Schuylkill County’s current Clerk of Courts Maria Casey recently tried to block a potential opponent from getting on the May Republican primary ballot. There’s nothing wrong with filing these objections. Just how you do it.
Casey’s seeking another term as Clerk of Courts. Melissa Santai Clarke wants to run in the May 21 municipal primary election against her.
According to The Times News, Judge William Baldwin tossed Casey’s challenge on March 26. He ruled it late. Casey’s motion got to the Election Bureau office down the hill from Casey’s office at the Courthouse on March 20.
The deadline to file one of these objections was March 19.
There’s nothing wrong with filing the objection. In fact, there were numerous objections filed for county offices. Potential prothonotary candidate Jerry Labooty actually had his nomination petition rejected because of a challenge.
A Minor Abuse of Power
Just look at how Casey filed the objection.
According to a motion filed by Melissa Santai Clarke’s attorney Hank J. Clarke, Casey used the “county mail” system.
As it was described to The Canary by several Courthouse insiders, the “county mail” is a system which gets mail and other deliverables from one county office to another.
This is not a system that just anyone can use to get “mail” from one office to another within the county. Sure, someone might do it as a favor to you if you’re doing County business at the Courthouse.
But this wasn’t County business.
Seems Casey is mixing campaign business with official county business by doing this. The Times News reports Casey dropped the official objection in the “county mail” system on March 19. But it didn’t arrive at the Election Bureau office until later in the afternoon the next day.
It’s not the most egregious abuse of power, sure. But it’s definitely one of the lazier ones.
With the clock ticking against the deadline, Casey chose not to walk (or drive) the objection down the hill. That’s from from the Courthouse to the elections office on the corner of Centre Street and Laurel Boulevard in Pottsville.
Remember, the clock is ticking …
Closer Eye on the Courthouse
This seemingly minor infraction comes at a time when Schuylkill County voters’ skepticism of politicians grows bigger. We’ve just seen the Prothonotary leave office, tail between his legs. That situation got out of control so much, he left it in the hands of a husband-and-wife team to handle.
And of all places in county government, the Clerk of Courts office?
Remember, the last time we heard about the Clerk of Courts, he was pleading guilty to federal fraud and obstruction charges related to his activities as Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts.
But we’re not done there … In true Casey style, we’ve got a double-dip on the current Clerk of Courts coming up …