1:55 pm Apr. 9, 2012
There is evidence to suggest that Jeff Gottlieb's reported entry into a primary for the congressional seat once held by Rep. Gary Ackerman is being undertaken as something other than a wholehearted attempt to actually win: He's reportedly being supported by the Queens Democratic organization in what Rory Lancman, an already-declared candidate, says is an effort to siphon votes away from him.
Another possible reason to suspect that Gottlieb's candidacy is somewhat less than straightforward: He's campaigning for office while employed at the New York City Board of Elections, which may violate city rules barring B.O.E. employees from actively campaigning for public office.
"A Board employee who becomes a candidate for public office (but not a party position) shall take leave of absence from his/her duties and remain on leave status during the period that s/he remains an active candidate. Such Board employee shall be required to use his/her accrued annual leave and if such leave has been exhausted, to take a leave of absence without pay."
There is an exception to rule:
"A Board of employee[sic] who is a candidate for public office … shall not be required to take a leave of absence" if they "will not raise, collect receive or expand (either as an individual candidate or through an authorized political committee) more than two thousand five hundred dollars on behalf of or in connection with his/her campaign/candidacy for public office."
To qualify for that exception, the employee-candidate has to file a sworn statement with the "Deputy Executive Director, the General Counsel, the Director of Personnel, the Finance Office, the Candidate Records Unit and, if the employee is assigned to a Borough Office and/or Voting Machine Facility, the Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief Clerk of the Borough. The Executive Director shall provide a copy of the sworn statement to the appropriate Commissioners. The sworn statement shall be available for public inspection."
I left a message for an B.O.E. spokesperson to find out more about Gottlieb's status there.
I also reached out to Gottlieb, who left me the following message: "With all due respect, until my petitions are submitted [and] I'm on the ballot, I won't give any opinions out. It's not that I don't respect you, I do. But this is what I've been advised to say."
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