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Confrontations and controversial campaign political advertisements that violated the Hatch Act are taking a toll on the Mayor.
By Brian Hews
Montebello Mayor Jack Hadjinian, apparently reeling from the rigors of running his embattled re-election campaign, fainted in the bathroom at Montebello City Hall immediately before the last night’s City Council meeting.
Attendees at the meeting told the Montebello News that Hadjinian looked fine before the meeting, but “seemed to all of a sudden bolt for the bathroom” when confronted by several veterans angry that Hadjinian cancelled a 9/11/15 celebration at City Hall because City Hall is closed on Fridays.
Hadjinian had a vocal confrontation with one of the veterans two weeks ago, and for this meeting, the veteran brought several of his friends to protest Hadjinian.
Attendees also cited the argument Hadjinian had with the Montebello Chief of Police over a controversial campaign mail piece he sent out last week as having placed more pressure on the Mayor.
The mail piece shows Hadjinian in front of a Montebello police car, with the police emblem clearly visible, along with a uniformed police officer.
According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, this is a violation of the Hatch Act, which is a federal offense.
The prohibitions in the Hatch Act specifically apply to officers or employees of any state or local agency. The Act targets officers and employees who use their status as a state or municipal employee to influence the outcome of any partisan election.
As it applies to the Hadjinian campaign mail piece, the Hatch Act specifically prohibits a police officer from using his name or likeness in campaign literature in the police officer’s professional capacity or engage in campaigning during working hours.
In the mailer, the officer is wearing his uniform during daytime hours, also the MPD emblem on the patrol car is clearly visible.
Simply stated a police officer cannot be wearing his or her uniform in any political advertisement.
This could explain why the Chief of Police confronted Hadjinian.
Sources tell the Montebello News that the Mayor “exercised his authority” to arrange the picture placing the officer, not Hadjinian, in violation of the Hatch Act.
As per the Hatch Act, when an officer is in violation, an employer may use the Act as a basis for terminating the officer. But more often than not, the officer is reprimanded.
Any time a federal agency learns that a state or local officer or employee violated the Act, it is required to report the matter to Special Counsel for the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Calls into Mayor Hadjinian asking about the fainting incident and the campaign mail piece went unreturned.
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