself in the paper last night".

During the new business portion of the meeting, Commissioner Halcovage moved to nominate Commissioner Hetherington as the new chairman of the Board of County Commissioners.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Gary Hess, but wanted to comment and said "Again this is one step into this process, and again with all due respect to you Commissioner Hetherington, I know that you are new to this whole process, but as you step into this chair that you will take the expertise of county Administrator Gary Bender to help you through this process rather than Commissioner Halcovage, and again this not a decision that is political,  but this is the right thing.  We need to make sure the county continues in the right steps.  I still feel that Commissioner Halcovage  you should still step aside as all application as Commissioner".

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