U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS DISCIPLINARY
ACTION IN TWO HATCH ACT CASES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 9/12/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced
that it has filed petitions for disciplinary action with the U.S. Merit
Systems Protection Board against two state employees for violating the Hatch
Act. The first petition was filed on August 4, 2000, against Ms. Delores
Ledesma, Home Support Specialist, Washington State Department of Social and
Health Services (DSHS) and against the State of Washington. The second
petition was filed on September 1, 2000, against Ms. Gaynell Tinker, Service
Social Worker, Alabama Department of Human Resources in Hale County and
against the State of Alabama. OSCís petitions charge both women with
violating the Hatch Actís prohibition on being a candidate for elective
office in a partisan election. (MSPB Docket Nos. CB-1216-00-0025-T-1 and
In the case involving Ms. Tinker, OSCís petition
alleges that on February 10, 2000, Alabama officials advised Ms. Tinker that
her candidacy for Hale County Circuit Clerk violated the federal Hatch Act
and Department policy. Officials of the OSC also warned Ms. Tinker by letter
dated April 19, 2000, that her candidacy violated the Hatch Act. In
response, Ms. Tinker informed the OSC that she would resign from her covered
position after the general election. By letter dated June 5, 2000, the OSC
advised Ms. Tinker that a resignation after the election would not comply
with the Hatch Act.
Despite these warnings, Ms. Tinker ran in the primary
election on June 6, 2000, and is currently registered as a candidate for the
November 7, 2000, general election.
In the Washington State case, OSCís petition alleges
that on August 7, 1998, Ms. Ledesma registered as a candidate for state
representative from the 15th District in Washington for the state
legislature. DSHS officials advised Ms. Ledesma on August 12, 1998, that her
candidacy for the state legislature violated the Hatch Act and DSHS policy.
Nevertheless, according to OSCís complaint, Ms. Ledesma continued her
candidacy and stood for election in November 1998. While she lost the
election, she remains a state employee subject to disciplinary action.
The Hatch Act strictly prohibits state and local
employees, who have job duties in connection with federally funded programs
from running for partisan office. The penalty for a proven violation of the
Act by a state or local employee is that the employee must be removed from
his/her position by the state or local agency or the state will forfeit
federal funds it receives in an amount equal to two yearsí pay of the
employee. The employee may also not be reappointed to a position in that
state for the following 18 months.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent
investigative and prosecutorial agency. Among other things, it investigates
and prosecutes complaints alleging violations of the Hatch Act, and provides
advisory opinions on the Actís requirements.