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Schuylkill hires human services director

Schuylkill County commissioners on Wednesday hired their newest human resources director - the fifth one in three years.

Anthony Kern of Elizabethtown will earn $90,000 a year starting June 19.

Kern is currently deputy human resources director for Lancaster County, according to LinkedIn.

Kern did not attend the meeting. Reached Wednesday at his Lancaster office, said he applied for the job in Schuylkill County because “It sounded like a great opportunity.”

Asked what he expects when he starts his new endeavor, Kern was matter-of-fact.

“I expect human resources work. I work for a county right now. Thanks to Pennsylvania law, they are all structured the same way,” he said.

Schuylkill County has been embroiled in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed in March 2021 by four women who work in the courthouse.

In their suit, the women contend Commissioner George F. Halcovage Jr. sexually harassed them since being first elected in 2012.

Halcovage has staunchly denied the accusations. A settlement conference is scheduled for June 9 to see if the matter can be resolved without a trial.

Meanwhile, two of the women additionally contend they were subjected to retaliation for filing the suit, and that other county officials did nothing to stop the harassment.

The matter emerged in May 2020 when the women filed complaints with the county Human Resources Department.

Kern knows about the suit.

“That kind of thing has happened in workplaces all over,” he said.

He’s dealt with it in past.

“It’s not out of the bounds of human resources work; we deal with the issues that come before us,” he said. “I’m in service to the people who have been elected by the citizens.”

Before his Lancaster County job, which he’s held since 2019, Kern was facility chief operating officer for the Selinsgrove Center from October 2015 through July 2019, according to his LinkedIn account.

Kern replaces Andrea Whelan, who resigned March 10 after about six months on the job she was hired on Aug. 11, 2022 for $80,000 a year. The previous director Heidi L. Zula, resigned on June 3, 2022. She was hired on Dec. 9, 2020 at $79,000 a year. Zula replaced interim human resources director Doreen M. Kutzler who replaced Deborah A. Twigg