U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST CHIEF
OF STAFF TO D.C. MAYOR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/12/04
CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel
(OSC) has filed a complaint for disciplinary action against Kelvin J.
Robinson, Chief of Staff to District of Columbia (D.C.) Mayor Anthony A.
Williams. OSC filed the complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)
on July 9, 2004. It charges that, during a campaign rally on August 8, 2002,
Mr. Robinson violated the Hatch Act by specifically asking D.C. employees,
many of whom were his subordinates, to volunteer to work on the Mayor’s
Soliciting uncompensated volunteer services from a
subordinate for a political purpose violates two separate provisions of the
Hatch Act, the prohibition against use of official authority or influence
for the purpose of interfering with the result of an election, and the
prohibition against soliciting, accepting, or receiving political
contributions. OSC’s complaint incorporates both charges.
According to the complaint, Mr. Robinson attended two
OSC-sponsored training sessions about the Hatch Act in early 2002, and
therefore, had knowledge of the Hatch Act’s prohibitions prior to the August
8, 2002, campaign rally. OSC has requested that the MSPB remove Mr. Robinson
from his employment with the D.C. government.
Special Counsel, Scott J. Bloch, said, “This office
will prosecute Hatch Act violations in an even handed and vigorous fashion.
As we enter the 2004 national election cycle, it is important for all Hatch
Act covered employees to be well aware of its provisions, which include
prohibitions on partisan candidacy, coercion of partisan support and
engaging in political activity while on duty.”
As a D.C. employee, Mr. Robinson is covered by the
Hatch Act, which covers all D.C. employees, except the Mayor, members of the
City Council, and the Recorder of Deeds.
OSC provides advisory opinions on the Hatch Act and
also enforces the provisions of the Act by filing petitions for disciplinary
action. Employees who are charged with violations are entitled to a hearing
before the MSPB. Under the Act, the presumptive penalty for a violation is
removal. However, upon a unanimous vote of its members, the MSPB can
mitigate the penalty to not less than a 30-day suspension without pay.
Employees have the right to appeal the MSPB’s decision to the United States
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is
an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency and operates as a
secure channel for disclosures of whistleblower complaints and abuse of
authority. Its primary mission is to safeguard the merit system in Federal
employment by protecting Federal employees and applicants from prohibited
personnel practices, especially retaliation for whistleblowing. OSC also has
jurisdiction over the Hatch Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act. For more information please visit our web site at
www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-9855.