U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS DISCIPLINARY ACTION IN HATCH ACT CASE
AGAINST NEW YORK STATE EMPLOYEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/22/04
CONTACT: CATHY DEEDS
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Office of
Special Counsel (OSC) has filed a complaint for disciplinary action against
Bonnie Cannan, a state employee with the Finger Lakes Developmental
Disabilities Service Office (FLDDSO) in Rochester, New York. The OSC’s
complaint, filed July 13, 2004 with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB),
charges Ms. Cannan with violating the Hatch Act’s prohibition against being
a candidate for elective office in a partisan election.
Ms. Cannan is covered by the Hatch Act because her
primary job duties at FLDDSO, which is part of the New York Office of Mental
Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, are in connection with programs
that are financed, in whole or in part, by loans or grants issued by the
U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services under the Medicaid program.
The OSC’s petition alleges that in 2001, Ms. Cannan ran
as the Green party candidate for Rochester City Council in a partisan
election. According to OSC’s complaint, officials at FLDDSO notified Ms.
Cannan that she was covered by the Hatch Act and warned her that her
candidacy in a partisan election may be a violation of the Act prior to the
2001 election. Despite this warning, Ms. Cannan continued her candidacy in
the 2001 election and then ran again as the Green party candidate in the
partisan election for the New York State Senate, 56th District in 2002.
The Hatch Act strictly prohibits state and local
employees who have duties in connection with federally-funded programs from
being candidates in partisan elections. The penalty for a proven violation
of the Act by a state or local employee is removal of the employee from
his/her position by the state/local agency and debarment from state/local
employment for the following 18 months, or forfeiture of federal grant funds
by the state/local agency in an amount equal to two years of the salary of
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.