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Ronald Reagan Assembly Attack on Frank Meeker, Over Hatch Act, Declared Groundless

| October 23, 2012

When the Hatch Act was passed in 1939, to reform the civil service, one of its reasons had been to counter allegations that the Democratic Party had used Works Progress Administration workers to shill for it in the 1938 election.

When the Hatch Act was passed in 1939, to reform the civil service, one of its reasons had been to counter allegations that the Democratic Party had used Works Progress Administration workers to shill for it in the 1938 election.

Frank Meeker, the candidate for a Flagler County Commission seat, is not in violation of the Hatch Act, the federal law prohibiting candidates for office from holding jobs that are federally funded. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which administers the Hatch Act and defines violations, handed down its finding today in a letter to Meeker, closing the case.

The case was opened in early August when an anonymous member of the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies in Flagler County filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel alleging that Meeker was in violation of federal law because he holds a job with the St. Johns River Water Management District. About $800,000 of the district’s $204 million budget, or less than 0.5 percent, is federally funded. Meeker is a senior regulatory scientist with the district, making $85,000 a year. He was also, until this month, a member of the Palm Coast City Council. He is running for the commission in District 2, facing Independent candidate Abby Romaine.

The allegation against Meeker was transparently political: the Ronald Reagan club is staunchly opposed to Meeker’s candidacy, even though Meeker is himself a Republican. Ronald Reagan members are far to the right of organizations such as the Flagler County Republican Club or the Flagler County Republican Executive Committee–both of which they successfully stacked with their own members after bitter fights that included a court battle, following the executive committee’s resistance to allowing Ronald Reagan members in. Meeker was part of that resistance. As pay-back, Ronald Reagan members atempted to discredit his candidacy for the commission.

“OSC learned that the St. Johns River Water Management District is funded through taxes it collects and by federal grants that are used for specific projects,” Mary Larsen, an attorney with the Hatch Act Unit of the Office of Special Counsel, wrote Meeker. “As a senior regulatory scientist, you inspect construction development projects and ensure compliance with the consumptive use of environmental resource permits that have been issued by the agency. You perform inspections of such projects during construction and after completion to ensure that the ‘as built’ construction is in accordance with the plans utilized in order to obtain the permits.” (The letter appears below.)

frank meeker palm coast city council

Frank Meeker. (© FlaglerLive)

But the federal funding the district receives “is used exclusively to fund projects to revamp and improve existing waterways; projects that you do not work with in any capacity,” Larsen wrote. “Based upon the preceding information, we find that you do not perform duties in connection with a federally funded program at this time. Therefore, you are not covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act, and the Act does not prohibit your candidacy for Flagler County, District 2 commissioner.”

“It was put to rest to me back in 2000 and confirmed again in 2007. I’ve checked this over and over many times, so it was no surprise to me,” Meeker said Tuesday. “I’m glad to get it out there and clear it up. This was kind of a stain on my credibility in a sense. I felt the whole charge was baseless from the start of it.”

The issue was brought to the fore at a Palm Coast City Council meeting when Albert Cordwell, a Palm Coast resident and a member of the Ronald Reagan Republican Assemblies, addressed the council on Aug. 7 and accused Meeker of being in violation of the Hatch Act, and said a complaint had been filed. He didn’t specify where the complaint was filed, or by whom. When reached by phone and asked who had originated the complaint, Cordwell was cagey. But he cited Romaine as one possible reason for the complaint.


Romaine denied having anything to do with it. But she had herself resigned a paid position locally because of the Hatch Act. She was employed as part of a $400,000 federal grant that may soon secure a safe house in Flagler County for children visitations in families affected by domestic violence. Romaine was the paid coordinator of the grant. She resigned, and continued working as a volunteer, so she could run for the commission seat. Her experience may have informed Ronald Reagan members of a possible avenue of atttack against Meeker.

“I’m not surprised,” Romaine said today after learning of the Office of Special Counsel’s clearance of Meeker. “When I first head of the story I didn’t realized that the district received any federal money. I thought it was only local taxation under that agency. But people have been really pressing me on it wanting to know what is the story on him, because they knew I had to resign because of the hatch act but continued to work as a volunteer.”

Dennis McDonald, another member of the Ronald Reagan group, was running against Meeker in the Republican primary for the commission seat when the complaint was filed. McDonald denied involvement in the complaint, too.

Frank Meeker’s Hatch Act clearance letter.

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11 Responses for “Ronald Reagan Assembly Attack on Frank Meeker, Over Hatch Act, Declared Groundless”

  1. Kip Durocher says:

    … and i bet the ronnie raygun republican assemblies are all christians also.

  2. FRANK DILIBERTO says:

    I think Mr, Meeker showed his true colors with the developers in Palm Coast. I will cast my vote for a fresh change and new begining on the commission,,,ABBY ROMAINE.

    REMEMBER !!! IF YOU DONT VOTE……DONT COMPLAIN !!!

  3. Traci Distler says:

    I hope now that Dear Abby is relieved and will be able to inform “the story on him” correctly that Frank Meeker is in compliance. The story with Frank is that “He’s the real person for this job” otherwise his experience wouldn’t have lead him to run.

  4. DoubleGator says:

    Not a Hatch Act violation for sure. BUT who’s that saying government doesn’t create jobs? Certainly not Mr. Meeker. Experienced in the goverment beauracy of creating and enforcing regulations. Long time job there which he says is to … ” inspect construction development projects and ensure compliance with the consumptive use of environmental resource permits that have been issued by the agency. You perform inspections of such projects during construction and after completion to ensure that the ‘as built’ construction is in accordance with the plans utilized in order to obtain the permits”. City Commission …. skilled at the gov intrusion red light cameras and chicken blink politics with the county about the sales tax renewal and sharing scheme. What do we the people get with someone who has a full time job government job (85k) that apparently requires the work to be done outside of Flagler County (presumably to stave off any conflict of interests (as a city commissioner) with those developers his agency -the full time job- regulates)? Simple.

    • Traci Distler says:

      Wow, your skilled. It doesn’t matter what he makes, there is a reason he’s making what he does. His job you are trying to twist into….well I don’t know and I don’t think you know. By the way “DoubleGator”….simple put your real name behind what you say.

  5. DWFerg says:

    This is one of the more interesting local races on the ballot—–The outcome in the primary indicated that the number of non- Meeker supporters are out there—-With a close Presidential race anticipated, the lines of straight Republican loyalty being tested in a couple of races,( District 24 e.g.), and the expectedt ability for Ms. Romaine to capture a very large segmant of the Democratic vote. I know of several registered Republicans who will “cross over the line” and venture into independent or the “treasonous” land of the DEMS ! Heaven forbid a Republican cross OVER to the “Dark Side”–I believe that modern politics has soured many voters and party Loyalty is being tested more Every Day !!! Vote for the best candidate—-There are some very good independents AND Democrats !!!!

  6. confidential says:

    Coincidentally as soon as Mr. Meeker was elected councilman, our city water utility seek and received strong support from the SJRWM (St John River Water Management) and also its initial financial support for the two years and well over 2 million dollars City Council wasted from our Water Utility revenue saved funds in the Coquina Desalt Plant proposal and meetings….than ended in stopping the project (what a waste) given the quitting of the other cities/counties involved for lack of funding….just remembering.

  7. Robert Lewis says:

    Could it be the Ronald Reagan Assembly is in bed with the Liberal Abbey Romaine? Those are two groups I will gladly decline voting for.

  8. tulip says:

    @ ROBERT LEWIS I doubt Ms Romaine is “in bed” with the RR people. From what I read, she is endorsed and supported by the Democrats, and we know how the Radicals think the Dems are the scum of the earth, with the exception of a couple.

  9. Will says:

    To Robert Lewis:

    The old saying that “politics makes strange bedfellows” easily comes to mind, HOWEVER, I don’t think it’s the case here.

    Abby Romaine has been making an effort to talk with anyone who will listen and who wants a new alternative. I know she attended a recent Ronald Reagan Assembly meeting, but Frank Meeker was there too. Some of the RRA members are members of a local conservation organization where Ms. Romaine is also active, so there’s acquaintance and interplay there too.

    I know staunch non radical republicans who like Romaine because she thinks for herself. She’s been supported by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. She describes herself as a fiscal conservative and social libertarian. I’ve been surprised when she offers a fresh view on issues where I expected something different – allowing me to see the issues from a new point of view.

    I guess I can say that you can’t put Abby Romaine in someone else’s pigeonhole. I think she’ll be a great commissioner.

  10. Magnolia says:

    I met Ms. Romaine at a recent forum and find myself in agreement with Will. She has no ties to builders, like Mr. Meeker does.

    Neat young lady!

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