Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Coal Region Canary
Coal Region CanaryCoal Region Canary

Coronavirus in Schuylkill County

Schuylkill County’s Jaw-Dropping Explanation of its CARES Act Reporting Delay

schuylkill county commissioners board room

schuylkill county commissioners board room

Schuylkill County Commissioners finally released details of how they spent the $12.7 million in CARES Act spending received last summer to help combat the COVID pandemic.

We say finally because it took quite a long time to get these numbers.

In that time, voices among county watchdogs were raised to 11. Some media outlets were following the story rather vigorously. Others, well … they reported on it when they saw those other outlets getting a lot of attention.

And despite this constant needling, which started soon after the money was first deposited in the bank last year, it took until mid-July of the following year to get any sort of concrete data.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

That’s a lot of money that conceivably was going unchecked. Presumably, only a handful of people at the Courthouse knew how it was being spent. Even one County Commissioner claimed to be in the dark on where the money was going or where it went.

Rule Changes Affected Reporting Timetable

We sat in the Courthouse for about 3 hours on Wednesday to hear an explanation of this spending.

And it boiled down to this on why the County couldn’t say last year where any of this money was going.

Hell, even money the Commissioners spent last year that they said was coming from the CARES Act money ultimately didn’t come from that fund, like the small business grant program.

Essentially, the County couldn’t accurately report on how it’d spent this money because it didn’t know until they filled out the final paperwork for it.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Now, if we’re going to believe that the rules for how this money could be spent ultimately determined why Schuylkill County is saying it dished out the money as it did, that’s fine. County officials said constantly changing rules on how CARES Act money could be spent made it impossible to say for sure what was eligible.

“Because it did.”

So, that’s a somewhat valid explanation for why it took the County to file a report with the state on how its CARES Act money was spent.

But as long as it took for Schuylkill County to gather these numbers, the report we all got this week wasn’t exactly hot off the press.

According to Mark Morgan, a consultant with Susquehanna Accounting and Consulting which helped us administer the CARES Act funding, the report the media got on Wednesday was actually finished in February.

“The final reports to the states were due Feb. 28,” he said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Morgan said he met and prepared Schuylkill County’s final report on Feb. 17.

That prompted a question from the Times-News that completely sucked the air out of the room. If the Schuylkill County report to the state was finished in mid-February, why are we only hearing about it in mid-July?

We counted 8 seconds of a really awkward silence following that question.

One Mississippi … Two Mississippi …

It was really awkward. You could hear the faintest stomach growl because it was well into lunchtime.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The county’s response? It came from County Administrator Gary Bender.

He said, “Because it did.”

Trying to pick up the pieces after that, Morgan said the County didn’t divulge its spending to the public until it had heard from the state that it was OK with how the CARES Act money was given out locally.

“I would have hated to have put information out and go back and revise it,” he said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

We’re not sure if he meant to say that the County was only going to divulge this information if the state was OK with it. The public surely has a right to know if the money was mismanaged, too.

He also said that the state got back to Schuylkill County with its determination in March. So, that’s still about 4 months worth of sitting on it.

Subscribe to Coal Region Canary

Get email updates from Coal Region Canary by becoming a subscriber today. Just enter your email address below to get started!



  1. Theresa R Price

    July 17, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    So where did it go?

  2. PTFloridians

    July 17, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    Oooooh wow…Mr Fender Bender is so intelligent and articulate, isn’t he now…
    …just shows the sheer brazen ignorance that these schmendricks have for the people of the County. All these pus cases oughta get booted out…its just one thing after another.

  3. coalregion 12

    July 18, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    So in essence Mr. Bender, unelected bureaucrat, is running the show in the Courthouse…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More From The Canary

Local Weather

If you missed the heat on Monday, you'll be happy for today.

Local Weather

One day of relief and then a return, albeit briefly, to the heat.

Local Weather

One more day of the heat before a little break ... a very little break.

Local Weather

A (little) break from the heat is in the 7-day.

Local Weather

Sizzling today and the rest of the weekend.

Local Weather

It's the first day of summer!

PA Lottery Numbers

Saturday's winning numbers

PA Lottery Numbers

Wednesday's winning numbers

PA Lottery Numbers

Sunday's winning numbers

PA Lottery Numbers

Thursday's winning numbers