From the Big D:
A division director was forced to resign and a second Department of Development staffer was placed on a three-day suspension today in the wake of a controversy involving the state outsourcing call-center work to El Salvador.Special props need to go to State Senator David Goodman who went on ONN this past weekend and exposed Ms. Howard and the lies she told to the Controlling Board. Jump to the 2:00 minute mark for the red meat:
In March the state gave a federal stimulus-funded $11 million appliance-rebate program contract to Texas-based Parago Inc., which used hundreds of workers in El Salvador to process applications and answer customers' calls. The Development Department recommended Parago after evaluating nine bids, including two from companies in Columbus.
When the contract was made public, Lisa Patt-McDaniel, director of the Ohio Department of Development, said Parago never told state officials it would use an offshore call center.
But today, Patt-McDaniel said she has since come across new information regarding what was known, and when. The information led Nadeane Howard, director of the Ohio Energy Resources Division, to resign today.
Ms. Howard's failures do far more than highlight yet more ineptitude within the Strickland Administration. They confirm that the request Rep. Boehner and other Ohio Congressmen made in March of last year to incorporate an independent panel to review Stimulus projects was the right way to go. Instead, the Governor felt he could handle things just fine.
That didn't work out too well, now did it?
From a political perspective, this issue is absolutely killing the Governor and Lee Fisher. At best, it's distracting from whatever message the Governor has been trying to convey the past two weeks. The voters that are paying attention this far out instead see stories that highlight the ineptitude within the Administration and enhance the negative perception of the stimulus that Strickland and Fisher so enthusiastically supported.
A simple firing won't make that go away.