State official resigns over ‘Joe the Plumber’ affair
By Catherine Candisky
Helen Jones-Kelley, the state official placed on unpaid leave for improperly accessing confidential information from state databases on “Joe the Plumber,” has resigned.Two senior managers involved in the incident also are leaving, The Dispatch has learned..Jones-Kelley was scheduled to return to work as director of the Department of Job and Family Services on Monday following a one-month suspension without pay.Today’s action comes just hours after the Senate approved a measure cracking down on state workers who improperly conduct checks involving people’s personal information. Republicans complained that Gov. Ted Strickland, who promised to set a high ethical standard as governor, was letting her off far too lightly.The bill will go to the House tonight, where it is expected to be approved and sent to the governor..Strickland suspended Jones-Kelley after a report by Inspector General Thomas P. Charles found that checks into the background of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher that were approved by Jones-Kelley were not conducted for any legitimate governmental purpose.The administration last night fired Doug Thompson, the deputy director of child support who was scheduled to return to work Monday following a one-month suspension without pay.Fred Williams, assistant agency director, has resigned effective Jan. 31. He recently returned to his job after a week suspension without pay.Williams and Thompson were faulted for participating in Jones-Kelley’s authorization of the checks on Wurzelbacher. Thompson also ordered an employee to lie about the reason for the check.Jones-Kelley authorized that checks the day after Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain mentioned Wurzelbacher, who he had met during a campaign visit to the Toledo area, repeatedly during the final televised debate with Democrat Barack Obama on Oct. 15.The agency’s actions drew outrage from across the nation after The Dispatch broke the story.Announcement of Jones-Kelley’s resignation came less than an hour after administration officials told The Dispatch that they knew nothing about the pending departures.Jones-Kelley told the inspector general the child support checks were run on those thrust into the public spotlight to see whether they were receiving public assistance or owed child support or unemployment-compensation taxes. The report found that explanation incredible.Charles’ investigation faulted Williams and Thompson for participating in Jones-Kelley’s authorization of checks on Wurzelbacher and criticized Thompson for instructing an employee to send a “deceptive e-mail” about a child-support check
As the evidence continued to build against Ohio Bureaucrat Helen Jones-Kelley for doing an illegal search on Joe the Plumber’s background, she remained on unpaid “leave” because of a different violation. She used the states e-mail system to campaign for Obama. Today she finally resigned from her position, two of her superiors left their jobs also:
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