Correcting the Niagara Reporter on the Hatch Act

On September 26, the Niagara Reporter, formerly the Niagara Falls Reporter, wrote an inaccurate article about me. Without contacting me, or conducting basic fact checking, the article stated that its illegal for me to run for elected office based on the Hatch Act and that my work with other departments is a scheme to support my run.

All of that is false. Have a look at my full response video and keep scrolling to learn more about the Hatch Act and a full explanation of why it does not affect my candidacy.

I won’t be paying for any ads in the Reporter, so I don’t expect that they will tell you the truth about the Hatch Act, or how it relates to my employment with the City.

A 2012 amendment to the Hatch Act continues to bar local government employees whose salaries are paid with 100% federal funds from running for office, but exempts those whose salaries are not paid with 100% federal funds. Quite simply: my salary is not paid with 100% federal funds.

Here is the most recent federal guidance on how the Hatch Act applies to local government employees.

As a Community Development Department employee, a portion of my salary each year is paid from federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. While our Department has downsized considerably during my tenure as Director, these federal funds are never enough to cover all of the personnel costs in the Department.  To the extent possible, the remainder, which includes part of my own salary, is paid with private grant funding. Any further costs that exceed available federal and private sources are paid by the City of Niagara Falls.

Finally, while the proposed 2019 budget moves more of my salary to the Code Enforcement Department, this does not change anything with regard to the Hatch Act, and does not change my job title. I will continue to be both Director of Community Development and Acting Director of Code Enforcement, just as I have been since January 1, 2018.

It’s unfortunate that so much time has to be spent to correct a falsehood being spread by a local paper. Still, I am thankful for your attention and I’d like to invite you to join our campaign team for a neighborhood cleanup on October 16, 2018. We’re starting at the St. John De LaSalle parish center at 4:30 PM. We hope you’ll also meet us back at the center afterwards for our campaign launch party.

Let’s choose to do the work that it will take to make Niagara Falls better, and not to tear each other down.

Seth Piccirillo