GREENE – A seventy-year-old federal law, originally intended to prohibit federal employees from misusing the authority of their office for political gain, will prevent at least one potential candidate from running for Chenango County Sheriff.
Greene Police Chief Steve Dutcher, whose name was one of several thrown around as a possible successor when rumors began to circulate last month about Sheriff Thomas Loughren’s departure, was expected to formally announce his candidacy today. Instead, because of the Hatch Act, he has decided not to run.
“It was an opportunity for me. I was encouraged by many to attempt it. It would have been nice to follow it through,” Dutcher said in an interview on Friday.
Passed in 1939 and expanded a year later, the Hatch Act restricts the political activities of federal employees as well as state and local employees of municipal agencies who receive all or part of their funding from the federal government.
Because Dutcher has applied for, and received, several grants on behalf of the Village of Greene, he falls under the auspices of the act, and would therefore need to resign from his current position in order to run for office in a partisan election. At this time in his life and his career, that is too much of a risk, he said.