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Schuylkill Commissioners Meeting at Dinner Time Tonight – No Firing Likely but Theatrics Expected

Who’s getting kicked out under the lights tonight?

Tonight, Schuylkill County Commissioners will host one of two evening public meetings they’ll have throughout the entire year.

They say it’s a chance for the voting public to see their government in action — or avert their eyes, depending on how they feel the government acts – if they can’t attend or tune in to the regular meetings on Wednesday mornings at the Courthouse.

Of course, don’t tell them that 6 p.m. is nearly as inconvenient as the 10 a.m. regular meeting time. There’s nothing like putting family dinners aside to sit around and listen to your local government bumble and mumble its way through a Zoom call.

Schuylkill County Commissioners Meeting This Evening – No One Expected to be Fired

Here’s the Agenda for this week’s meeting. On the surface, there’s not a whole lot of excitement on the docket before the Commissioners this week:

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3-16-22 Agenda

Again, this week’s meeting begins this evening at 6 at the Courthouse in Pottsville. If you can’t make it, you can always dial in or log in through Zoom to hear the meeting. The County doesn’t provide a video stream.

It’s unlikely – though anything is possible – that Wednesday’s meeting will match the theatrics of last week’s session.

Any blatantly transparent acts or speeches the Commissioners give tonight should be taken with a grain of salt. If they do attempt to put on such a dog-and-pony show, just remember that these same people are making at least two local media outlets, including The Canary, wait out the Right to Know process on getting a copy of an investigation report they all claimed to have at least week’s meeting that somehow justifies the action they wanted to take.

Yer Outta Here!

Last week, Chairman Boots Hetherington was really in the mood to get rid of someone. He was like Dr. Evil at the head of the board room of Virtucon.

He tried leading a movement to fire two Courthouse employees from the Tax Claims office.¬†That didn’t go over well as he met resistance from one of his colleagues and an unwillingness to vote from another.

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Vexed by that, Boots clearly felt the need to let someone go last week and he got the perfect chance during the meeting when his usual nemeses started to cross the line – according to Boots’ rules – in public comments and Rules of Order that dictate how a meeting is run.

Luckily for Boots, when the chance presented itself later in a contentious meeting, the Commissioner was able to give the heave-ho to one of his usual rivals, former Mt. Carbon Mayor Jeff Dunkel.

Before he told Dunkel to leave the Commissioners Board Room – and yes, this time he actually did have to leave – he nearly got Clerk of Courts Maria Casey booted (pun intended) from the meeting.

Casey was needling Boots on the pending vote to fire those two Tax Claims office employees, interrupting the regular order of the meeting. Finally, she reached Boots’ tipping point. He threated to have her “removed” from the Board Room by a Deputy from the Schuylkill County Sheriff’s office. She complied with his request and got to stay for the whole meeting.

Later though, Boots finally got a chance to do what he came there to do that morning. After reading a statement in which he declared it a “disgrace” that Commissioners Gary Hess and George Halcovage (for their own reasons) didn’t vote to fire those employees and after calling for Halcovage to “resign immediately,” Dunkel chimed in from the rear of the Board Room and said, “Why don’t you resign, too?”

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Boots looked up from his statement, peering over the rim of his eyeglasses and motioning with his hand toward Dunkel and a Deputy, and said, “He’s out.”

He flipped his finger and hand outward, motioning to the door that the Deputy should escort Dunkel from the room.

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