The assistant administrator of Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Lima has been found to be in violation of the Hatch Act by simultaneously holding an elected office in Upper Darby Township.
The Hatch Act applies to state or local employees who are "principally employed" by programs financed with loans and grants from the federal government. Under the act, they are not allowed to seek political office.
A letter from the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency in Washington, stated that it has found that Thomas Micozzie, a township council member for 20 years, violated the act.
"While Mr. Micozzie's candidacy in the 2007 partisan election for Upper Darby Council violated the Hatch Act, we do not believe the violation was willful," the letter said.
A violation can carry dismissal from the job as a penalty but, because the Office of Special Counsel found the breach was not willful, no further action is to be taken.
More than 94 percent of funding for Fair Acres, a 900-bed facility in Lima, comes from Medicaid, and Micozzie is involved with those programs and activities, the letter stated.
The issue of county employees violating the Hatch Act surfaced in the fall during the race for county council. Democrat David Landau questioned the county about the number of employees who might be in violation of the act.
Landau filed a complaint with the special counsel in 2007 and received the response March 28. A copy of the letter was later provided to The Inquirer.
Micozzie, who has been a county employee for 27 years and an elected official for 20, said he was unaware of the conflict with a county job.
"The only thing I knew was that it dealt with federal employees," said Micozzie. He said he will continue to stay in office for the remainder of his four-year term.
Landau said the county misunderstood the reach of the Hatch Act. He noted a number of county officials who hold elected offices.
"There needs to be a review of all elected officials in county jobs," Landau said.