Editorial: Election rules have real world consequences | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Election rules have real world consequences

Tribune-Review file
Westmoreland County Courthouse

Okay, here’s the deal.

You probably shouldn’t work on a political campaign while you are at your job — unless, of course, working on a political campaign actually is your job.

Regardless of whether you are an accountant or a short order cook or an airplane mechanic or a kindergarten teacher, whoever is signing your paycheck would probably prefer that you do the job you were hired to do rather than do volunteer work for someone who is trying to get a new job on the taxpayer dime.

So no stuffing envelopes between orders at the drive- thru. No cold-calling voters while you are long-haul trucking. It’s just a bad mix.

But if you work for a government agency? Full stop. Do not pass go. Beyond this place there be dragons.

A Westmoreland County sheriff’s department assistant office manager has been suspended for doing just that. The county controller’s office wouldn’t talk about the suspension, but sources say she was working on a county row officer campaign.

Sheriff Jonathan Held wouldn’t comment other than to say that “Tiffany Schomer is not, and has never been, a member of my political campaign,” and to say that there has been no political activity in the sheriff’s office since he took over in 2012.

But Schomer should have known better specifically because Held’s disclaimer is so eyebrow- raising. The sheriff is, after all, still being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office for charges related to accusations he had staff work on his re-election campaign. His case ended in a mistrial in December and is slated for retrial in April.

Whether Held is or is not guilty is not the point, though. His case was widely known and should have been a giant flashing warning sign for any other candidates or campaign workers who collect a government paycheck.

Candidates, warn your volunteers about what is and isn’t allowed. Volunteers, educate yourself about the rules before you get yourself or the person you are supporting into more trouble than it’s worth.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.