The hits just keep coming for Ohio Inspector General Randy Meyer.
And by “hits,” we really mean misses.
The time has come for Meyer to step down.
Back in 2104, Plunderbund requested time sheets and other records for various staffers of Lt. Giv. Mary Taylor, including her chief of staff Laura Johnson. It seems that the amount of time the two women’s cars were parked in the Riffe Center garage under the Statehouse was “significantly less” than the amount of time they said they had worked on their time sheets.
Last week, the inspector general issued a report criticizing Taylor for lax supervision after discovering that Johnson had been at nail and hair salons at times when she said she was working on work activities. In fact, the report observed that nearly 800 hours that were claimed as worked by Taylor’s staffer during times when their cars were not parked in the state garage.
Here is where it gets interesting.
Meyer’s office did not disclose in its report that Johnson was doing polictial work on state time. The records obtained by the Inspector General revealed that Johnson logged approximately 30 hours on the state clock while working on the 2014 Kasich re-election campaign.
The Columbus Dispatch suggests that politicking while on state time is a misdemeanor. Actually, the Inspector General’s office missed a very obvious felony here. Claiming state pay for time not worked has been considered to be “theft of time” and, “theft in office.”
We know the Inspector General is aware of this law because he previously conducted investigations into “theft of time.” In 2011, for example, Meyer investiaged an agent of the Ohio Investigative Unit on an allegation that he “claimed to be working when in fact he was at home.” The report concluded – in language that could be applied to Taylor’s staffers – that the state employee “engaged in personal non-work activities while on state time.” Meyer, notably, indiacted that his office would be contacting the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Columbus City Attorney’s Office to discuss criminal charges.
Instead, the Inspector General seems to have turned away from this obvious crime – perhaps because he did not want to embarrass his former boss, Taylor as she prepares a run for Governor?
You know its bad when even the Columbus Dispatch calls him out in an editorial: the paper suggested, “it appeared as though Meyer might have intentionally overlooked the matter to protect Taylor and the Kasich administration.”
Yet this is the response from the Inspector General’s Office: “At the end of the day we stand by the report that we have,” Carl Enslen, a deputy inspector general, told Cleveland.com
Ohio has gone far to long without an Inspector General who wasnt pursuing some sort of partisan agenda. The previous Inspector General, Tom Charles, was invested in doing what he could to defeat Ted Strickland. The current Inspector General, as we have noted numerous times, has no interest in investigating any wrongdoing by high ranking members of the Kashich Administration. For example, In 2012, Joseph observed that the Inspector General had whitewhased a report into allegations that arose during Kasich’s battle with Kevin DeWine for control of the Ohio Republican Party. At that time, he noted, “It appears to be amateur hour at the IG’s office.”
Nothing has improved. And nothing will while Meyer remains the Inspector General.