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Schuylkill County’s Public Comment Rules Getting Even More Illegal

new rules schuylkill county public comment rules

new rules schuylkill county public comment rules

Last year, Schuylkill County Commissioners approved rules on public comments at their board meetings in an attempt to curb some of the criticism and backlash they faced over mounting scandals and internal drama.

The rules went over the line in that they restricted the public’s First Amendment rights:

  • They limited the topics which could be discussed.
  • They barred the media from recording the meetings – without prior permission – even though they were held virtually on Zoom.
  • They limited public comments to emails that had to be submitted within a 5-hour window the day prior to the meeting.

Schuylkill County Attempting to Bar Discussion of Government Employee Hiring, Salaries

Commissioners Chairman`Boots Hetherington claimed last year that he didn’t even write the rules but ever since they were passed, he’s been the lone enforcer of them and based on his latest iteration of them, he’s constantly rewriting them.

On Wednesday, came the latest version. In addition to his banishment of the following …

  • “Gossip”
  • “Slander”
  • “Personal attacks”
  • “Attacks on personal businesses of Commissioners”
  • “Political campaigns” of the politicians working at the Courthouse

… Boots has now added a topper to these already illegal rules. He’s made them illegal-er.

On Wednesday, he said it’s no longer permissible to discuss the personnel items included on the meeting agendas.

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It takes a lot of gall to suggest the public can’t discuss the salaries of the people who “work” at the Courthouse and who the county is hiring. After all, it’s the public that pays those salaries.

Just imagine, the County could decide to hire all the cronies and relatives it wants and pay them really handsome salaries. It could put those decisions on the public agendas at the meetings where those people will be hired. But the public, per Boots’ new rule, can’t say a word about it.

This is clearly another desperate attempt to squash any discussion of the pending federal lawsuit against Commissioner George Halcovage and other county officials who are being sued over sexual harassment of four female employees.

The County is also facing backlash for deciding, while the lawsuit is active, to revamp the Courthouse’s tax offices, where at least two of those women are employed.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF PUBLIC COMMENTS AT SCHUYLKILL COUNTY COURTHOUSE:

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. PTFloridians

    July 11, 2021 at 10:23 am

    If this Boss Hogg look alike can’t take the heat, he should get outta the kitchen. Its insulting for the common taxpaying citizen, to listen to this slop…no transparency, no accountability, no stewardship, no nothing…”just shut up and let us do what we want”, is the mantra for this regime.
    …and by the way, how do we know what gossip, slander, etc. is, if he (they) aren’t forthright in clearing up this stuff and explaining it. There needs to be rules and the abiding of rules, but this is getting out of hand…tell us where our money is being spent, and why…

    • Canary Commenter

      July 11, 2021 at 1:41 pm

      This is exactly why he could never get elected. Had to be appointed. And the process behind his appointment was about as big of a sham as his administration.

    • Just sayin

      July 11, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      Agree, he is out of control!!

  2. Kim Groff

    July 11, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    Don’t live in Schuylkill Cty anymore, but this is the yypical politico theae days….Powermad, controlling, a holes… Frankly I’m sick of it on town, state and federal levels….Remember who you work for dumb a@S!!!

  3. Kim Groff

    July 11, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    NOT SEE…..

  4. insider

    July 13, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    Calling Boots a Commissioner is like calling George a woman’s advocate…..

    • Just sayin

      July 17, 2021 at 11:59 am

      Haha. Good one

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