Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Take Money From Federals

They may want your job 'cause of it.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel wants Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner removed from his job for running for the state Senate two years ago, a race that he won.

The agency says Greiner violated the Hatch Act by running for the Utah Senate in 2006. The OSC threatened to file the complaint during the race, but Greiner appealed, saying his job does not violate the law.

The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of state, county or city employees connected with programs that take federal money. In a 2006 appeal letter, attorney Jim Bradshaw argued that Greiner does not directly administer the Ogden police department's federal grants.

"Weeks before the election, this allegation comes up for political purposes to drive him from the race," Bradshaw said Wednesday.

A Special Counsel attorney rejected Greiner's appeal, and in October the agency filed a complaint with the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Running as a Republican, Greiner beat Democrat Stuart Reid for state Senate District 18 and took office in January 2007. He has since further distanced himself from the city's federal grant money, Bradshaw said.

"No one is claiming there are ongoing violations," he said. "There's been a complete separation."

The case is scheduled for trial in front of a federal administrative law judge on June 2. If Greiner is found guilty of violating the act, Ogden could be forced to pay the federal government two years' worth of his salary, or about $210,000. Greiner could be barred from working in any state or local job for 18 months.

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