As Gov. Ted Strickland was calling on Ohio's embattled attorney general to step downamid sexual harassment allegations last year, another harassment scandal was brewing in one of his own state agencies.
Women employees accused John W. Francis, the newly hired deputy at the Ohio Department of Health, of patting them on the butt, calling them pet names and threatening them with violence.
This is yet another in a long line of Strickland appointees with legal or ethical issues.
Let's take a little walk down memory lane:
Henry Guzman, Sat on His Hands While “Thousands of Illegal Immigrants” Registered Their Cars Illegally in Ohio: Thousands of illegal immigrants were permitted to register vehicles in Ohio because of a moratorium on enforcement of the law that was ordered by former state Public Safety Director Henry Guzman. That is established fact, according to published reports. The question now is why Guzman, who left his position just a few days ago, took the action. Guzman became aware of a loophole in the law that allowed illegal immigrants, sometimes using U.S. citizens as paid "runners," to obtain vehicle licenses. He ordered changes in the rules to close the loophole last summer. But on July 31, 2008, Guzman ordered a moratorium on the changes. [Editorial, The Wheeling Intelligencer, 9/20/09]
Michael Dolan, Handed Out Free Lottery Tickets and Lied to the State Controlling Board: Three weeks earlier, on Aug 4, Michael Dolan, the Ohio Lottery Commission director, stepped down. Dolan had held onto his job following news stories that he handed out free lottery tickets like suckers at Halloween. He also survived revelations that he had been less than truthful when he appeared before the bipartisan State Controlling Board to get its approval to purchase $11.6 million in keno equipment. Later, under oath, Dolan contradicted previous testimony by stating he knew the equipment being purchased could not be used once the commission changed vendors. As the lottery began ramping up efforts to place up to 2,500 slot machines at horse racetracks, it finally was clear Dolan had to go. [Dennis Willard, Akron Beacon Journal, 9/12/09]
Michael Shoemaker, Ousted for Not Being More Aggressive for Unions, Strickland Didn’t Even Say Goodbye: [Former Lottery Director Michael] Dolan's resignation came about a week after Strickland's chief of staff, John Haseley, without explanation, summoned Michael Shoemaker, the Ohio School Facilities Commission executive director, into his office to tell him that his services no longer were needed. Shoemaker ran afoul of unions for not being more aggressive in forcing local districts to use union contractors and insist upon prevailing wage agreements. Old friends from Appalachia, Strickland never extended the courtesy of a meeting with Shoemaker to discuss why he had to go. [Dennis Willard, Akron Beacon Journal, 9/12/09]
Mark Barbash, Didn’t Pay His Taxes: In February, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher announced he no longer would wear a second hat as development director so he could concentrate on running for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Fisher's replacement was Mark Barbash, who resigned May 15, after the media learned he had not paid income taxes and owed the Internal Revenue Service about $146,000. [Dennis Willard, Akron Beacon Journal, 9/12/09]
Helen Jones-Kelley, Conducted and Illegal Background Check for Political Purposes: In 2008, reports surfaced that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services had conducted background checks into Joe ''the Plumber'' Wurzelbacher after his name was invoked numerous times during a debate between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Helen Jones-Kelley, the department's director, resigned after being placed on administrative leave. [Dennis Willard, Akron Beacon Journal, 9/12/09]
Eric "The Pimp" McFadden, Ran a Prostitution Ring: A man once hired by Gov. Ted Strickland to head a state office because of his ties to Ohio's religious community stands accused of being involved in an online prostitution ring. Robert Eric McFadden, former director of Strickland's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, was arrested Wednesday morning in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. He has been charged with seven felonies, including pandering obscenities involving a minor, promoting prostitution and compelling prostitution, according to a Columbus Police Department spokesman. [Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Openers Blog, 1/15/09]
John Lang, Had Three DUI-Related Arrests and Got Arrested for Fighting Police Officers: The lobbyist for the Ohio Department of Public Safety resigned today after being charged with becoming intoxicated and scuffling with police officers at the Memorial Tournament. John W. Lang Jr., 33, was arrested yesterday at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin and charged with persistent disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Lang's lobbying efforts on behalf of the State Highway Patrol, Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the department's liquor-law enforcement unit included a bill to toughen drunken-driving laws. His driving record reflects three DUI-related arrests, most recently on Feb. 9 in Grandview Heights. [Columbus Dispatch, 6/5/09]
Quite a list, eh?
We've got two words for Ted Strickland: Background. Check.
Use them, genius.