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What Is This Hatch Act You Speak Of?

I always assumed that every federal employee was at least aware of the Hatch Act, and its limitations on partisan political activities. Apparently not. The Saginaw News reported late last week that three Postal Service employees who serve as elected local government officials in Gratiot County, Mich., were shocked to discover that they were, in fact, serving illegally.

One of the officials, Tresha Graham-Mikek, a rural letter carrier, has been in office as Bethany Township clerk for 12 years. "I don't know what putting letters in mailboxes has to do with being a township clerk," she told the paper. "I've been a carrier for 23 years and the clerk for 12, and it's never been an issue. But the law is the law, and I understand that."

County Clerk Carol A. Vernon got an anonymous letter tipping her off to the situation, but she didn't know anything about the Hatch Act either. So she and county Prosecutor Keith Kushion did a little research, and lo and behold, they discovered that Uncle Sam, did in fact, frown on his employees holding partisan positions.

"Vernon suggested that federal, state or local government employees with partisan positions check with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in Washington, D.C., to clarify their status," the Saginaw News reported. Yeah, that probably would be a good idea.

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