U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS
DISCIPLINARY ACTION IN
HATCH ACT CASE AGAINST U.S. POSTAL SERVICE LETTER CARRIER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/18/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special
Counsel (OSC) filed a petition for disciplinary action against Mr. Jack
Simmons, a Letter Carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Jeff Davis
County, Georgia, for violating the Hatch Act. OSC’s petition, filed with
the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), charges Mr. Simmons with
violating the Hatch Act’s prohibition on being a candidate for elective
office in a partisan election.
According to OSC’s petition, local Postmaster Coite
Dent, Mr. Simmons’s direct supervisor, gave Mr. Simmons a copy of the
Hatch Act last spring. Regardless, in June 2000, he filed papers to run as
an independent candidate in a partisan race for Sheriff of Jeff Davis
County, in Georgia. According to OSC’s petition, Postmaster Dent,
repeatedly, over the course of several months, continued to inform Mr.
Simmons that his candidacy for Sheriff violated the Hatch Act.
On September 18, 2000, OSC verbally informed Mr. Simmons
that the Jeff Davis County Sheriff’s race was partisan because another
candidate was running as a Democrat and that his candidacy violated the
Hatch Act. He was told that he must resign from his job or withdraw his
On October 2, 2000, the OSC sent a formal warning letter
to Mr. Simmons. That letter stated his candidacy was prohibited by the Hatch
Act and that, we are providing you with the opportunity to correct your
violation. You may withdraw your candidacy or you may resign from your
position with the U.S. Postal Service.
Nonetheless, to date, Mr. Simmons continues to be
employed by the Postal Service and continues to campaign for Jeff Davis
County Sheriff against a Democratic candidate.
The penalty for a proven violation of the Hatch Act is
the employee’s removal from employment or, if the Merit Systems Protection
Board decides that removal is not warranted, a penalty of not less than a
30-day suspension. In addition, although the law is still unsettled
regarding the availability of permanent debarment from federal employment in
cases involving violations of the Hatch Act, OSC may pursue such a remedy in
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 Act’s requirements.