Hatch Act Could Pose a Problem for Many Seeking Election & Some Already Elected

Posted in the Marion Forum

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1 - 20 of 211 Comments Last updated Jul 25, 2011
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McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#1
Feb 4, 2010
 
The United States Office of Special Counsel handles the Hatch Act for State and Federal Employees.

The link for that site is:
http://www.osc.gov/hatchact.htm

Looks like many of our incumbents are ineligible to run for office and some should have not been allowed to run for office without resigning from their current positions first.
McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#2
Feb 4, 2010
 
cont'd

Looks like indeed the Hatch Act is an issue. See below a press release from Unicoi County TN regarding Sheriff Office current employees being told they CAN NOT RUN for any partisan office.

Hatch Act trims three employees from Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department
Posted: 02/02/2010 8:47 AM

On January 25th, Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper Jr. penned an opinion in response to the following question from 2nd Judicial District Attorney General Greeley Wells:

“Whether a county-employed deputy sheriff would be required to resign from that position in order to run for election to the county commission?“

The question originated with Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson, when someone complained that deputies in his department wanted to run for office.

Cooper’s answered yes, they should resign, to avoid problems with the Hatch Act. The opinion produced a domino effect, and Unicoi County is the latest to fall (link to Cooper’s opinion at right).

“Distrust Elected Officials ”

Since: Apr 08

Rutherfordton

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#3
Feb 4, 2010
 
Bravo to Taxpayer.

If I understand the act correctly, if any agency receives federal dollars that agencies employees are subject to the Hatch Act BUT FOR School Systems. So the question is, Do McDowell County and McDowell Technical Community College receive any federal funds. Remember the EMS and DSS are part of the county services. I think the answer is evident. That exempts Buff but puts others in the cross hairs. Looks like Mr. Webb may have to choose to seek employment elsewhere if he is employed by the DSS and the DSS receives federal money in some form or fashion, same for Mr McPeters if he is an employee of the local EMS and it receives federal funds and ditto for Mr. Lavender at mcDowell Tech.
wow

Anderson, SC

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#4
Feb 4, 2010
 
just curious then, since dudley greene not elected would he have to step down from his position to "RUN" for office? does this act also mean that emails could not be sent regarding political functions to or from work email accounts of those effected

“Distrust Elected Officials ”

Since: Apr 08

Rutherfordton

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#5
Feb 4, 2010
 
wow wrote:
just curious then, since dudley greene not elected would he have to step down from his position to "RUN" for office? does this act also mean that emails could not be sent regarding political functions to or from work email accounts of those effected
The sheriff could run for sheriff but anyone else in the department would have to resign. Don't know specifically about the emails from the sheriff himself but any others are a no no.

“Distrust Elected Officials ”

Since: Apr 08

Rutherfordton

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#6
Feb 4, 2010
 
It will be quite interesting to see if the "bulldog" reporter picks up on any of this. School board elections are nonpartisan but I am working on my comment above about the schools. I verified it with an assistant attorney general before posting (could not believe someone spoke to me but they sure did so an atta boy to Roy Cooper & his staff) but I am not sure I asked the right questions for the answer I received. I am wriging a letter with specifics to verify what I wrote above and will post answers when I get it if question not answered first.
McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#7
Feb 4, 2010
 
The Internet is often a co-conspirator in Hatch Act violations. James Mitchell, acting chief of staff at OSC, said that in the 120 federal Hatch Act cases OSC has pursued in 2008, the most common violation he's noticed has been sending or forwarding political e-mails. The number of Hatch Act complaints reached a high of 299 in 2006 as the use of e-mail increased and the proliferation of political videos on Web sites like YouTube made it much easier to exchange political opinions during work hours. In one high-profile case earlier this year, a NASA employee was suspended for 180 days without pay for sending political e-mail messages and using his Web log to solicit campaign contributions, all during work hours. Employees also have gotten themselves in trouble for running for partisan office or soliciting partisan endorsements for a nonpartisan office.
McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#8
Feb 4, 2010
 
The mandatory penalties for career employees caught violating the Hatch Act start with a 30-day suspension without pay and can result in termination. If an action is close to the line but not an actual violation, OSC, which enforces the law, can write an employee a warning letter. But if an employee clearly violates the rules, there is no option for a cease-and-desist order and OSC brings the case before an administrative law judge appointed by the Merit Systems Protection Board. Employees can appeal the administrative law judge's decision to the full MSPB. It takes a unanimous vote by the board, however, to reverse decisions to fire an employee and reduce the penalty to a suspension.
cobra302

Anderson, SC

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#9
Feb 4, 2010
 
i got one for you guys

The Hatch Act prohibits officials appointed to a state, county or municipal department from running for public office in partisan races, if their jobs are connected to programs financed by federal grants and loans.

taxpayer and QAA this does not apply in McDowell??

“Distrust Elected Officials ”

Since: Apr 08

Rutherfordton

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#10
Feb 4, 2010
 
Hatch applies everywhere. I saw Taxpayers post and a lightbuld went off in my mind. Taxpayer deserves all the credit and thanks not me. It has simply been business as usual here for so long everyone thought it was the way things were supposed to be.
Vinny

Maiden, NC

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#11
Feb 4, 2010
 
McDowell Taxpayer wrote:
The mandatory penalties for career employees caught violating the Hatch Act start with a 30-day suspension without pay and can result in termination. If an action is close to the line but not an actual violation, OSC, which enforces the law, can write an employee a warning letter. But if an employee clearly violates the rules, there is no option for a cease-and-desist order and OSC brings the case before an administrative law judge appointed by the Merit Systems Protection Board. Employees can appeal the administrative law judge's decision to the full MSPB. It takes a unanimous vote by the board, however, to reverse decisions to fire an employee and reduce the penalty to a suspension.
If I'm reading the penalties section correctly: If Andy's employment at DSS is found in violation, DSS would have to repay the equivalent of twice Andy's annual salary to the federal gov't. as penalty.

“Progress for Marion / McDowell”

Since: Nov 09

East Marion

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#12
Feb 4, 2010
 
This is a lot to take in but does anyone know where political campaign emails are originating from for those who have announced running for PARTISAN offices and already in campaign mode?

Why is the Board of Elections not making this Hatch Act clear to those desiring to run or are they?

And suspension without pay and possibly termination are realities for those who have violated the act already? This could get very interesting to say the least.

It all makes a lot of sense in reading why the ACT is there in the first place to aide in FIGHTING CORRUPTION in politics, imagine that!

Since: Nov 09

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#13
Feb 4, 2010
 
When Vic Hollifield ran for Sheriff in Mitchell County while still employed as a Deputy Sheriff with McDowell County, probably violated the Hatch Act.
McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#14
Feb 4, 2010
 
But would this not also go back to Andy's employment at Foothills Industries because they also receive government funding as well? They too would have to reimburse twice his salary there.
McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#15
Feb 4, 2010
 
Just following your lead QAA, you have been fighting the good fight for quite some time on here.

Thanks
McDowell Taxpayer

Anderson, SC

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#16
Feb 4, 2010
 
boomslang wrote:
When Vic Hollifield ran for Sheriff in Mitchell County while still employed as a Deputy Sheriff with McDowell County, probably violated the Hatch Act.
I think you are correct boom. I remember back when people resigned their government jobs to run for things like Sheriff as was stated back in the 70's and 80's. It was their "gig" so to speak to run for office. I guess in McDowell along the way it became OK to ignore the Hatch Act and simply campaign and keep your current position.

I also think this would mean NO CAMPAIGN anything; posters, cards, banners, emails, fliers, selling or distributing pens, pencils, tickets, raffles, etc. or use of any government property (computers, phones, email) for ANYTHING campaign related or you have violated the Hatch Act.

Quite honestly this could be a big " Oh Sh@% " moment for McDowell Politics as we know them today.

Again all of this points back to Andy Webb's deals with DiSanto or none of us would have been looking at the corruption thing as heavily. I think the Republican Party will be spiraling the drain over this goof.

I do believe there are many democrats in question as well but I am just saying Andy's boldness has initiated all that is coming.
cobra302

Anderson, SC

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#17
Feb 4, 2010
 
so did webb file or do whatever someone was talking about on monday?
cobra302

Anderson, SC

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#18
Feb 4, 2010
 
where are you bulldog i know this is killing you. come on go for it!
cobra302

Anderson, SC

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#19
Feb 4, 2010
 
brent rumfelt ran for something too btw

Since: Nov 09

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#20
Feb 4, 2010
 
Hatch Act: Who is Covered?State and Local Employees

The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants. Usually, employment with a state or local agency constitutes the principal employment of the employee in question. However, when an employee holds two or more jobs, principal employment is generally deemed to be that job which accounts for the most work time and the most earned income.

The following list offers examples of the types of programs which frequently receive financial assistance from the federal government: public health, public welfare, housing, urban renewal and area redevelopment, employment security, labor and industry training, public works, conservation, agricultural, civil defense, transportation, anti-poverty, and law enforcement programs.

Hatch Act provisions also apply to employees of private, nonprofit organizations that plan, develop and coordinate federal Head Start or Community Service Block Grant programs.

State and local employees subject to the Hatch Act continue to be covered while on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, administrative leave or furlough.

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