Wednesday, May 26, 2010

25 May 2010 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

25 May 2010 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Present: Dennis Kraus Sr., President, Dan Lansing, Liz Morris, Tom Cheek, Maynard Barrett, Bryan Messmore, and Bill Ullrich.
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator.
County Commissioner Tom Orschell was present.

Ruth Ann Batta- Sunman Dearborn Summer Arts Program – 23rd year for program- have about 130 signed up. Running 4 classes for 2 weeks. Most are from Dearborn County. Painting, drawing, sculpting, and several field trips. $2,000 was approved out of Youth Services Fund.

Greg Townsend
- Special Olympics Summer Games- brought Jacob- one of the summer athletes who will be competing in the summer Olympics. 64 athletes and coaches going. Average cost is about $110 not including transportation. Total expense over $6,000. $1,000 approved from YOUTH services fund.

Cathy Piche- Director, YES Home – this year going to have a summer school program for 48 hours within the county. Total program is $5,000. $1000 approved from youth services Fund

Pat Acra- Pregnancy Care Center Quilt program- Made 35 quilts and 57 afghans from last year’s program. These are incentives to get them to go through parenting classes. $1,000 approved from youth Services Fund.

Aaron Negangard Prosecutor- Pre-trial Diversion- last year used some of this fund for special equipment. This money does not roll to county general at year end. Asking that the money unspent last year ($64,000 in there) asking for $6,400 – approved to have that amount from that fund.

Gary Hensley- Assessor- new vehicle- Due to the new 15% rule requiring inspection of every sale within 60days. There were 1147 valid sales last year. This gets the assessor out into the county with the people. Needs to purchase a vehicle- the one he has is unsafe to drive (gas leak etc) Willing to take hand me downs from sheriff’s dept. There are 15 parcels he has to inspect a day. Plans on 2 people working together for safety rules. Can do land assessment from GIS- but not improvements. He can use loaners for now- not important that he gets there fast- just that he gets there!
Form 11 was removed and he was using tax bill as the assessment notice. Now they require it be sent separately- so he has to do that also. Money will have to be back for that.
He is to come to budget with most of this and get the car from the sheriff.

Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt- set up account- no money needed. By Jan 1, 2013-per FCC- all the VHF and UHF radios they use will have to be reprogrammed or replaced. With the 800 MgHz system, they are doing a rebanding- for different stations on different bandwidth. $35 for portables and $65 for mobiles will be coming back from Sprint/Nextel. Wants to set up a fund to receive this money to use for narrow banding. Kraus was not sure they could set up an account for this- they will address at budget hearings.
Siren Maintenance fund sometimes has some left over- wants to have that rolled over so that they don’t lose it when year ends.
When they have sales and auctions- he would like anything they get for their donated equipment that gets sold could go to them. Messmore suggested they keep track of revenue and use it at budget time. Also don’t spend money just because it’s left over.

Eric Hartman- Maintenance- Overtime- requesting the balance they talked about at budget time and they told him to come back in the spring. Overtime approved out of riverboat fund.

Bill Shelton- Building Dept- wanted to transfer some money from part time to full time per Kraus. Shelton was not present. Thinks it was for money for vacation that he didn’t have money to cover- $2,000. Approved for $2,000 to move from part to full time.

Steve Renihan- DCRSD- 2 change orders- (Bob Hrezo PE and Frank Kramer, Attorney, present as were some RCRSD Board members)Renihan stated they wanted funding for a preliminary engineering study for Lake Dilldear. As it is low income they may qualify for grants. The lake is essentially becoming a lagoon with all the septic issues there. Cannot go for grant without a preliminary engineer. Ralph Thompson volunteered and others went door to door to get income survey done for the grant. Margaret Minzner is helping them apply. Huseman road Income surveys look like they are too high to qualify for a grant.

Cheek asked if the county would get hooked by IDEM for clean-up of Lake Dilldear. Renihan is hoping that won’t be an issue. The lake is probably privately owned. Cheek said that Dilldear was not supposed to be permanent housing. It was basically a campground. People live there year round. They would put the line in and run it to Dillsboro’s treatment plant. They would run an interlocal agreement with Dillsboro to operate it. Permission and funding for the preliminary treatment plant.

Renihan asked for funding for this $3,750 fee for the billing system to refund the High Ridge account after they took it out to cover it until Council could meet. Billing system will be used for more than just High Ridge.
$10,400 seed money needed for bills they need to pay due before the sewer bills get paid. Six months needed and they will pay it back.
There are some bonding bills that are due now again for June 1. $1640

Need insurance to cover the High Ridge plant for $330,000 value. Includes earthquake coverage. $1,000. All other sewer fixes were turned over to other municipalities or districts. Not High Ridge. Approved.

All change orders show they are about 12% over their estimate. He explained all the issues they ran into it as detailed at commissioners a month ago. See those notes for the particulars. No more needed- it is done. People are paying their bills- that’s a good thing. $22,954. Approved.

Huseman Road project- Council approved the preliminary engineering report last time and this is the result of that report. All houses are on lots too small to fix the septic systems. There was a house there that burned down and it couldn’t be rebuilt due to septic issue. 36,000 gal of sewage out there monthly. Low pressure to Aurora industrial park. Would prefer gravity- but too expensive. If we do pressure systems we can fix more problem areas, If we do gravity we will run out of money really fast. The cost is about two to one. They need pressure for the distance. The lift stations across US 50 need upgrades at Aurora Casket and the other one. Problem with getting under US 50 also. Costs are too high. They will go 3”on to Walston’s Trailer park, then 2” to Mt Tabor and Sharon Road. Trying not to size the line for 200 acre plot that Meierjohn had. That will allow about 40 homes there- but not the maximum buildout. They don’t want a 6” line because it will cost a lot and the developer should pay for those upgrades.
This will all get turned over to Aurora for their outside the city rate, which is about 3 times the water rate. Renihan says they should fix this. These problem areas are money losers. Most of these are lower income areas. Cheek said- there could be an issue with some people getting theirs fixed for free. Renihan- but we can’t let the raw sewage run out. Renihan says they can fix all the problem areas plus Guilford and still have about $1million left in the account that DCRSD has with the county. Life cycle costing was done on these systems. Grinder pumps are biggest maintenance costs.
Messmore wants to table this for further research. Wants to get the map. Council voted and tabling did NOT pass. Renihan said they could do just Huseman Road then. Approved with Messmore and Lansing Nay.

$10,000 contingency for DCRSD to cover until Council meets again. Approved at Kraus’s suggestion.

Lisa Taylor- Augusta Drive and Oakmont Court in Sugar Ridge Subdivision- Listerman gave background of the roads and what happened with Macke’s bankruptcy and letters of credit that lapsed. The commissioners accepted it and they are patching the utility cuts. It will be included into the regular system waiting for top surface. Estimate of $152,000 to do the topcoat. Base is stable- just no seal on it. Road count will be done on it this summer.
Lisa Taylor- represents the residents of Sugar Ridge. They have been to commissioners also. We are not a HOA- not set up that way. She provided a petition from all homeowners on Augusta and Oakmont and a few other side streets. They wanted commissioners to provide the surface coat to prevent further damage. Only one house sold in the last year. The other lots and homes are not selling because of the road. We are approaching Council for the funding to get it surfaced. Traffic for the golf course is high as also it would be when there is an accident on Stateline hill. This is NOT a position we put ourselves in. It is not our fault. Messmore says they could take $50,000 and start an account to get started on this. Morris says the county bears responsibility. The county will do as best it can to maintain the road. Kraus said the commissioners are in charge of roads- they decide when they will be done. Commissioners will have to ask Council for that money. No vote on Messmore’s suggestion.

Gayle Pennington, Auditor- approved Jan minutes with amendment from Morris. Salary adjustment and PERF- from Suellen Cauble were also presented by Pennington. Money was left at the end of the year that was not encumbered. $5140.41 moved back to PERF account for this employee. Approved.
Three other offices had similar problem with PERF. $3,962 needed to fix this. Approved. These were budgeted. This is just housekeeping.

Lost our financial comptroller at the end of the year and job description have changed. Pickens had planned to bring this. This person has increased duties. She has trained for this. $3,943 increase requested for her salary to the year’s end. Approved. This person will be doing Jessica’s old job at budget time. This person is also training the HR person. Approved.

Todd Listerman- Transportation dept- Budget and Collier Ridge Bridge- maintenance worker position open- commissioners approved but he needs council’s approval to fill this vacancy. Approved.
Seeking a grant for salt storage at Randall Avenue. They can use the other two facilities for salt/sand mixtures. This would help store salt more economically. Grant will cover the full $175,000 from Lawrenceburg Community Foundation. Asking for council to sign letter for the grant. OK
Two old accounts per Leah in Auditor’s office. One is to fix Pinhook slip- dormant since 2006. Also 132, the road bond trust. Total funds less than $3000. Just dissolve them and put money in MVHA. Approved.
Cum bridge fund got all fouled up this year. SBOA said they had to reappropriate the money. Several items needed to be redone. Total of $1,754,635. This is just repopulating the budget with what was appropriated minus some so that it fell within the budget approved amount. Has a $200,000 cushion also. Approved.
The 172 account which is Riverboat revenue for highway. I spend the previous year’s money each year. There is $550,000 of last year’s money unspent. Asking for $325,000 for millings and reclamation work. Approved.
Purchase 2 one ton dump trucks for $150,000 for subdivision snow removal. Approved from 172 account.
Line striping new rules say only have to do 6000 vpd and up. This would be less than $15,000 there are several in the 3,000 -6,000 vpd. Wants to use the 3,000 threshold this year. Hope to do 1,000 some other years. Cole Lane, Georgetown, Jamison, North Dearborn partial and part of Stateline and all of Wilson Creek. $41,000. Get almost 40% reduction in accidents with side and center stripes. Also population is aging….Approved.
$25,000 dedicated to aggregates for local road and street from 172 account. Approved.

That leaves $340,000 in the 172 account.

Every year bridges are required to be replaced. 17 bridges should have been replaced last year and this year. Three have been closed. Some are going to be replaced in a few years. Some have been designed- just waiting for money. Should be replacing two bridges annually. We are taxed at 3.3 cents per hundred. It can be maxed at 10 cents. Don’t like property taxes. This is the only avenue the state gives us. $730,000 per year. Shortridge funded tonight at $600,000 tonight. State legislators ask if we have maxed out our options yet. Have you instituted a wheel tax? Wheel tax is preferable- we get all the money from it. The county could get 41million a year if cars were $25 per car and $40 per truck. Cities would also get some of this. Council took this info under advisement.

Several PAWS members were present- no animal shelter business brought up for them.

Meeting was about to adjourn when Morris spoke up.

Liz Morris said some actions by county attorney at the commissioner meeting concerned her. She thinks personnel matter needed to be handled in an executive session. Some other Council members agreed. [NOTE: Executive session is for personnel matters. The Hatch Act violation was not about a person’s job performance. It is about whether or not they can run for office. That is a political matter. The county attorney stated at the commissioner’s meeting that he had sought legal advice on executive session or not. Legally he was advised that it was not for executive session by two attorneys.]

Bryan Messmore continued saying he had a discussion with OSC (Office of Special Counsel on the Hatch Act) on the phone. He asked the rep there for general feelings on the alleged violations. “It would appear that I would be exempt form that law because of my APPOINTMENT to Council.” That was a simple phone call. Falling under the judicial branch of gov’t exempts me from the Hatch Act. [NOTE: The spirit of the Hatch Act is to prevent political patronage jobs- the old “spoils system.” There is indeed a “loophole” for the judicial branch and the Hatch Act has rulings on judges running for office that address that. These are for State constitutions that show certain offices under the judicial branch. In our case, the Indiana State Constitution shows the prosecutor’s office under the judicial branch. The OSC will address whether or not the Victim’s Advocate Coordinator is under the prosecutor or judicial branch. If he is not under their purview, they will probably address whether the caucus elected or selected Messmore to fill Fehrman’s seat and if that is permissible under Hatch Rules. And if that is permissible- it might preclude running for office in 2012, unless the grant job changes.]

Messmore said, “I am not an attorney.” There is some question regarding the statement made there. Messmore wants to know who knew what and when. “Everyone has the same opinion of how it was handled. [Note: Who is he speaking for when he says “everyone?”]

Messmore said, “That’s the same kind of BS that the people are tired of. The way it was handled puts us at risk for grants.” [NOTE: The act(s) in violation put us at risk for grants. If Johnny steals a cookie from the cookie jar and his brother tells Mom, who is at fault? Killing the messenger does not change the fact that we are at risk for grants. If Messmore is so sure of his innocence, then why is he and the whole Council worried about the county being at risk of losing our federal grants?]

Messmore concluded saying, “I intend to forward my comments to appropriate authorities.”

[NOTE: Under Indiana Constitution, the Sheriff’s Office is under the Executive/Administrative branch and is subject to the Hatch Act. Mike Kreinhop resigned from SCU before running for sheriff. McHenry did not, when he ran for Commissioner. It was also notable that the county Prosecutor, Aaron Negangard, and the County GOP Chairman, Allen Goodman, stayed for the entire meeting.
The political patronage system is alive and well in Dearborn County. Those who are loyal to the party leaders get jobs- some of which are paid for by federal grants. Trying to tuck all the problems out of sight is likely to get us all in trouble. Anyone who has ever picked up a seemingly intact log in the woods to find all the little critters living on the rot beneath it, know what happens if the old wood isn’t cleaned out. I would bet we start vetting our candidates more carefully before the next election. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. This issue needs to stay out in the light at public meeting(s).]

Meeting adjourned 10:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township


??? said...

Form the Office of Special Council's FAQs page:

"15. Can I be appointed to public office?

Answer: Yes. The Hatch Act does not prohibit a covered employee from being appointed to a partisan political office. However, if the employee is covered by the Hatch Act, the employee would be prohibited from seeking election to that office."


??? said...

Form = From Sorry.

NWQUAD1 said...

I’m a little shocked at the cost of two one ton dump trucks. $150,000? I sure they have specialized equipment, plow, salt spreader, lighting etc. but that sounds high. Anybody have more info?

$$$ said...

thats what we pay in west chester did they even get bids for the trucks ?

MustBeKidding said...

A couple of comments on the notes by the person who posted this item:

"That is a political matter."
YES. Finally. Somebody admitted it.

"Prosecutor Aaron Negangard stayed for the entire meeting."
SO? He's a county official. Maybe more of them ought to attend meetings of the County Council since its members hold the pursestrings.

"Shooting the messenger..."
Agreed. Witte is obligated to raise the issue if he believes there is one. But he could have done it a long time ago. So it's not that Johnny shouldn't tell Mommy or that he is somehow at fault. But he could have blown the whistle on the cookie thief in a timely manner, not when it was convenient for him and his job status, or for his political pals.

"Those who are loyal to the party leaders get jobs."
Or perhaps those who are loyal to someone who has both power and a grudge (a dangerous combination) gets a job as political payback (Thompson and Witte)?
I'm just sayin.'

??? said...

Mike Kreinhop resigned from SCU before running for sheriff.

Maybe he was the only smart one and had no deep-down desire for a "double-dipping" patronage position anyhow?

I'm just sayin.'

??? said...

Let us all just look on the bright side and just sit back and enjoy the freak show as the local development owned GOP leadership turns itself into intellectual and emotional pretzels whilst they support THEIR development owned democrat for the November election.

Anonymous said...

we are going to need to bail some one out of jail so the can run.

noonetoplaywith said...

What democrat sock puppet will the local GOP leadership run to give their current lonely and whining sock puppet (see below) a play friend?,jeff.jpg

MustBeKidding said...

What is it with the trashing of "development"? It sounds as if some you people would never want another contractor to get some work to support his family, never want another house to be built, never want to create another job, never want give Dearborn County kids an opportunity to stay here to work (or come back after college). That's the problem with elitists like you. You've got yours, so you want to barn door to close so nobody else has an opportunity.
Selfish at best, exclusionary and elitist at worst.

same old nonsense said...

No, honey, we want developers to pay their own way, not with our tax dollars and forced sewer hookup letters, to pay for their infrastructure requirements to profit from their land purchases.

MustBeKidding said...

Who said anything about not requiring development types to pay their own way? Not me.


Same old nonsense said...

Remember "forced sewer hookups" and Vieste?

The very same people who supported that crap backed McHenry, Messmore and others.

Now why is that, honey?

MustBeKidding said...

Why do I get the feeling I am debating the same person with a bunch of monikers? Either that, or the anti-development folks don't know how to make a point without offensive language and name-calling.

That said...I don't know the answer to your question because I am not familiar with that specific example, and I never said people shouldn't pay their own way. I'm just saying that it is not right to paint anybody who wants to have some growth and economic development as an *ss.

I feel sorry for people like you who have such a narrow view of the world.

Same old nonsense said...

Point to where anyone here who "paint(s) anybody who wants to have some growth and economic development as an *ss."?

Talk about myopic perception!

Well, anyway, who are the developers' going to run now that McHenry and Messmore have been "Hatched?"

MustBeKidding said...

About the A word:
"If Witte is an asshole, he made the rest of you assholes look like uber-dumbassholes. Have wonderful day!"

Just one of a couple of examples during discussion of this issue.

And don't count your chickens before they've HATCHED. No one know yet how this will turn out. There are plenty of knowledgeable people who have conflicting interpretations of this issue.

same old nonsense said...

"If Witte is an asshole, he made the rest of you assholes look like uber-dumbassholes. Have wonderful day!"

AS compared to your statement:

"paint(s) anybody who wants to have some growth and economic development as an *ss."?

Non sequiter unless Witte is anti-growth and development and his enemies are all for it.

Messmore is not PRESENTLY in violation because he was appointed to the office, but he cannot run for re-election.

McHenry was in violation the moment he began his run before stepping down from the Special Crimes Unit.

"14. If my candidacy is found to be in violation of the Hatch Act, can I relinquish the duties that cause me to be covered by the Hatch Act, and thus negate my violation?

Answer: No. A person is in violation of the Hatch Act when, at the time he engaged in prohibited conduct, he was covered by the Hatch Act. It has been held that candidacy begins when preliminary steps are taken to establish a candidacy, not just when a formal announcement is made. For example, canvassing voters, polling for name recognition, or meeting with campaign managers are preliminary steps taken that would be viewed as candidacy for purposes of the Hatch Act (even if a formal candidacy is not declared). If such steps are taken by someone who is covered by the Hatch Act, a violation of the Act will have occurred. A change in duties at a later time will not negate the already existing violation.

15. Can I be appointed to public office?

Answer: Yes. The Hatch Act does not prohibit a covered employee from being appointed to a partisan political office. However, if the employee is covered by the Hatch Act, the employee would be prohibited from seeking election to that office."

From the U.S. Office Of Special Counsel's FAQ page:

This veteran wishes you a happy and engaging Memorial Day Weekend.

Red Handed said...

Messmore DID run in the primary and is now in violation of the Hatch Act. So much focus has been on McHenry that some have forgotten completely Messmore did in fact run for his office in the primary after his appointment without resigning from his Hatch Act covered employment. He is now exactly in the same position as McHenry as being in violation of the Act.

Same old nonesens said...

Actually, if Messmore's job is primarily under the judicial branch of government and is not intermingled in any way with the executive branch (utilization of some police powers or activities, even transiently), he is in the clear.

Just what are Messmore's duties relative to his employment?

McHenry's case is a black letter law case of a violation of the Hatch act.

Same old nonesens said...

Don’t Bury the Hatch Act: Hidden Dangers for the Unwary and Politically Active Prosecutor’s Office Employee

By Scott J. Bloch

Good government is an empire of laws.
—John Adams, 1776, Thoughts on Government

There is an old adage, that “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Like many adages, this one may provide generally sound advice at just the wrong time. As an employee of a local prosecutor’s office, what you do not know about your obligations under the Hatch Act may cost you your job, and it may cost the prosecutor a substantial financial penalty.

The Hatch Act’s limits on partisan political activities of state and local employees apply to the many prosecutors’ offices that receive federal funds. Congress intended the act to ensure the efficient administration of the laws and to foster public perception of an impartial bureaucracy. Penalties for violating the Hatch Act include the removal of the employee or forfeiture of federal grants and loans in the amount of two years of the offending employees’ salary—a high cost in an era of severe government budget constraints.

The United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent federal agency, is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, as well as enforcing whistleblower laws, prohibited personnel practices and reemployment rights of reservists in the federal workforce. OSC seeks to maintain and improve government ethics and efficiency through enforcement of these laws and protection of employee rights. In addition to this enforcement function, OSC has a hotline to provide advisory opinions on Hatch Act coverage and possible violations, and an interpretation of the implementing regulations.

This article reviews the impact of the Hatch Act on employees in prosecutors’ offices. Additional information about the Hatch Act is available at OSC’s Web site,

Specific Restrictions

Prohibited Activities
Covered employees may not be candidates for public office in a partisan election.

Employees whose principal employment duties are connected with a federal loan or grant cannot be candidates for partisan office. This restriction does not apply to individuals whose principal employment is an elective office, as is the case for some prosecutors. However, many employees of a prosecutor’s office are subject to this restriction. For example, in 1996, OSC issued an advisory opinion, explaining that an employee of a program at a DA’s office funded in part with a federal grant was covered by the act, and could not run for partisan office without resigning from her position or risking a funding penalty for her agency.

If any covered employee is a candidate on a ballot and chooses to run for election as a representative of, for instance, the Democratic or Republican Party, the election is considered to be partisan for purposes of the Hatch Act. State and local laws designating an election as nonpartisan create a rebuttable presumption that the Hatch Act permits candidacy by covered employees. Evidence that partisanship has entered a race, as through candidate solicitation or advertising the endorsement of a partisan political party, may transform an election into a partisan one.

Hatch Act restrictions apply to any act in furtherance of candidacy, including acts before a formal announcement. Canvassing for votes, circulating petitions for candidacy and soliciting funding are prohibited.

Read more:

Same old nonesens said...

OSC: Ohio Prosecutor
Violated Hatch Act
Official, Assistant Pressured Subordinates
To Make Political Contributions

CONTACT: Loren Smith, 202-254-3714,

WASHINGTON, DC – A local prosecutor in Ohio, Mathias Heck, along with his assistant, Greg Flannagan, repeatedly pressured subordinates to contribute money and time to political campaigns, in defiance of federal law. This according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a small independent agency that enforces the Hatch Act, the law that limits political activity by government employees.

OSC has filed for disciplinary action against Mr. Heck, the Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney, and Mr. Flannagan, his executive assistant, charging them with multiple violations. According to the filing, the pair used their official authority to interfere with or affect the results of elections and coerce Hatch Act-covered employees into contributing money and time to the local Democratic party.

Mr. Heck was first elected Montgomery County Prosecutor in 1992 and has successfully run for re-election every four years since then. In each election, he has represented the Democratic party. (As an elected official, he is not prohibited by the Hatch Act from running for re-election. 5 U.S.C. § 1501(c).)

The Prosecutor’s Office has received three federal grants – the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grant, the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant, and the IV-D grant – since at least 1997. The IV-D grant originates from the Child Support Enforcement Program under the Social Security Act and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services oversees the program. The U.S. Department of Justice administers the VOCA and VAWA grants. Mr. Heck is covered by the Hatch Act due to his oversight of the Prosecutor’s Office programs funded by these grants and his responsibility for seeking and receiving the grants. Mr. Flannagan was covered by the Hatch Act because he was paid by and otherwise had duties in connection with the IV-D grant received by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Among other things, OSC’s complaint alleges that Mr. Heck coerced subordinates to make yearly contributions to two Democratic party fundraisers, to volunteer for his 2004 re-election campaign, and to volunteer their time to the Democratic Party; used Prosecutor’s Office resources to further his 2004 candidacy for re-election to the Prosecutor position; and used his official authority to interfere with or affect the outcome of the 2004 election for United States Congress in which Jane Mitakides was a candidate.

OSC’s complaint alleges that Mr. Flannagan similarly coerced employees, including subordinates, to make contributions to two yearly Democratic party fundraisers, and to volunteer on behalf of the Democratic party and on behalf of Cindi Heck, Mr. Heck’s wife, during her 2005 candidacy in a partisan election; and used Prosecutor’s Office resources to further Mr. Heck’s 2004 candidacy for re-election to the Prosecutor position.

Special Counsel Scott Bloch noted, “Coercion cases such as the one involving Mr. Heck and Mr. Flannagan feature the most pernicious sort of Hatch Act violations. Indeed, this sort of activity is exactly why the law was originally passed. We are confident of our course in this case and we stand ready to prosecute any and all violations of the Hatch Act.”

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 eighteen months, or forfeiture of federal grant funds by the state/local agency in an amount equal to two years of the salary of the employee.

Same old nonesens said...

Meant also to highlight:

Mr. Flannagan was covered by the Hatch Act because he was paid by and otherwise had duties in connection with the IV-D grant received by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Same old nonesens said...

Ohio Prosecutor Admits to Violating the Hatch Act

WASHINGTON, DC / September 25, 2008 – Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck, Jr., along with hisadministrative assistant, Greg Flannagan, admitted liability to violating the Hatch Act which prohibits certain government
employees from participating in political activity. The Office of Special Counsel’s (OSC) investigation revealed that Heck
routinely conveyed his expectation that subordinates contribute money to the local Democratic Party and time to political campaigns, in defiance of federal law. OSC charged that the pair used their official authority to interfere with or affect the results of elections. In a voluntary settlement agreement, Mr. Heck admitted that he solicited contributions for local Democratic Party fundraisers from six employees of the Montgomery County Prosecutors Office. (MCPO) Mr. Flannagan admitted collecting the cash and checks for these fundraisers from MCPO employees. Although Mr. Heck denied knowing that the Hatch Act prohibited the solicitation of political contributions from employees, as both an attorney and a long-time elected official, he should have known that whenever public employers place conditions on public employment requiring employees to become involved in partisan political activity, they put at risk the basic freedoms of speech that are protected by our Constitution.

“The people and employees of the prosecutor’s office expect and deserve more from their elected officials,” said U.S. Special Counsel, Scott Bloch. “Politicization of government offices and pressuring subordinates to contribute to politicalcauses are testaments to why Congress enacted this law and are behaviors that simply will not be tolerated.”

As part of the settlement, Heck agreed not to seek employment with either a different state or local (county) agency for aperiod of 18 months unless such employment is to an elective office. Flannagan agreed to accept a 5-day suspension
without pay to be served no later than 30 days from the date of the last signatory to this agreement. In consideration for their admissions of liability and their agreement to accept these penalties, the Special Counsel has agreed to dismiss the complaints. The motion for dismissal is currently pending review before a judge. After the judge dismisses the case, if either Heck or Flannagan fail to live up to the plea agreement, the Office of Special Counsel may refile and proceed with prosecution for removal.

Matthias Heck was first elected Montgomery County Prosecutor in 1992 and has successfully run for re-election every four years since then. In each election, he has represented the Democratic Party. The Hatch Act strictly prohibits some state and local employees who have duties in connection with federally-funded programs from being candidates in partisan elections. Until 2007, MCPO with Heck at its helm received federal funds to support some of its enforcement programs. The penalty for a proven violation of the Act by a state or local employee normally is removal of the employee from his/her position by the state/local agency and debarment from state/local employment for the following eighteen months, or forfeiture of
federal grant funds by the state/local agency in an amount equal to two years of the salary of the employee. However, because MCPO no longer receives federal funds, the available options for a meaningful penalty in these cases were limited.

same old nonsense said...

What patronage job will the development owned local republican leadership create for Messmore before the 2012 election cycle not related to federal funding?

What democrat will the development owned local republican leadership run and support to take McHenry's place this November?

Dan Brewington said...

Check out the March 12, 2009 post on this blog. Mike Kreinhop had a political advertisement in the Republican party's Lincoln Day Dinner program. The dinner, which was held on February 27, 2009, lists one of the sponsoring ads as "Mike Kreinhop, Investigator Special Crimes Unit- for Sheriff." How come Witte didn't list Kreinhop as a violator? Kreinhop listed his federally funded position in his campaign material.