The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides the first published comments by Acting Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor the day before her confirmation hearing:

“I’d like to think I’m going to get a fair hearing,” Collins-Taylor said Tuesday. “I don’t have a whole lot of confidence based upon past hearings and the antics leading into this week.”

[On the I.G.’s report which has been widely criticized as containing a number of obvious and embarrassing errors and flat out ignoring evidence that did not confirm its conclusions]

“I’m appalled. I’m offended. And I would call the report an opinion. That’s all it is. And I am outraged by it,” Collins-Taylor said in her first public comments since the report was released. She said the report is filled with inaccuracies easily dispelled by transcripts of interviews the inspector general’s office conducted and other evidence it did not consider.”

The Plain Dealer notes that Collins-Taylor stated she backed Col. Dicken’s decision (a decision that the I.G. has alleged was actually made by her) because of lack of details about the operation and the possibility that there was no crime to investigate because tobacco “smuggling” is not a crime.

And for the first time, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is the first media outlet to state what this blog has been saying about the I.G.’s report:

The Franklin County prosecutor appears to have no plans to pursue such a charge. Collins-Taylor suggested Charles and his team of investigators review the state law more closely.

“He was on the road to calling me a liar and had to come up with a motive,” she said. “So the motive that he at least tried to allege to The Plain Dealer is that because I didn’t have the authority I went in and lied, when I clearly had the authority.”

The Plain Dealer notes that the Senate Chairman holding her confirmation “believes Charles’ report” while Senate President Bill Harris offered this vote of confidence:

“I’ve been in the legislature for 16 years now and I’ve always known Tom Charles to be a very dedicated, professional person,” Harris said after a Senate session. “I have not changed my mind about Tom Charles at all.”

Please note that whether Senate President Bill Harris has changed his mind about Charles’ report on Cathy Collins-Taylor is still up in the air.  It’s a curious choice of words when the question was whether Harris believed the report, not still admired the person who’s office issued it.

Bill Harris just gave Tom Charles his “heck of a job” kiss of death.