AP NEWS

Huffman withdraws from county race

July 9, 2016

Lacey Huffman has withdrawn as a candidate for Saline County Commission.

After an extensive review of the funding of her job as state supply specialist for the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range, it was determined 100 percent of her salary is funded by federal dollars, making her ineligible to seek public office under the Hatch Act while still employed.

“Today, I’m saddened to announce I’m suspending my campaign to comply with the federal government requirement that I not run for elective office while serving my state and my country,” she wrote in a statement.

Rep. J.R. Claeys, R-Salina, said he was asked Wednesday to look into Huffman’s employment.

He learned the outcome Friday morning from Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, the adjutant general of Kansas.

“It took a while for them to figure it out. There was not a direct answer. A lot of the funding is 80/20, 75/25 and those people wouldn’t be subject to it (Hatch Act),” Claeys said.

Huffman noted that she was among a “small group” of state employees subject to the provisions of the Hatch Act.

“I value my service to my state and to my country as a state employee of the Air National Guard,” she wrote. “While I would like to extend my commitment to service to the people of Saline County as a commissioner, the federal government prohibits me from doing both under the method of reimbursement for my position.”

Huffman asked Claeys to review funding for her job after learning that Jim Weese, who also is running as a Republican for the 4th District seat on the Saline County Commission, resigned his part-time job with Crisis City because of the Hatch Act. David Nichols also is seeking the Republican nomination for that position.

“I will be focusing my efforts on potentially running for a nonpartisan position in the future to serve the people of Salina and Saline County,” Huffman wrote.

The Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees, as well as some state and local government employees. The law’s purposes are to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not on political affiliation.