OSC Seal

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


(202) 254-3600, cdeeds@osc.gov

      WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has filed a complaint for disciplinary action against Felicta Cox, a state employee with the Vineland Developmental Center, in Vineland, N.J. The OSC’s complaint, filed September 15, 2004 with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), charges Ms. Cox with violating the Hatch Act’s prohibition against being a candidate for elective office in a partisan election.

      Ms. Cox is covered by the Hatch Act because her primary job duties at Vineland Developmental Center, which is part of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, 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 2003, Ms. Cox ran unsuccessfully as a candidate in a partisan election for Member of the Board of the Chosen Freeholders in Cumberland County. She is currently running as a candidate in the November 2004 election for the same office. According to OSC’s complaint, Ms. Cox knew prior to the 2003 election that she was covered by the Hatch Act and that her candidacy in a partisan election may be a violation of the Act.

     The complaint further alleges that on December 19, 2003, a letter to the editor was published in the Bridgeton News (N.J.) in which Ms. Cox wrote: “I know all about the Hatch Act. … I don’t give a damn about the Hatch Act and I will be running for freeholder in the upcoming election. … I’m here to tell you to bring it on, because you or the Hatch Act are not going to stop me from running for freeholder, because when it comes to me doing something I want to do, the hell with that state job and the Hatch Act.”

     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 may not be a candidate for public office in a partisan election. 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 employee.


     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.