Sunday, May 23, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Greiner Ruling Defended in Hatch Act Case

Who wants to lay odds on the prospect of Greiner and Ogden City prevailing on appeal?

Mainly for archival purposes, we will make note of this morning's Scott Schwebke story, which reports that the Office of Special Counsel has filed its responsive pleadings in the Merit Systems Protection Board Hatch Act administrative law appellate matter, Office of Special Counsel v. Jon Greiner and Ogden City. Here's the lede:
OGDEN -- An appeal of the ruling that Police Chief Jon Greiner violated the Hatch Act should be rejected, attorneys for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel argue in a 57-page response filed with the federal Merit Systems Protection Board.
After a three-day hearing in October 2009, Administrative Law Judge Lana Parke found that Greiner violated the Hatch Act because he signed off on a half-dozen federal grants to the police department worth about $1 million that were in place during his successful 2006 campaign for the State Senate.
Greiner and the city filed their appeal last month with the Merit Systems Protection Board to overturn Parke's ruling.
Greiner's appeal states that he was not allowed to call several material witnesses. Among the witnesses were Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and former state Senate President John Valentine, a Republican from Provo, who would have testified they advised Greiner his Senate bid did not violate the Hatch Act.
Among other things, Ace Reporter Schwebke carves out this enlightening and possibly dispositive argument from the Office of Special Counsel Appellee's Brief:
However, Parke's ruling should stand because Greiner failed to heed warnings from the OSC that he was in violation of the Hatch Act and instead sought advice from Valentine and Shurtleff, the OSC contends.
"It is remarkable that Greiner ignored OSC's warnings and chose to rely on advice from Utah officials with no authority to enforce, and limited knowledge of the Hatch Act," the OSC's response states.
The federal government's lawyers make an excellent point, we think. As a state legislator who's served in the State Senate since 2007, Greiner ought to have been painfully aware that Attorney General Shurtleff's advice can often occasionally be "wrong -- horribly, embarrassingly (and laughably?) wrong":
A word of consolation to Mark Shurtleff on vouchers
Twenty/twenty hindsight's not always the best of course, but we'll betcha a brewski at Brewski's that Chief Greiner is wishing he'd consulted with a REAL LAWYER prior to signing off on those "half-dozen federal grants to the police department worth about $1 million that were in place during his successful 2006 campaign for the State Senate," rather than just relying on the free advice of his political pals on Capitol Hill.

And who wants to lay odds on the prospect of Greiner and Ogden City prevailing on appeal?

Whatever you do, don't let the cat get your tongues.


althepal said...

Here's another angle, Rudi. Shurtleff and Valentine were probably mad at Greiner for voting against the 2007 Voucher Bill. Maybe they gave him bad advice on purpose, in the hope they could replace him with a fellow neoCON like Stuart Reid.

Danny said...

Rules of Godfrey Math.

Godfrey and his cronies = Ogden city, it's tax revenue, its property, including all private property.

Ogden city, it's tax revenue, its property, including all private property = Godfrey and his cronies.

City Council = 0.

0 = City Council.

If Greiner needs dough for his legal problems, he's got all of us to pay for them. The city council means nothing. The city council will do nothing.

E=MC2 said...

We now have a modern dispatch center, money for our narcotics strike force and police officers have affordable bullet proof vests because of the grants at question. Take the emotion of Greiner out of this subject and you're left with an antiquated law that needs to be changed.

George K said...

The last two days haven’t been real confidence building days in Utah’s top leadership. Here are two more incumbents (Herbert and Shurtleff) that should be voted out of office.
Herbert’s finance fiasco should send red flags and sound the alarms bells! Some who have followed politics in Utah are well aware that the real estate group has designs to change everything that we love and cherish about Utah all in the name of greed! They don’t care about our beautiful mountains, or our trail systems that adds to our quality of life – all they care about is raping and scarring the land with developments of condos and strip malls. Developing every inch of undeveloped land whether it is wise or not because of existing ecological and geological hazards, illuminates their greed, disregard for people and their feelings. It is really scary that our governor does not realize that he is caught in a black widow’s web.
Now those who were in hopes of seeing justice done regarding the many complaints and evidence compiled showing Godfrey’s breach of ethics and misuse of office that have been given to the Attorney General’s office know that the top man there is beholden to Godfrey and nothing will be done.
Where does the corruption stop?! Is every politician in Utah tainted? Utah voters need to carefully scrutinize and study where each candidate stands on the issues. Don’t take them at their word! We dig deeply and consider where they stood in the past on the issues. Actions speak louder than words! Anything and anyone that has been touched by real estate money merits continuous disbelief and questioning and in my personal opinion a vote for one of their opponents.
Godfrey will try to make you believe that Greiner’s appeal is not costing Ogden taxpayer’s a penny – right! It is several million pennies! His reasoning will be that URMMA (the City’s legal insurance) will cover the costs of the law suit. Who is the numbskull here?! Who pays for the premiums, Godfrey? Right! EVERYTHING is paid by taxes – taxpayers’ taxes!

Curmudgeon said...

Two points:

Rudi: Why do you think Double Dip Greiner wishes he'd gotten advice from attorneys who actually knew something about the matter? The city is paying for his appeal, and the city will eat the fine if he loses. No skin off Double Dip's nose.

E=MC2: Nice bit of razzle dazzle to obscure the point. The issue is not whether the grants were beneficial to the city or not. They were. The issue is, should Chief Greiner have continued on as a State Senator when he was told by the Justice Department that he was in violation of the Hatch Act by serving as a Senator while he administered the grants. Whether the grants were beneficial or not is wholly irrelevant to the legal question at issue.

And granting for the sake of argument your point that the Hatch Act as presently constituted is antiquated and needs to be changed, the fact is, it was in effect in its present form when Chief Greiner was told by the Justice Department that he was violating it. Seems to me, at that point, the chief law enforcement officer of Ogden City should have either withdrawn from the state senator or resigned as Chief of Police. He could then have lobbied Congress to modernize the Hatch Act. But having a sitting police chief ignore a law in force after being informed by the Justice Department that he was in violation of it rubs me the wrong way.

Oink said...

Just like in the book Animal Farm.

The laws that apply to everyone else don't apply to you if you're a pig.

Watcher of the Political Scene said...


You are absolutely correct in your assessment of the URA (Utah Realtors Association)! It isn't just Salt Lake, Ogden and State policy makers that they are bribing with their huge donations, Prove and Orem have also been infected with their venom. That was a brilliant analogy of Governor Herbert being caught in a Black Widow's web, i.e., the Black Widow turns on its mate and eats him. The URA will turn on those that they have compromised and can no longer use them after they have destroyed the State of Utah.

The voting publlic must stop them NOW before it's too late and they have control of the Legislature and city governments throughout the State. Ogden is already in deep trouble with Godfrey as mayor and using realtor Abe Shreve and other realtors to destroy our beautiful Ogden with ill-gotten funds to buy corrupt politicians.

I enjoy your candid and insightful posts.

Ole said...

This is a picture (Griener in the Standard article) of an arrogant man who is part of an arrogant administration that is run by an arrogant mayor all of who are perfectly willing to let the tax payers of Ogden lose $215,000.00 rather than obey the very laws of the land that they are sworn to uphold and defend.

Ogden citizens deserve better.

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