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Feds seek removal of Ogden police chief

Feds seek removal of Ogden police chief

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The U.S. Office of Special Counsel wants Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner removed from his job for running for public office.

Greiner violated the Hatch Act by being a candidate for public office in a partisan election, the office's complaint filed Sept. 30 with the Merit Systems Protection Board said. Greiner won a seat in the state Senate in 2006 running as a Republican.

The Hatch Act of 1939 was aimed at corrupt politics and prohibited federal civil servants from running for office. It was expanded several times, first to include state and local employees who draw more than half their salary from federal money, then to cover others who handle federal grants.

While running for office, Greiner said he checked with the city attorney's office and was assured he was eligible to run because his salary is paid by the city, not through federal grants. However, the Office of Special Counsel said the act applies to those who have duties connected with programs paid for with federal loans or grants.

If the Merit Systems Protection Board finds that Greiner violated the Hatch Act, it could remove him from his job as police chief and prevent him from working for any state or local government in Utah for 18 months.

It is unclear whether any ethics charges would be filed against Greiner in the Legislature, where lawmakers police themselves.

Office employees said Greiner was not at work Wednesday. A message left on a cell phone listing for Greiner was not immediately returned.

Greiner could keep his job even if his appeal of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel's finding is rejected by the Merit Systems Protection Board, but Ogden would have to forfeit federal grant funds totaling two years of his salary, or about $209,000.

Other financial penalties also could be imposed. Greiner's hearing is scheduled for June. It's unknown when a ruling will be issued.

The Legislature convenes Jan. 26.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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