Hearing for Ogden police chief under way

Hearing for Ogden police chief under way

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Ogden Police Chief Jon Greiner should be removed from his job because he signed off on federal grants that were in place while he ran for public office, prosecutors with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel argued.

A federal Merit Systems Protection Board hearing was held Tuesday in Salt Lake City over a complaint filed by the office last year.

The complaint said Greiner violated the Hatch Act by being a candidate for public office in a partisan election. 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.

"It was a knowingly willful, egregious violation," said Mariama C. Liverpool, an attorney for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

But Greiner's attorney, Jim Bradshaw, told Administrative Law Judge Lana Parke that Greiner got assurances from the city's legal staff and the Utah attorney general's office that his job as police chief didn't pose a Hatch Act conflict with his Senate campaign.

"This is the Hatch Act run amok," he said.

Stan Preston, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Ogden's administration, said Greiner's signature and initials on federal grant applications were a formality. Preston said others applied for the grants and administered and managed the funds after they were received.

The complaint centers on Greiner's signature or initials on assurances for six federal grants worth more than $1 million.

The hearing was set to resume Thursday.

If Parke upholds the complaint against Greiner, the city either will have to remove him as police chief or forfeit about $215,000 in grants to the federal government. That amount is equal to two years of Greiner's salary.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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