U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS
DISCIPLINARY ACTION IN
HATCH ACT CASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/30/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced
that it filed a petition for disciplinary action against Mr. Everett
O’Donnell, who is employed as the Director of Maintenance for the Warwick
Housing Authority in Rhode Island and who is an active candidate for Warwick
City Council as Ward Four representative. OSC’s petition, filed with the
U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board on Friday, October 27, 2000, charges Mr.
O’Donnell with violating the Hatch Act’s prohibition on being a
candidate for elective office in a partisan election.
As the Director of Maintenance of the Warwick Housing
Authority, Mr. O’Donnell has job duties connected to a program that is
financed in whole or in part by the federal government and, as a result, he
is covered by the federal Hatch Act. Following a telephone call to Mr.
O’Donnell, officials of the OSC warned him by letter dated October 19,
2000, that his candidacy violated the Act and that he must resign his job or
withdraw his candidacy in order to avoid prosecution. Nevertheless,
according to OSC’s petition, Mr. O’Donnell continues to be employed as
Director of Maintenance for the Housing Authority and continues to actively
campaign as a Republican candidate for Warwick City Council, Ward Four.
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 years’ 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 Act’s requirements.