This is the final part of GOP Primary candidate for Sheriff Jim Harrison’s appeal to the Office of Special Counsel of the U.S. Justice Department of its March 19th finding that Undersheriff Andy Zinke is not violating the Federal Hatch Act by running for a partisan office.
what follows is his logic.
It is my understanding that the test of whether an employee is covered by the Hatch Act is whether, as a normal and foreseeable incident of his principal employment, the employee performs duties in connection with an activity financed in whole or in part by federal funds. Special Counsel v. Gallagher, 44 M.S.P.R. 57, 61 (1990).
Despite Sheriff Nygren’s representations to the contrary, the foregoing [May 7th] minutes of the Law and Justice Committee prove rather conclusively that the Undersheriff performs duties in connection with the federal detainee program, an activity financed in whole or in part by federal funds.
The Undersheriff is directly involved in ongoing discussions with the County Board concerning the contract with the federal government for the housing of federal detainees.
Undersheriff Zinke, together with the County Administrator and Deputy County Administrator, prepared a presentation to the County Board’s Law and Justice Committee discussing the ongoing contract concerning federal detainees.
Clearly, Zinke has duties in connection with the federal detainee program that are a normal and foreseeable incident of his principal employment as Undersheriff.
Notably, neither the Sheriff nor the Chief of Corrections were present on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office to discuss the federal detainee contract with the Law and Justice Committee; only Undersheriff Zinke and the Sheriff’s business manager were present on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office.
Quite clearly, Zinke had authority on behalf of the Sheriff to act with respect to the federal detainee contracts.
Notably also, the McHenry County Board’s Law and Justice Committee meeting occurred on May 7, 2012, after Sheriff Nygren claimed that Undersheriff Zinke had no supervisory authority or other connection to the federal detainee program.
I trust that the information relayed herein will invoke the OSC’s jurisdiction over the matter and I would request that your jurisdiction and a resolution of this matter be implemented immediately.
Andrew Zinke has openly campaigned in a partisan political campaign for the Office of Sheriff for ten months now. He has attended political events in uniform and while armed, he has held fundraisers and has raised funds in furtherance of his campaign, and he has done so while at the same time being the second-in-charge of the Sheriff’s Office as a whole, and the direct report for
- the patrol division,
- the corrections division,
- the training division and
- the community relations division
- all divisions relying in part on federal grant money.
Under these circumstances it appears as though Undersheriff Zinke has actively campaigned in open violation of the Hatch Act’s provisions.
The Sheriff’s representation that Undersheriff Zinke has no connection to the federal funds involving the federal detainee program is clearly invalid in light of Zinke’s ongoing involvement in the federal contract discussions with the County Board.
There is ample basis for OSC to exercise jurisdiction in this case.
As my repeated attempts to contact you this week have been unsuccessful, please take a moment and return my calls so that we can discuss these new discoveries together. I can be reached on my cell or at my office, (in that order).
The financial and political advantage that Andrew Zinke has received through his ongoing violations of the Hatch Act, threaten the integrity of the 2014 election for the Office of McHenry County Sheriff.
Please use the tools at your disposal to redress this imbalance and to enforce the law.
Thanking you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter, I remain:
s/James T. Harrison
P.S. I will forward to you, copies of each of the above-referenced resolutions that you do not yet have, together with a copy of the Law and Justice Committee meeting minutes pertaining to Andrew Zinke’s documented involvement in the ongoing federal detainee contract with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.