Hatch Act derails Sheehan from running for Albion mayor

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 January 2014 at 12:00 am

ALBION – One of the front-runners to be the next Albion mayor won’t be seeking the position because of the federal Hatch Act, which prevents a federal employee from running in a partisan election.

Kevin Sheehan, the current Albion deputy mayor and a village trustee the past eight years, wanted to run for the village’s top elected position in March. He was recently hired as a maintenance mechanic for the VA in Batavia. As a federal employee, he can’t run in the village election.

Sheehan can complete his term as trustee, which expires March 31. But he can’t run for another term as trustee, either.

“I’m really saddened about it because I really wanted to stay,” Sheehan said this morning. “I have to pick between the two jobs I love and I picked the one with benefits.”

Sheehan said he will remain active in the Albion community. He is currently vice president of the board of directors for Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance. He said he would be willing to serve on a village committee. He can be appointed to a village position.

“This really stinks because it wasn’t my decisions or the voters’ decision,” Sheehan said about the Hatch Act and its role in the local election.

The 1939 law prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity, including running for office in a village election.

The Republican and Democratic parties in Albion are working to find candidates for the March 18 election. Both parties will have their caucuses between Jan. 21 and 28.

The Republican Party wanted to have non-partisan elections in the village with all candidates running under independent lines. But the Democratic Party didn’t support that for this election. So candidates again will run through the two major political parties.

Former Mayor Ed Salvatore, a past Republican Party chairman, is weighing a run for office. He may seek mayor or trustee.

“I’m still undecided, but I’m leaning towards running,” Salvatore said this morning. “There are still some things I can do. To be mayor you have to be interested and dedicated to it. I would be dedicated because I have all the time in the world.”

Dean Theodorakos isn’t seeking re-election for mayor. The seats for Eileen Banker, Fred Miller and Sheehan are all up for election. Sheehan said he worries about a lot of turnover on the board, especially with several projects in the community, including a replacement of the Clarendon Street bridge perhaps the most notable.

Sheehan said the village has tackled many projects in his eight years on the board, with significant repairs to the sewer lines and sewer plant one of the biggest accomplishments. The village was under a consent order by the state Department of Conservation to upgrade its sewer system and reduce infiltration into Sandy Creek. The projects have improved the system, and the consent order was lifted by the DEC.

“I wanted to stay because there was a lot of unfinished business,” he said.