News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Hatch Act helps protect long-term public interest

State Rep. Ronald Grantland is leaving his job with the State Health Department after 34 years because of the Hatch Act.

He's privately somewhat bitter about being forced out, but he shouldn't be. His reasoning is that he served six years in the House before someone anonymously filed a complaint that he was in violation of federal law.

It took a while for administrative judges to rule, but now he's retiring so he may continue in the Legislature.

What irks Mr. Grantland is what seems like a tremendous inequity in the Hatch Act that allows some government employees who get federal funds to participate in partisan politics. Educators are an obvious exception to the law and their impact in the Legislature is great.

The sound reasoning behind the law is to keep less than altruistic elected officials from profiting monetarily from their elected position.

Mr. Grantland has had a distinguished career in public health service that he would like to continue. But life is full of choices, and he now will leave his career job to continue in the Legislature. He said he will seek a third term as representative from the 9th District that takes in Morgan and Cullman counties.

The Hartselle resident has done nothing wrong in serving, even getting clearance from the proper agencies, but the law is the law, including its exceptions.

If we had our choice, no public employee would hold public office, but that is not our call. Voters make those decisions.

Still, the act shouldn't bar some people from holding office while exempting others.

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