Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Livesay and Compliance with the Hatch Act

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Update:  Mr. Livesay was quoted in the May 25th edition of the Washington Post as follows:

“When I first filed for office, I had never heard of the Hatch Act before,” Livesay said. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing.”

This goes right to my point.  He doesn’t pay attention to details and does it his way.  Period.  How could he never of heard of the Hatch Act?  I don’t believe it.  I don’t think he ever bothered to find out what it was even though he said, sure, I will uphold the provisions of the Hatch Act.

I can understand if Hayduke doesn’t understand or never heard of the Hatch Act.  But Livesay signed federal documents saying that he did.  I also can’t believe he thinks he can get away with that claim.

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Original Post

When applying for federal grants the applicant must abide by certain assurances (including the Hatch Act) and sign a document to that effect.  There are exceptions to signing the assurance document every single time which is explained further down.  Regardless, they must abide by them when ever they receive grant money.

This purpose of this post is to show that the content of these assurances are readily available and should be very familiar to federal grant applicants.

As the Baltimore Sun reported on Sunday, May 21st:

According to the opinion, Livesay’s signature on current federal grant applications and his supervision of their implementation means he is covered by the Hatch Act.

So we know that Mr. Livesay’s signature appears on the applications.  One must wonder why he would not have been aware of these “ASSURANCES”, and would have to seek an opinion from the OSC to understand if he is “coverd by the Hatch Act” in the first place. 

According to guidelines an applicant is to provide assurances every time the apply for the grant that they will abide by certain rules.  So, every single time Mr. Livesay’s signature appeared on a federal grant application he was providing that assurance.  Did he read what he signed?  Did he understand what he was signing?  Maybe not, otherwise why seek an opinion. 

This is not a display of nuance or attention to detail on Mr. Livesay’s part.

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Thankfully he is doing the right thing and retiring.  I hope he has suspended his fundraising activity among the Police employees until after May 31st.

I am providing links to the actual documents which are available online at the Office of Management and Budget.  The documents require the signature of an authorized certifying official (presumably Mr. Livesay according to the Baltimore Sun).  The USDOJ requires these forms for all applications for funding.

According to the Office of Management and Budget Guidelines regarding Federal Assistance to Statle and Local Governments, and simplified during the Clinton Administration:

States and localities are required to provide assurance of compliance with 18 cross-cutting federal requirements contained in the SF-424, “Application for Federal Assistance,” every single time a grant application is submitted to an individual federal agency. In addition, there are other cross-cutting assurances not contained in the Standard Form. These assurances, which consist of two pages in the standard federal grant application for state and local governments, stipulate that the applicant will comply with statutes such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Hatch Act and the Davis-Bacon Act (see Appendix C). States and localities submit thousands of grant applications each year and are currently required to recertify each time.

Every single time?  That is correct.  Unless:

Agencies shall use the following standard application forms unless they obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 35) and the 5 CFR Part 1320, “Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public”:

SF-424 Facesheet
SF-424a Budget Information (Non-Construction)
SF-424b Standard Assurances (Non-Construction)
SF-424c Budget Information (Construction)
SF-424d Standard Assurances (Construction)

The 18 seperate Assurances an Applicant must provide are listed here:

Assurances–Non-Construction Programs

Following is the list of assurances every grantee must agree to comply with for funding received from the Federal Government. Additional assurances apply for all construction-related grants. The wording has been taken verbatim from a typical grant agreement.

Certain of these assurances may not be applicable to your project or program. If you have questions, please contact the awarding agency. Further, certain federal awarding agencies may require applicants to certify to additional assurances. If such is the case, you will be notified.

As the duly authorized representative of the applicant I certify that the applicant:

8. Will comply with the provisions of the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C. SS 1501-1508 and 7324-7328) which limit the political activities of employees whose principal employment activities are funded in whole or in part with federal funds.

The same language appears for Construction Grants.

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5 Responses to “Livesay and Compliance with the Hatch Act”

  1. Brad said

    Interesting point you raise. Federal grants do stipulate that they won’t be used politically and those program officers (usually gs11s-13s) make a point of telling grant reciepents that. Moreover, grants tend to be awarded through a selective process where this is also discussed. Maybe Mr. Livesay just didn’t care that he was evidently breaking the law–it is the only thing I can think of.

  2. hocomd said

    Brad, thanks for the comment. I have to say something though. I don't have any reason to believe (nor have I implied) that Mr. Livesay knowingly violated the guidelines or the Hatch Act. I would be surprised if that was the case.

    My view is that Mr. Livesay does not have a grasp of details – they escape him for some reason. Being a County Councilman or legislature at any level of Government requires attention to detail (constituent services, budget reviews, zoning and planning, liquer board, etc.) and as such I don't think Mr. Livesay is qualified. That is why I am posting this stuff. I don't enjoy it – but I don't think he is up to the task.

    Brad, your post also makes me wonder if Mr. Livesay put Howard County at risk for future federal grants.

  3. Bubba said

    David,
    Are you sure you aren’t really an investigative reporter in disguise? You really pulled all of the pieces together for some lazy reporter out there – hopefully they will use this great information….

    Bubba

  4. Paul said

    None of this is rocket science. Why has no one simply asked the Office of Special Counsel when they first told Mr. Livesay that he was in violation of the Hatch Act? Why won’t he release the dated document from them an put an end to all of this chatter. Why is it OK for the Police Chief to tell lies, when he has repeatedly said he would fire any policeman who lied?

    Should it not be easy to obtain a copy of any of the grants Mr. Livesay signed where he acknowledges the requirements of the Hatch Act and certified he would not violate it?

    Why is it OK for him to remain the Police Chief while he campaigns for an elected office? Why can he use his office to intimidate his 300 employees to make donations? Why was it OK for him to obtain the names and addresses of each employee and send them a direct request (to their homes) for money for his campaign?

    Why is he being permitted to remain on the County payroll all summer when it is a violation of Federal Law?

  5. Ed Abbey said

    I don’t really understand why I was linked into this discussion.

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