The ruling comes as no surprise. The "ethics policy" enacted by Joe Hoeffel, a lawyer, and his sidekick, Jim Matthews, was clearly illegal. The political shenanigans by Hoeffel/Matthews cost the county a lot of money and distracted from their incompetence in running county government.
The Hoeffel/Matthews political ban was quickly challenged in court by the Montgomery County District Attorney and the Montgomery County Sheriff.
A judge ruled this week that the county commissioners do not have the authority to regulate district attorney and sheriff’s offices' employees.
From a story by Keith Phucas in today's edition of The Pottstown Mercury:
The ethics ordinance banned certain county employees from participating in political activities while they work for the county government.Read the full story at the newspaper's Web site.
The prohibition, which applies during working hours and during employees’ free time, forbids them from running for elected office, campaigning for a political candidate or managing a political campaign.
On Wednesday, Castor said he had predicted during the debates on the ethics policy earlier this year that it would invite a court challenge and hailed the judge’s decision.
"I said all along this was nothing but a power grab," he said. "Matthews allowed himself to be manipulated by Hoeffel."
Judge William T. Nicholas ruled the policy invalid for people working for the DA or the sheriff, writing in his opinion that the commissioners "do not have statutory authority to regulate the hiring, firing or supervision of employees of row officers."
(P.S. -- After nearly bankrupting Montgomery County over the past two years, Hoeffel is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor of Pennsylvania in 2010, promising to continue the failed tax-and-spend policies of Ed Rendell.)