We’ve documented the times Schuylkill County Commissioner Barron Hetherington has bullied a fellow Commissioner who dared to go against him in any way.
On Wednesday, he was at it again as he tried to publicly shame Commissioner George Halcovage for having the audacity to speak up about the $146K+ bailout given to the Airport Authority.
Now, mind you, Halcovage did eventually vote in favor of the bailout. But he didn’t just sheepishly vote “Yes” on the budget adjustment. He dared to seek accountability and action toward making the Schuylkill County Airport financially self-sufficient.
All Halcovage said was, “One of the concerns that I’ve had is that we’re giving additional monies … but there’s no income coming in and that’s going to go on to the taxpayers. It’s a bit frustrating that we’re giving money and just getting it back (when the Authority repays a $400,000 loan it took from the County in 2013). I’m concerned about where we’re moving forward.“
That was enough to get the horns from the bullying Commissioner, who goes after anyone and everyone who doesn’t just vote “Yes” to every item on a meeting Agenda.
During comments made prior to the vote to approve the bailout, Hetherington broke his own rule by going to the gallery to ask for input. He’s lashed out at people doing that in the past but it’s OK when he does it. As he said on Wednesday, “this is my meeting.”
Hetherington tried to embarrass Halcovage by asking Airport Authority Chairman Noble Quandel a pointless question: “I’d like to ask Mr. Quandel, the chairman of the board … When is the last time Mr. Halcovage attended one of your meetings?”
He didn’t get an answer right away from Quandel and as the Airport Authority chair started to answer, Hetherington jumped in with the weakest flex in the history of weak flexes.
Keep in mind before you read this next line from him, Hetherington has been in office since about the middle of 2020 and the Airport Authority meets on a monthly basis, so do the math there on how many times it’s met since Hetherington was installed as Commissioner.
“I’ve been there twice. I’ve been there twice, OK,” Hetherington said.
Quandel did say he didn’t recall when Halcovage attended.
“As far as giving input, I’ve been there twice,” Hetherington once again said, making it one more time than Airport Authority meetings he’s attended during his time in office.
The Pattern Continues
Halcovage has been the latest target for Hetherington’s horns during public meetings and on the election campaign trail. He doesn’t hide his disdain for Halcovage.
The two went at it over Hetherington’s cock-eyed plan to unload more than 900 acres of County-owned land to a non-profit organization that says it wants to hand it over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission when Halcovage suggested alternatives to it.
But Hetherington has targeted Commissioner Gary Hess, too, during his short time in office.
Any time someone votes against — or even speaks up — what he considers “his” plans, they’re likely going to face his wrath and ridicule.
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