Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Hatch Act Letter to the Baltimore Sun

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, June 15, 2006

Update:  My letter appears in the June 15th Howard County Times, "If Hatch escaped his notice, what else might he miss?"

This is an issue I find to be of much greater importance and worthy of news print than Chris Merdon's Cattails confrontation or who thinks that Ken Ulman is rude (just go to a County Council Meeting).

So I wrote this Letter to the Editor

The Hatch Act is a provision of Federal law that prohibits those who apply for and supervise federal funds from seeking office in a partisan election.

Wayne Livesay filed to run for Howard County Council on February 22nd and then actively campaigned for the seat while Chief of Police.  As such, I believe from that moment Mr. Livesay was in violation of the Hatch Act.

The Baltimore Sun reported, "According to the opinion (by the OSC), Livesay's signature on current federal grant applications and his supervision of their implementation means he is covered by the Hatch Act." 

The guidelines for application for and use of federal grants are clear, especially for one who supervised the process for eight years as Chief of Police.

As such I am mystified that Mr. Livesay told the Washington Post,” When I first filed for office, I had never heard of the Hatch Act before … I didn't even know there was such a thing."

By law States and localities are required to provide assurance of compliance with federal requirements contained in the "Application for Federal Assistance," every single time a grant application is submitted to an individual federal agency.  This includes the Hatch Act.  These assurances are contained in a two page document that must be signed by the applicant.  The Hatch Act is clearly spelled out.

If Mr. Livesay signed the “Application for Federal Assistance”, as the Sun reported, and submitted the “assurances” how is it possible that Mr. Livesay never heard of the Hatch Act?

I take Mr. Livesay at his word.  However it is no excuse and brings up other questions.  Did Mr. Livesay understand what he was signing?  If such an important detail escaped his attention for eight years is that how he expects to approach multitude of complex issues that face the County Council?

Others may dismiss this as a simple matter, or even as an unfair attack on Mr. Livesy.  I respectfully disagree and have yet to hear of an explanation.


4 Responses to “Hatch Act Letter to the Baltimore Sun”

  1. Bubba said

    Can’t believe you got the Sun to budge and print your letter! Keep up the good work…..


  2. Frank Williams said

    I thought this was really a non-issue, but you raise a good point. After 8 years how could someone not understand a process like that and why isn’t anyone talking about this?

    Initially I thought a former Police Chief would be a good County Councilman – now I know I have to really look at the person and not just the title.

    It would be nice to see a good explanation to this.

    Thanks for bringing this up and staying with it.

  3. Ernest Dowson said

    As for Chris Merdon, apparently a regular charmer, it’s nice that his wife can support him financially. Merdon and his office have ignored numerous emails from me, a constituent, asking for his position on an issue. Just a quick answer would have been fine, or even a, “Sorry, I’m too busy right now, but I’ll get back with you later, little serf, if I feel like it.” Even Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin are better about constituent relations!
    I may still vote for Merdon this fall, but if so, it will be with a clothespin firmly clamping my nose.

  4. Anonymous said

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