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Schuylkill County News

Subtle, Slightly Transparent Changes at Schuylkill County Commissioners

The caution tape is down but it’s still there … a not-so-subtle reminder.

Schuylkill County Commissioners met for the first time in 2024 last week. And when they did, there were some subtle changes that could be a positive going forward.

These changes certainly aren’t mind erasers and they are, putting them in perspective, baby steps. But they’re baby steps in the direction we’d hoped for for months.

Night Meetings

The first change we learned about on Tuesday evening, a few hours after the Commissioners had formally reorganized for the year and Larry Padora was named Chairman of the Board.

This year, the Commissioners will meet during the evening hours 4 times in 2024. That’s up from the typical 2 night meetings they have every year.

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The public has been begging the Commissioners to meet at a time other than the typical meeting time of 10 a.m., which prevents many people from attending and voicing their concerns.

The Caution Tape

There was a change in chairmanship within Schuylkill County Commissioners this week and with that change, there’ve been some subtle, minor, and in one case, welcome changes with County government. (Coal Region Canary photos)

Another major change inside the board room last week was the caution tape. This is the caution tape that was placed on the row where media sits to prevent reporters from sitting in a certain area to block their view of certain things in front of them.

OK, we say media and reporters in the plural but in reality, it was The Canary.

The tape was strung across this row of seating for months but on Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, it wasn’t. It’s still there, but it’s neatly folded on the work area in that row of seating.

Padora says, somewhat in jest, the tape will stay down so long as The Canary (or others) don’t take photos over someone’s shoulder.

Budget Adjustment Transparency

Paging Martin Luther … These are hardly the 95 Theses but Padora says he taped up proposed budget adjustments outside the board room this week so the public has more than a few minutes to decide if they want to question Commissioners about them.

An issue that we’ve been hitting on for even longer than the caution tape debacle is the County’s transparency with budget adjustments and supplemental spending.

The issue becomes such because the County does not tell the public anything more than the department where the adjustment is needed and the dollar figure being adjusted on its meeting agenda.

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This keeps the public in the dark to possibly question these adjustments and additional spending resolutions. And anytime the public has raised questions about them in the past, they’ve gotten nothing but the silent treatment from County officials.

The first and only time the public learns details about them is moments before a vote is taken to approve them.

Some who’ve questioned this – including The Canary – want the County to post the information Commissioners get on them when the meeting agenda is released. Until last week, the County hasn’t done anything to that end.

However, after last week’s Work Session meeting, Padora showed off how he’d taped that information outside the board room doors so the public can quickly see what these adjustments are all about before the meeting starts.

The new Commissioner didn’t shut the door on possibly getting that information included with the agenda available to the public the day before meetings.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. James EISENHART

    January 7, 2024 at 7:44 pm

    Yes but how many jobs did he get across the hiring line. On election night he offered more than a dozen.

    • Canary Commenter

      January 7, 2024 at 7:49 pm

      We’re keeping our eye on personnel changes at the Courthouse in the coming weeks and months, for sure.

  2. PTFloridian

    January 8, 2024 at 7:26 am

    Don’t they have some type of legal obligation in the vein of a “Freedom of Information” Act or something similar? They can make available “handouts” for attendants of the meeting and/or post documents, agendas and info online.

    • Canary Commenter

      January 8, 2024 at 12:31 pm

      They can. They choose not to. That’s why we keep pressing the issue. It’s sad that we have to celebrate such minor victories, honestly. But The Canary is a big fan of the movie “What About Bob?” so we also believe in baby steps.

  3. Mary Bound

    January 8, 2024 at 2:23 pm

    Government weather big or small and dependenting what party, is out of control. What ever happened to following our Constitution, We are a Constitutional republic, and are being turned into a hell hole.

    • Tom

      January 10, 2024 at 8:37 pm

      There seems to be some people willing to attend the meetings who will speak up and let us know what’s going on. Thank you! And thank you, Canary, for reporting the news!!

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