Deputy clerk resigns due to Hatch Act violation

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Lila Herod

Moffat County Chief Deputy Clerk Lila Herod will resign from her position with the county in order to run for county clerk and recorder in November.

Herod an­­nounced her decision Tuesday to the Daily Press in a news release.

The Hatch Act was enacted in 1939 to cover federal employees and then amended in 1940, adding state and local employees.

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which oversees the Hatch Act, the legislation “restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”

Herod said she is “indeed in violation of the Hatch Act in regard to the grant I am working on for the Hamilton Community Center.”

Herod, as part of her duties as deputy clerk and county elections supervisor, applied for a grant for $18,450 from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission through the Help America Vote Act to fund improvements at the Hamilton Community Center, which serves as a polling place.

The Office of Special Counsel gave her the choice to resign from her position as deputy clerk and Moffat County election supervisor or withdraw from the race by March 18.

Herod does not know when she will officially step away from her position before the March 18 deadline, or if her position will be filled by someone else.

“It is not my intent to ‘fight’ the federal government, but to ‘fight’ for the right and privilege to serve the citizens of Moffat County, and I believe my commitment and passion for service is evident in this decision,” she said in her release.

Herod is not the first local candidate to be impacted by the Hatch Act.

Last month, K.C. Hume, a lieutenant with the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and battalion chief with Craig Fire/Rescue, removed himself from the race for Moffat County coroner because of what he thought was a Hatch Act violation.

Further Hatch Act complications arose Tuesday when John Ponikvar, Moffat County Republican Central Committee chairman, called for Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner to step down from the race.

Ponikvar said he thinks Danner is in violation of the act, as well.

“I think she has violated the trust of the employees of Moffat County, the citizens of Moffat County, the trust of the Republican Party; she has violated the Sunshine law and the Hatch Act,” he said. “I think she needs to take the high road … and withdraw her candidacy.”

Danner said she will continue to run for office.

“He is not in charge of my campaign, and I am very capable of running an ethical campaign,” she said. “I will manage my campaign appropriately and ethically as I have served.”

Danner said she is requesting information from the Office of Special Counsel regarding her candidacy and the Hatch Act.

“I am the one who has been researching the Hatch Act long before (Ponikvar) knew about it,” Danner said. “There were many people who did not know about the Hatch Act. As part of several people who had information about this … I’m doing my due diligence and researching it.”

In her release, Herod said “there should be teamwork, communication, trust and loyalty among elected officials, department heads and their employees. Obviously this is lacking in our county.

“It is unfortunate that in attempt to find conflict of interest in K.C. Hume’s campaign for coroner, the very best the leaders in our county could come up with was the Hatch Act,” she said. “Their actions have created confusion, distrust and hardship for many of us seeking public office, not just in Moffat County, but in the entire state.”

Carol Scott, Moffat County chief deputy appraiser, is running for county assessor. She is in a similar position as Herod — a county employee running for elected office.

However, Scott said she is not in violation of the Hatch Act because the assessor’s office does not receive federal grants.

Ponikvar said he is pushing for legislation to be passed in Colorado that mirrors House Resolution 2154, which was introduced into the U.S House of Representatives on April 28, 2009, and is currently in the House committee on oversight and government reform.

The bill proposes to amend the Hatch Act to read it “does not prohibit any state or local officer or employee from being a candidate for any office of any local unit of general purpose government which has a population of less than 100,000.”

“(The Hatch Act) is archaic,” Ponikvar said. “It’s hurting our counties, and I think there should be something totally bipartisan because it’s hurting officials from every party in the state of Colorado.”

State Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said he and State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, made a request to the state Monday about the possibility of drafting similar legislation to apply on a state level in Colorado.

“This is absurd,” Tipton said. “I understand the federal end of it, but when we are reaching down into our local communities, where we have so few people, it gets to the point of unreasonable.”

Comments

lonelyone 4 years, 7 months ago

Boy Oh Boy! When Mrs. Danner brought this issue up to begin with, she sure openned a can of worms. It might just be kind of funny if this thing turned around and bit her in the behind. I have nothing against her, but if she is in violation then she too must back out of the race and should never have been appointed in the first place. What a shame this is turning out to be as we have so few people who want to run and are qualified to run for public office.

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thatone 4 years, 7 months ago

I dont think that she should even be allowed to be in office!!!!!!!!! Nor do I believe Elaine should have been allowed to run as well. All those women do all day is talk about the people that come into their office. I do NOT think she should be allowed to run, nor should Elaine. SHE IS THE WORST!

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justthefacts 4 years, 7 months ago

Fact: If Audrey Danner runs her campaign as she runs the county, we will see corruption at it's highest level.

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lostyermarbles 4 years, 7 months ago

This is good. This is pointing out that people can't make their own rules up as they go. These rules are set in place for a reason, and until they are changed, they are the rules. It doesnt make the good old boy rule around here right and we all know how bad that is here. There's someother departments in there that need looked at I believe. As far as Elaine, I do believe she knows her stuff and is doing her job. What place do you not go in around here and you have to wait till they get off the phone or talk to someone before getting service?? You go John!! Whats good for one is good for another!!

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joekidd2211 4 years, 7 months ago

Mrs Danner opened a can of worms? lonelyone where have you been? they were running into the same thing in routt county before any of this came up. So this is not something new , it's an ongoing thing. And as far as I know Elaine and Audrey don't have anything to do with the running of Routt county. The law may be out of date but its still the law. No one is mentioning the fact if this hadn't been caught the feds could have come in an fined the county. Not the offending parties. the fine 2 years salary of the offending party. they don't fine the offender, they fine the county. Isn't the budget short enough already?

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justthefacts 4 years, 7 months ago

Nice try joekidd!

The Hatch act is not an issue until the issue is raised. ( Thank you Ms. Danner)

The Hatch act is not retroactive. Once the person is elected and the issue was not raised during the campaign , fines can not be issued.

The Hatch issue in Routt County right now, is due soley to Danner's action in Moffat County.

To westslopeguy? How many of the current elected officals in Moffat, Routt, Grand, and Mesa counties could have been Hatched if MS. Danner was in their county. (Time for your 2cents)

How many fines are pending?

Fact: 0

Fact: Audrey Danner's actions were malicious toward a specific person, she was not trying to save the county money.

Fact: Dirty politics, created by the downstair powers of the Moffat County Court House.

Fact: Ms. Danner Should have done Commissioner type jobs and left the dirty politics to those who brought this issue to her.

Just The Facts man

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lonelyone 4 years, 7 months ago

As a matter of fact joekidd, I've been out of town and even if it is going on in Routt County, I do believe Mrs. Danner brought it up here and that is the reason for my comment that she openned up a can of worms. AND I have no clue which came first the chicken or the egg.....in other words I really don't care if it started in Routt or Moffat first, it's too bad that this is happening because it is now and could in the future prevent good people from running for public office.

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Ray Cartwright 4 years, 7 months ago

Just like term limits hurt small communities and counties. Don't get me wrong I am in favor of term limits at the state and federal levels, but it really hurts many small and sparsley populated areas.

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westslopeguy 4 years, 7 months ago

"To westslopeguy? How many of the current elected officals in Moffat, Routt, Grand, and Mesa counties could have been Hatched if MS. Danner was in their county. (Time for your 2cents)"

I have no freakin' idea. Which is why I haven't posted on this subject. Unlike others who post viewpoints here and call them facts, I DON'T add my 2cents when I am NOT informed of the facts of the discussion.

This is actually NOT my 2cents. This, in fact, is a fact!

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Lawspecialist 4 years, 7 months ago

Ohhhhh ho ho ho ho ho.........know about karma? "actions determining future state: the quality of somebody's current and future lives as determined by that person's behavior in this and in previous lives". So so sad, but I'm inclined to agree with Thatone and I agree those women deserve a nice BIG plate full of karma! Thatone? You are not alone there are many others who would agree with you. I know previous employees who worked at the clerk and recorders office who can testify that your statement is true and beyond; some of the things they have done and said to and about others have been so devistating that, it could result in a suit filed. After the testimonies (which are horrific) I have heard, they make it very painful to be on the other end of their gossip stick. They operate on a do as I say, not as I do philosophy and thrive on the mud they sling toward others (and that's just a nice way of saying it). The way those women talk about others is truly disgusting notwithstanding the way they treat their own employees. The two you mentioned being the most drastic. They judge others when they themselves are absolutely scandalous! I'm quite positive their junior high has called and made the request that "they want their drama back". If any person thinks they walk out of that office and someone actually cares about them, I am sorry to say it just doesn't happen. If anything is done for someone else, it is because they want recognition, not because of concern. It's a shame they've been allowed to operate a government office in such a manner and I'am quite sure they will continue to do so. I believe, however, one should give credit where credit is due and I will say that both know their jobs, however, I also believe someone should investigate their "special fund account". The one that buys them coffee pots, microwaves, breakfast, lunch and more. This will be quite interesting.

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opr8r 4 years, 7 months ago

EVERY ASPECT OF MOFFAT COUNTY IS CORRUPT! POLICE, SOCIAL SERV. COMMISIONERS ,JUDGES, THIS TOWN IS A LAUGHING STOCK.

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GreyStone 4 years, 7 months ago

Politicians, Chemical trails, Big Foot, Evil spirits and the dog et my homework. Anything to keep your mind off the real problem of corruption.

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westslopeguy 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey y'all:

Has ANYone following this thread figured out yet why I was singled out for a rebuttal to a comment that I never made?

I'm still trying to find reason, but as with most posts I read I'm coming up empty.

Any who know me, or know of me, know I'm willing to, and I HAVE posted apologies and THANKS for correcting entries. But I'm really having a hard time with this one finding how I f!@#$d up a comment or misrepresented ANYone in this thread.

Any input would be helpful toward my posts into the future. Because despite my desire to NOT post and become part of the soap opera that IS Craig, ... I just can't help myself.

Paul

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