Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Schuylkill County Row Officers Send Letter to Harrisburg Urging Impeachment of Commissioner Halcovage

A letter was drafted on Wednesday by Schuylkill County's elected officials urging the House Judiciary Committee to impeach Commissioner George Halcovage.

The letter is signed by Commissioner Barron L. Hetherington, Commissioner Gary Hess, Clerk of Courts, Controller Sharyn Yackenchick, Recorder of Deeds Ann Dudish, Register of Wills Theresa Santai Gaffney, Sheriff Joseph Groody, and Treasurer Linda Yeich.

The letter, dated September 15th, 2022 and addressed to the Honorable Paul Schemel, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, encourages the subcommittee to recommend articles of impeachment against Halcovage as the "only recourse available to County government and the people of Schuylkill county".

The letter can be read below.

In November, House Resolution 99 was drafted by the Schuylkill County House delegation that included  Reps. Jerry Knowles, Joe Kerwin, and Tim Twardzik to begin the investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Halcovage and was unanimously approved 200-0.

The investigation is a result of an announcement made in late June of 2020, when the Schuylkill County Solicitor's office announced that the County Human Resources Department had received allegations against Commissioner Halcovage including claims of sexual harassment concerning several female County Employees.

After an investigation that took place before the announcement, it was reported that Halcovage had violated 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).

A week later, on July 7th, 2020, Schuylkill County District Attorney Mike O'Pake handed over the investigation into the allegations to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office.

O'Pake's office had been requested by the Human Resources Department to determine if criminal charges were appropriate. O'Pake felt that the investigation would better be handled by the State Attorney General's office.

In early February, we learned from Attorney General Shapiro's office that the investigation ended the week prior on February 5th, 2021.

The details of their findings were not released but the office said in a statement Skook News received  that "Our office made a decision to close the case without filing charges and among our considerations was statutes of limitations. "

A month later, on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court against Commissioner Halcovage for his alleged sexual harassment of four female county employees.

In April of 2022, the Justice Department has also got involved when it joined the lawsuit Doe et al. v. Schuylkill County et al., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Halcovage has not commented on the matter and continues his duties as Commissioner in the Courthouse.