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November 20, 2008

The Party of Accountability: Helen Jones-Kelley Suspended for One Month

Without pay, yes. But she's been suspended for a month with pay, a tax-payer paid one-month vacation, now her new, final sanction is one month suspension without pay.

One month.

Whitewash, slap on the wrist. I'm shocked, shocked.

Gov. Ted Strickland suspended Director Helen Jones-Kelley of the Job and Family Services Department for one month without pay after a state Inspector General's report found Jones-Kelley improperly authorized searches of state databases and used her state e-mail account for political fundraising.

Based on her annual salary of $141,980, the suspension will cost Jones-Kelley, 57, of Clayton, $11,831.

The report issued on Thursday, Nov. 20, by Inspector General Tom Charles found that Jones-Kelley improperly authorized searches of state databases for information on Samuel Joseph — "Joe the Plumber" — Wurzelbacher, who emerged as a key figure in the Ohio presidential campaign.

Charles also found that Jones-Kelley's use of state e-mail resources to raise money for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was improper.

The decision by the Democratic governor isn't likely to satisfy Republicans.

Before it was announced, Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland, called on Strickland to "immediately terminate" Jones-Kelley and Doug Thompson, deputy director of child support who came with Jones-Kelley to Columbus from Montgomery County.

"You entrusted these individuals with sensitive information regarding thousands of Ohioans.

"They not only failed in their responsibilities to protect that information, but they abused positions of authority to access confidential databases for what, based on the evidence released today, had no legitimate government purpose, was not in response to media requests and appears to be based on political motivations," Harris said in a letter to Strickland.

Her suspension doesn't "cost" her anything, by the way. It's not a penalty. She's gets a month off -- sure, she's not paid for it, but then, she's also not working. There is no fine here, even.

In economic terms, she's decided that one month of her time working is worth $11,000. The two are, in other words, equivalent. They are fungible. So she's not losing anything -- sure, she doesn't get the $11,000, but she also keeps that time to herself, which she's valued at $11,000.

This is like agreeing to the price of $0.50 for an apple, and then the deal falling through. You haven't "lost" a thing -- sure, you don't have the apple, but you still have the fifty cents you decided it was worth.

Thanks to WilliamA.

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posted by Ace at 07:03 PM

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