Schuylkill County hasn’t officially said a word about the looming drama concerning Commissioner George Halcovage in quite some time.
But if you’ve got about 30 minutes to spare on a mid-week morning, you’ll hear all the latest dirt on the tale via Public Comments delivered at regular Schuylkill County Commissioners meetings.
Get time off work for these meetings. Because based on what we’ve heard so far and what we heard on Thursday, you won’t want to miss what’s possibly next.
Schuylkill County Commissioners Public Comments on Halcovage Rock Climbing Escapades
For the last few months, all but one of these meetings has been held via Zoom. And it seems the more distant we get from actually being at these meetings in-person, the tales grow seemingly taller.
The latest bit came last Thursday during the Schuylkill County Commissioners work session. It, like most others lately, was broadcast on Zoom and available for the public to listen and chime in on when it was their turn to talk.
Now, it’s important to note that Commissioners routinely do not respond to Public Comment remarks. It’s like an unwritten rule. They certainly can. But they don’t and often tell you they won’t.
They let the speakers speak and when one person is done talking, another jumps in. When the Commissioners hear no one else on the line wanting to speak, they close the Public Comment portions of their meetings.
Right now, since Commissioner Boots Hetherington took over as Chairman when Halcovage stepped aside from that role, there are two Public Comment portions. The first is near the beginning of the meeting. It’s supposed to contain comments pertaining to items on the official Agenda only.
You’ll find Commissioners break their unwritten rule of not commenting on Public Comment remarks that stray out of bounds during this first period. The second your comments even appear to go off the Agenda, they’ll jump at the chance to get you back in line.
Public Comments and the George Halcovage #MeToo Scandal
Now, the Halcovage #MeToo scandal plaguing Schuylkill County Courthouse is a topic that doesn’t get discussed publicly by any officials speaking in an official sense. So, you won’t find this topic in any way on the weekly meeting Agenda.
So, in order to speak out on the subject or just hear what others have to say, you need to wait until closer to the end of the meeting.
It really improves the showmanship. Kinda like how we’re making you wait until the end to hear the rock climbing story …
The last official words on this controversy came shortly after the County Solicitor determined Halcovage violated 3 different workplace policies in his treatment of several women at the Courthouse.
A few people said Halcovage should resign from office. But, of course, he hasn’t.
The Stories We’ve Heard During Public Comment So Far
On the Zoom calls and during that final Public Comment section of the meeting, we’ve heard quite a bit about the Halcovage controversy.
And all of these comments have gone unchecked by Commissioners. They haven’t interjected to stop any potentially slanderous accusations. Commissioners just let it ride and let people say what they want.
The only caveat is that callers state their name and municipality. That’s a rule that sneaked its way into the meeting format a week after about a half-dozen women called in to a Commissioners meeting to say they felt threatened at work because of Halcovage’s presence.
So, whether these stories told during the Public Comment portions of the meeting are true or not … we’ll never really know unless it somehow comes out on the public record.
For instance, without Public Comment, we wouldn’t know:
- Halcovage has been confined to working only in his office (but apparently still gets free)
- There are 4 victims (before last Thursday);
- Halcovage prowls the hallways;
- This whole situation is going to cost taxpayers millions when it ends in confidential settlements,
- Etc., etc., etc.
It’s all red meat for the court of public opinion.
Most of the comments since the rule change on anonymity come from Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Maria Casey and former Mount Carbon Mayor Jeff Dunkel.
The last time Casey called in to the Commissioners meeting, her voice was barely audible. These Zoom calls have been plagued by technical troubles since they switched from a teleconference platform a few weeks ago. So, what was said was hard to hear but it definitely involved keeping Halcovage out of the Courthouse.
She took the week off from the meeting last Thursday (at least from the meeting), and Dunkel stepped up to the mic, figuratively, to deliver the latest Halcovage story. This one woke up just about anybody who made it this far in an otherwise mundane meeting.
The Rock Climbing Story
So, apparently, there’s a tape … well, it’s surveillance footage. Presumably, it’s not on actual tape anymore. But with Schuylkill County government, there’s a chance it’s a tape.
No, this isn’t one of those tapes. What’s found on this footage, though, is certainly eye-opening, apparently. And Dunkel said Thursday that several people at the Courthouse are aware of this footage’s existence.
On the video, Halcovage is seen climbing a rock embankment from his parking space to near the public entrance to the Courthouse, where two of his alleged victims park for work. Based on what we heard, we believe this is the path Halcovage took, if this story is true.
After he scaled the embankment, Halcovage would stare in the direction of his alleged victims and then retreat into the Courthouse.
Dunkel, on Thursday, compared Halcovage’s alleged climbing feat as something out of American Gladiators.
Oh, he also divulged that apparently there may be a fifth victim of Halcovage’s alleged workplace behavior, up from the 4 we’ve heard about before last week.
It’s likely we haven’t heard the end of this story and there’s probably going to be more that’s divulged before this controversy ever makes its way in front of a judge or jury.
- Schuylkill County HR Director Resigns Amid Halcovage Saga
- Casey Accuses Boots of Running Cover for Embattled Halcovage
- Maria Casey Tells Taxpayers Halcovage Saga Could Cost Us Millions
- Crickets on the Halcovage Saga During Recent Schuylkill Commissioners Meeting
- Women Claiming to be Courthouse Employees Say They Don’t Feel Safe at Work
- The Summer of George Halcovage (A Meme Story)
- “Maria, would you please sit down?” – Drama Over Agenda Order at Schuylkill Commissioners Meeting
- Halcovage Confined to Office, Bathroom Breaks at Schuylkill County Courthouse
- Halcovage Accusers Talk to TV Media Before Wednesday’s Commissioners Meeting
- Solicitor Says Schuylkill County Commissioner Halcovage Violated Sexual Harassment Policy