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Schuylkill Commissioners Ignore Demand They Rescind “Retaliation” Moves in Tax Offices

Schuylkill County Commissioners completely ignored a demand that they rescind a vote they took last week during a County Salary Board meeting to re-organize the Courthouse’s tax offices.

During Wednesday’s Commissioners meeting, Clerk of Courts Maria Casey said the Commissioners should not have taken the vote last week because the county is involved in litigation with the affected employees. She believes the actions taken were retaliatory.

“It’s a travesty what’s happening here,” she said before the Commissioners this week.

In that Salary Board meeting, by a 3-1 vote, the County shook up the Tax Claims and Tax Assessment offices. County officials say the moves were not targeted at any specific people but done in the interest of efficiency.

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County Administrator Gary Bender is quoted by the Republican-Herald newspaper on March 18 saying, “It never seemed to work out.” He’s referencing a move made a couple years ago to re-organize the tax offices.

Here’s what the county did last week:

  • Created the Tax Claim Director position in the Tax Claim Bureau
  • Created the Assistant Tax Claim Director position in the Tax Claim Bureau
  • Created the Chief Assessor position in the Tax Assessment Office
  • Created the Deputy Chief Assessor position in the Tax Assessment Office
  • Eliminated the Tax Claim Director/Chief Assessor position
  • Eliminated the Assistant Director of Tax Assessments/Claims position

The employees affected by the personnel moves are Angela Toomey and Denise McGinley-Gerchak. Toomey is now the Tax Claim Director. McGinley-Gerchak was made the Deputy Chief Assessor. In a video posted online this week, Casey said the personnel actions last week were a demotion and significant pay cut for both employees. We can not confirm that but did view a Personnel Action Report from about 2 years ago in which Toomey was hired at a salary noticeably higher than the rate approved last week.

In that vote last week, Commissioenrs George Halcovage and Boots Hetherington joined Acting Controller Sharyn Yackenchick in approving the office shifting. Commissioner Gary Hess voted against it, calling it a demotion.

We also can not confirm that either woman is one of the 4 Jane Doe Plaintiffs named in the scandalous federal discrimination lawsuit filed against the County, Commissioner George Halcovage and several other Courthouse officials.

Now, despite those approving that move last week saying it had nothing to do with the people involved, Casey isn’t buying it and says the Commissioners should not have voted on the matter because of that lawsuit.

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“That is totally illegal. That was an illegal vote,” Casey said during this week’s Commissioners meeting. “At the very least it could be seen as retaliation. At the most, that may be a criminal act. I’m not sure why these things are happening but anyone would tell you, you should not have made that vote.”

Fearing potential retaliation against them, the plaintiffs in that discrimination lawsuit against the County have asked US District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to issue an injunction against the County preventing them from making any personnel moves as they did that could be construed as retaliatory.


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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Just sayin

    March 27, 2021 at 11:01 am

    Obviously retaliation. I mean come on a blind person could see it. Wtf????

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