One of the aspiring Sheriffs is Conrad Candelaria and he's getting support from one of the top APD cops - Deputy Chief, Michael Callaway. Candelaria is a Commander with the Albuquerque Police Department in charge of the Southwest Area Command.
It's no surprise that Candelaria is getting support from The 5th Floor Brass at APD. What is a surprise is that Deputy Chief Callaway decided voice his support by sending a letter of recommendation to each of the commissioners on the Bernalillo County Commission.
November 10, 2009We know what you're thinking... And??? The personalized letter was provided to each county commissioner on official APD letterhead - a potential violation of the Hatch Act (view the letter here).
Bernalillo County Commission
1 Civic Plaza
Albuquerque, NM 87102
It is with great pleasure that I am offering this letter of recommendation for Commander Conrad Candelaria for appointment as the Sheriff of Bernalillo County. Conrad Candelaria is an experienced, executive-level law enforcement professional who possess the requisite knowledge, skill and capabilities to effectively lead the Bernalillo county Sheriff's Department.
I have known Conrad for the past twenty years as our careers have been parallel throughout the ranks of the Albuquerque Police Department. Under Conrad's leadership, the Albuquerque Police Department and the Westside community have built positive relationships and worked collaboratively to improve the quality of life within the community. Conrad has also been responsible for influencing, implementing and developing several strategic initiatives to effectively address problems and concerns. I am certain Conrad possesses a unique vision for the Bernalillo county Sheriff's Office to further the County's goals and objectives.
In summary, Conrad is a conscientious, dedicated, knowledgeable individual who has earned the respect of his community and criminal justice colleagues alike. Thank you for your consideration and service to the citizens of Bernalillo County.
Michael D. Callaway
Deputy Chief of Police
Albuquerque Police Department
Prohibited ActivitiesBernalillo County Sheriff is a partisan elected position. The Bernalillo County Commission will be appointing or nominating the next Bernalillo County Sheriff. By sending a letter of recommendation to Bernalillo County Commissioners, Deputy Chief Callaway is using "official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination."
Covered state and local employees may not-
* be candidates for public office in a partisan election
* use official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the results of an election or nomination
* directly or indirectly coerce contributions from subordinates in support of a political party or candidate
Penalties for Violating the Hatch ActWe suspect that Commander Candelaria solicited Callaway's endorsement, but you never know. It's possible that DC Callaway was acting on his own initiative. Either way, there's something just plain wrong with campaigning for a law enforcement position using a letter of endorsement that clearly violates the law.
If the Merit Systems Protection Board finds that the violation warrants dismissal from employment, the employing agency must either remove the employee or forfeit a portion of the federal assistance equal to two years salary of the employee. If the Board finds the violation does not warrant the employee's removal, no penalty is imposed.
----- Update -----
We got so carried away with what appears to be a blatant violation of the Hatch Act that we completely forgot about other potential violations. One of our Eyes quickly reminded us of our omission, so... After a little digging we found that the Deputy Chief has indeed crossed at least one more line.
In addition to the Hatch Act, it appears DC Callaway has violated Administrative Instruction No. 7-19 - which contains a list of compaing no-nos.
B. Activities Prohibited No City Employee Shall:You might want to look at items 2, 9, and 12. Looks like Deputy Chief Callaway has some more splainin' to do.
1) Become a Candidate for any elective City office;
2) Actively campaign for or against a Candidate for any elective office while on duty or represent a Candidate while on duty. Volunteers assisting in City functions under the supervision or direction of City employees shall not campaign for a Candidate while performing such duties for the City; [emphasis added]
3) Receive, disburse or account for assessments, contributions or other funds for any Candidate;
4) Receive or offer to receive any money, gratuity or benefit from any candidate;
5) Wear on one's person political badges or buttons while on duty or while in a City uniform at any time;
6) Take either a position for or against any Candidate for elective office while representing either that such position is an official City position on such Candidate or that such position is taken in one's official capacity as a City employee;
7) Circulate nominating petitions within or on City property while on duty, at the place of one's employment or at any time or any place while in City Uniform;
8) Serve as an election judge or clerk in a City election;
9) Use any City-owned properly, equipment, supplies, vehicles or space either to campaign for or against a Candidate. [emphasis added]
10) Display or distribute any political stickers, posters or materials on or from City-owned vehicles or City property;
11) Display or distribute any political stickers, posters or material for or against any Candidate while on duty or at the City employee's work place, other than bumper stickers displayed on the employee's private vehicle, including vehicles parked in City owned parking lots; or
12) Use the employee's position or status to influence the support of other City employees or City officials for or against any Candidate or issue. [emphasis added]
C. Hatch Act Any City employee whose principal employment is in connection with an activity which is financed in whole or part by loans or grants made by the United States or a Federal agency is subject to the provisions of the Hatch Act in addition to the prohibited activities set forth in this memorandum. Each City Employee is responsible for determining if Hatch Act prohibitions apply to his or her employment with the City.