In a report this week from the RepublicanHerald, Schuylkill County Commissioners Chairman Boots Hetherington said he and his colleagues have had “deep discussion and thought” recently.
That may be a first but it’s more likely a load of …
So, what is this deep thought the Commissioners had?
Apparently, the deep thought was to match the $100,000 they donated to Alvernia University last week with another $100,000 donation.
This $100,000 donation – approved by Hetherington and Commissioner Gary Hess on Wednesday – is going to Penn State University. It, like the Alvernia donation, is apparently going to support nursing students.
Here’s the biggest problem with this donation, and there are several … apparently the Commissioners that voted in favor of these recent donation have no idea if there’s even money to give.
Where’s this money coming from exactly? This is the same County that just plugged up a $10.2 million budget shortfall, after all. Now they’re just handing out $100,000 bills on a weekly basis.
Schuylkill County Commissioners Approve $100,000 Donation to Penn State
The $200,000 in donations is apparently coming from the County government’s “contingency” fund. That’s a label the County puts on revenues it collects that doesn’t have a stated purpose in the coming budget year.
However you see it, the Commissioners have no idea how much of it they have.
Sure, they might have some idea.
And if they were going to approve spending money they actually didn’t have, someone else at the Courthouse would have said something … right?
In the RepublicanHerald report, Boots apparently tells the reporter that he’s unaware of how much money’s in the contingency fund.
Hess admitted the same.
It really makes you wonder how the Commissioners could approve spending $100,000 if they’re not even sure how much money’s in the contingency fund.
And it really makes you wonder, if in the last week, the Commissioners were in such “deep thought” … what were they thinking about? At no point, during those deep thoughts, did any of them think, “Maybe one of us should know, off-hand, how much money is in the contingency fund, from which we’re raiding.”
What it appears they were in deep thought about was how to package this unexpected six-figure to sell it to the public. And this is where the deep thought led … they’re creating a Frank J. Staudenmeier Memorial Scholarship fund for nursing students at Penn State Schuylkill.
Now, something like this, that gets endowed with $100,000 right off the bat and is honoring the late Commissioner who died in 2020, would normally get some type of formal announcement. At the very least, there would be a press release.
Instead, the Commissioners decided to release partial information about this scholarship fund in response to a reporter’s questions about why they were spending this money. The Chancellor at PSU-Schuylkill even “declined to comment” on this alleged scholarship to the newspaper.
What an honor!
The RepublicanHerald reports the Alvernia donation last week was also in Staudenmeier’s honor. They, apparently, just forgot to mention that when making the donation.
(UPDATE/CORRECTION): Apparently, Boots did mention how the Alvernia donation was in honor of Staudenmeier publicly. He did so on Jan. 20 via his Facebook page that 49 likes and 104 followers.
All this shows is something was getting deep at the Courthouse in the last week but it wasn’t the thought.