U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES MSPB
DECISION ORDERING REMOVAL OF WASHINGTON STATE EMPLOYEE IN HATCH ACT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/9/01
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced that on June 1, 2001, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board) granted OSCís petition for disciplinary action against Ms. Delores Ledesma, a Home Support Specialist employed by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). OSCís petition charged Ms. Ledesma with violating the Hatch Actís prohibition on being a candidate for elective office in a partisan election. The Boardís decision became final on Friday, July 6th. (MSPB Docket No. CB-1216-00-0025-T-1.)
On August 7, 1998, Ms. Ledesma registered as a candidate for state representative from the 15th District in Washington for the state legislature. DSHS officials advised Ms. Ledesma on August 12, 1998, that her candidacy for the state legislature violated the Hatch Act and DSHS policy. Nevertheless, according to OSCís complaint, Ms. Ledesma continued her candidacy and stood for election in November 1998. While she lost the election, she remains a state employee subject to disciplinary action.
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 yearsí 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 Actís requirements.