OSC Seal

 U.S. Office of Special Counsel
 1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 218
 Washington, D.C. 20036-4505

OSC Wins Disciplinary Settlement
In Hatch Act Case
Housing Authority Director in NJ
Violated Law


CONTACT: Loren Smith, 202-254-3714, lsmith@osc.gov

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U. S. Office of Special Counsel announced its favorable settlement of a complaint seeking disciplinary action against Mark Holmes, Executive Director of the East Orange Housing Authority in East Orange, New Jersey, for violating the Hatch Act. OSC's complaint charged Mr. Holmes with violating the Hatch Act’s prohibition against being a candidate for public office in a partisan election.

      As part of the settlement agreement, Mr. Holmes admitted that he was a candidate in the November 8, 2005, partisan election for Lawrence Township Council, in violation of the Hatch Act. Contrary to previous reports in the press, Mr. Holmes is not taking a six month leave without pay from his position as Executive Director; he is being removed from his position with the East Orange Housing Authority as disciplinary action for his violation of the Hatch Act, a penalty consistent with the provisions of the Act.

      In addition, Mr. Holmes is debarred from seeking or accepting office or employment with any state or local agency in the State of New Jersey for a period of six months. Should Mr. Holmes or the East Orange Housing Authority violate any terms of the settlement agreement, OSC will re-file its complaint for disciplinary action with the Merit Systems Protection Board.

      Mr. Holmes is covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act because, as Executive Director of a Housing Authority that receives millions of dollars in federal grants, he has duties in connection with federally funded programs. The East Orange Housing Authority receives grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its overall operating expenses, and it also administers several million dollars in HUD Housing Voucher Assistance Payments.

      The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state, county or municipal executive agencies who have duties in connection with programs financed in whole or part by federal loans or grants. An employee covered by the Act is prohibited from being a candidate for public office in a partisan election. The possible penalty for violating the Act is removal of the employee from his or her position with the state or local agency and debarment from employment with a state or local agency within the same state for the following 18 months.


The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency. Among other functions, it investigates and prosecutes complaints alleging violations of the Hatch Act and provides advisory opinions regarding the Act’s requirements. For more information about OSC, please visit our web site at www.osc.gov or call 1-800-872-1855.

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