A number of Schuylkill County officials have signed a letter urging the state lawmaker in charge of the investigation to move to impeach County Commissioner George Halcovage.
The officials’ letter to State Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin County), dated for Sept. 15, concludes:
“We respectfully encourage the Subcommittee to recomment articles of impeachment against Mr. Halcovage as the only recourse available to County government and the people of Schuylkill County to remove Halcovage from office.”
The letter is signed by Halcovage’s fellow Commissioners Boots Hetherington and Gary Hess.
Other Courthouse officials also put their name at the bottom of the letter to Schemel, too, including:
- Bridget Miller, Prothonotary
- Ann Dudish, Recorder of Deeds
- Theresa Santai Gaffney, Register of Wills
- Linda Yeich, Treasurer
- Sharyn Yackenchick, Controller
- Maria Casey, Clerk of Courts
- Joseph Groody, Sheriff
The officials want their letter included into the record of the Thursday meeting of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, which Schemel chairs, and is leading an impeachment investigation into Halcovage.
Not included in that statement is Coroner David Moylan.
Halcovage Impeachment Hearing Set for Sept. 15
Halcovage is accused of sexual and workplace misconduct over the course of a decade. The allegations against Halcovage came to light as part of a 2021 lawsuit against the Commissioner filed by 4 Jane Doe plaintiffs, who all claim they work at the Courthouse.
That lawsuit also includes other Schuylkill County government officials, accusing them of retaliation and discrimination against the plaintiffs. But the impeachment investigation, right now, is strictly limited to Halcovage.
If the House Judiciary recommends impeachment, the full House will vote on it. A vote in favor of Halcovage’s impeachment would move the matter to the State Senate for a trial. A conviction there would move it to the Pennsylvania Governor for approval.
Halcovage has denied allegations against him since the lawsuit was filed. And he’s resisted calls for his resignation from the same officials who signed this most recent statement and from Schuylkill County’s representation in the State House.
Thursday’s hearing is expected to be a critical step in the Halcovage impeachment. According to a report from Times-News, the Committee investigating Halcovage will “receive testimony” related to the Halcovage investigation. However, much of Thursday’s hearing is expected to be held in executive session, outside the public’s eye.
In their letter, the other Courthouse officials say they’ve “made significant efforts to persuade (Halcovage) to resign …” but “those efforts have fallen on deaf ears.”
“Mr. Halcovage’s conduct is not indicative of the high moral standards espoused by the citizens of Schuylkill County, yet the County finds itself in the untenable position of reluctantly having to tolerate Mr. Halcovage’s continued service as an elected County Commissioner notwithstanding conduct that would have otherwise resulted in his termination,” the letter continues. “The pendency of the litigation has served as the basis for numerous abstentions from voting by Mr. Halcovage which undermines and impedes the ability of County leadership and administration to conduct the peoples’ business and adversely affects and damages the reputation of Schuylkill County.”
NOTE: The original version of this article omitted Maria Casey’s name as one of those who signed this statement.