Four More Joe the Plumber Snoops Get Their Wrists Slapped

The Columbus Dispatch writes that four more Ohio senior managers were “punished” for engaging in illegal and unethical searches on Joe Wurzelbacher. As Helen Jones-Kelley before them, instead of being fired, they were suspended without pay.

Jan Allen, acting agency director, announced yesterday that deputy child-support director Doug Thompson and assistant agency director Fred Williams would be placed on unpaid leave Monday.

Thompson will be suspended for four weeks at a loss of about $7,565 in pay, and Williams will lose about $4,434 in salary during a two-week suspension.

Paul Fraunholtz, deputy director of family stability, and Judi Cicatiello, deputy director of unemployment compensation, received written reprimands for their conduct.

Rejecting Republican calls for her dismissal, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland suspended agency director Helen Jones-Kelley on Thursday for a month without pay. She will lose about $11,828 in salary…

The four disciplined employees also will receive professional-development counseling, and all agency employees will receive training on protecting the confidentiality of personal information, Allen said.

Jones-Kelly also was cited by Charles for misusing her state e-mail account to help raise funds for Obama’s presidential campaign. She was suspended with pay on Nov. 7 for the offense after The Dispatch uncovered the e-mails.

Republicans remain upset that Strickland ignored their pleas to fire Jones-Kelley. “I’m just outraged,” said Senate President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland.

“It’s obvious she has lied to me and the governor and the media as to why these checks were done,” Harris said. “Prior directors never did such things and said they would fire anybody who did.

“It’s just frustrating as the devil.”

Jones-Kelley has lost her credibility with lawmakers and her own employees, Harris said. “What is the standard being set? If you let the person in charge off for doing these things, how do you turn around and fire others” for the same offense?

That’s the rub. You don’t fire others for doing the same things, unless, of course, they’re Republicans. Only then are their activities firing offenses as State Senator Tim Grendell points out:

State Sen. Tim Grendell, a Chesterland Republican, is among the many Republicans who are openly angry.

“She should be fired,” Grendell said. “This is the party that every time a Republican stubbed their toe for the past four years they screamed, ‘Culture of corruption… How can you allow the public trust to be abused this way?’ And now you’ve got someone who breached the public trust and misused her public authority and public property. She doesn’t deserve her agency director’s job.”

But Governor Ted Strickland lets her and the others keep their jobs without batting a hypocritical eyelash.

To the golf cart Robin
The Knucklehead of the Day award