Robert Shelley, currently a candidate in the special election Republican primary for Horry County Council District 7, may have problems with both state and federal law should he attempt to continue to work for the SC Department of Motor Vehicles if he is elected to the District 7 seat on county council.
According to a Facebook post announcing his candidacy for the open District 7 county council seat, Shelley described his current job which may cause problems for Shelley assuming his seat as a county council member should he win the election.
“In the fall of 2007, I was offered a position with the State of South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Dealer Licensing & Audit Unit as a Dealer Agent. I currently hold the position of Lead Investigator where I supervise the newly formed state-wide investigative unit,” Shelley said.
In a separate Facebook post, Shelley definitively stated he will continue working for the state agency, if elected.
“I have over 35 years of experience working in City, County & State Government and I plan to continue working for the State of South Carolina if I’m elected,” Shelley said on his Facebook page.
There are three potentially significant legal problems for Shelley if he wins the election and attempts to remain in his state job.
The first is the federal Hatch Act. Although it has been amended several times since it was first passed by Congress in 1939, the act still makes it illegal to run for partisan political office for those who hold certain positions within state government agencies that receive funding through federal grants or loans.
According to a spokesman for the SC Department of Motor Vehicles, that agency definitely receives funding from the federal government as part of its budget.
Shelley’s state position may or may not be one of those affected by the Hatch Act, but it certainly should be something he addresses with the voting public.
The next potential problem is with a state law mirroring the Hatch Act for state employees.