When the Wall Street Journal has an entry titled, “What’s Going on With Marc Dann? Here’s What We Know,” you know it can’t be good. The most disturbing line: “Another staffer at the AG’s office says concern is building in the office that lawyers working for Mr. Dann could defect if he stays much longer.”
I just know my bloggy buddy John Michael Spinelli is having too much fun with his headlines at ePluribus Media: “Dann Death Delayed.” His piece is also an excellent round-up of all the gyrations of today (figurative, figurative, sillies).
The Associated Press has its take, and it’s got most of the bits that were in this afternoon’s local stories.
How are the locals feeling?
The morning started out with new e-mails being revealed by the media.
But by this evening, the Dayton Daily News is reporting on Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signing into law the bill that allows the Inspector General to conduct an investigation into the AG’s office and report back to the Ohio legislature.
Buckeye State Blog wants unconditional surrender.
Glass City Jungle on the bipolar nature of the day (my word, not Lisa Renee’s).
Mansfield News Journal this evening
WKYC offers specifics on the impeachment moves today
Ohio Daily Blog wrote about recall prospects but that was before all the impeachment and resign/not resigning news
And the Plain Dealer had this God-awful editorial. I swear, most of the papers’ editorial boards sound so out of touch with Ohioans, I just do not get it. I know they talk to us. Where is their sense?
And, in case you missed my earlier post about the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and sexual harassment, here’s a quick overview of employment law in Ohio.
More good primers:
The FBI may investigate, and we learn that Dann withheld information from his closest aides about recusing himself from a situation related to that possible inquiry.
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann is expected to announce his resignation later today, The Plain Dealer has learned. He planned to break the news to his senior staff this afternoon.
The decision came as Dann faced intense pressure from fellow Democrats and Republican critics who said he was not fit to continue as the state’s top lawyer.
It also followed action targeting Dann in the Ohio General Assembly today by lawmakers from both parties. House Democrats this morning filed articles of impeachment against Dann, accusing him of misconduct and malfeasance in office. And House Republicans began plans to fast-track a bill that would allow the state Inspector General’s office to conduct an independent investigation into Dann’s office.
Democrats have said Dann knew or should have known that Gutierrez and others were making a mockery of the office and done something about it.
But while Gutierrez, Jennings, former Chief of Staff Edgar Simpson and former scheduler Jessica Utovich, the 28-year-old woman Dann was linked to, all lost their jobs in the wake of the investigation, Dann had vowed to stay on. He admitted to running his office poorly but said things had been improving under his leadership. Dann also had said admitting his affair to his wife, Alyssa Lenhoff, was punishment enough for him.
Hattip to Plunderbund.
More thoughts later.
UPDATE: Columbus Dispatch says Dann is trying to strike a deal that would prohibit an external investigation but quotes House leader Jon Husted (R):
House Speaker Jon A. Husted said he talked with Dann today but he did not want to detail what he said was a private conversation. Regardless whether Dann resigns, Husted said he intends to move forward with the bill authorizing Charles to investigate.
“There are more issues at stake than just the attorney general’s resignation,” Husted said.
I can only imagine.
UPDATEx2: Retracting resignation plan? From the Tribune-Chronicle:
State Rep. Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, said Marc Dann will not resign today despite published reports to the contrary.
Hagan told the Tribune Chronicle this afternoon that he served as emissary between House and Senate leaders to broker a deal for Dann’s resignation. However, Hagan said when the House refused to take an emergency clause out of a bill to allow the inspector general to investigate, a deal for Dann’s resignation fell through.
The emergency clause allows the inspector general to investigate immediately. Hagan said Dann wanted more time.
Meanwhile, many media outlets around Ohio are reporting that Dannás resignation is expected between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. today.
I’ve been writing about the wireless 911 provision crisis for more than a year. Ohio House Representatives Larry Flowers (R, 19) and Steve Driehaus (D, 31) announced last December that they would introduce a bill to head off and outright confront the changes in our habits so that we will not have to say woulda, shoulda, coulda.
Yesterday, they introduced House Bill 550:
…to extend until 2013 the wireless 9-1-1 charge, to raise the minimum, annual fund disbursement amount for each county from $25,000 to $90,000, and to broaden local uses of that revenue.
The analysis is not yet available and I’ve noted that my representative (more about that below) is not yet listed as a co-sponsor. However, the bill’s first hearing is scheduled for today per Gongwer in the House Finance and Appropriations committee at 1:30pm (I may try to see if it’s something The Ohio Channel covers):
HB 550 WIRELESS 911 FEES (Flowers, Driehaus) To extend until 2013 the wireless 9-1-1 charge, to raise the minimum, annual fund disbursement amount for each county from $25,000 to $90,000, and to broaden local uses of that revenue.–1st Hearing-Sponsor Full Text
On Wednesday, May 14th, 9-1-1 officials representing counties throughout Ohio, members of the 9-1-1 Industry Alliance (9IA), and Ohio State Reps. Larry Flowers and Steven Driehaus will detail the findings of a national report on the health of 9-1-1, noting a “critical lack of funding” is compromising the safety of Ohioans.
The report, compiled by ColoComm Group, LLC, an independent research group widely recognized by federal and congressional groups as an expert in public safety, concluded a critical lack of funding has resulted in a gap between the types of communications devices people use and those able to fully benefit from access to 9-1-1 services.
“If we don’t have a steady, dependable funding stream in place for 9-1-1, we certainly can’t address today’s wireless 9-1-1 challenges, let alone implement a long-term plan to support 9-1-1 for emerging technologies like text messaging,” said Bill Hinkle, chairman of Ohio’s 9-1-1 Council. “By securing funding now, Ohio has the opportunity to be the bellwether for other states to follow when assessing the health of their 9-1-1 system.”
According to the 9-1-1 Industry Alliance’s press release, the press conference will take place at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn on North High Street in Worthington tomorrow.
Hattip to my State Rep. Josh Mandel’s aide, Michael Lord. Michael has called me multiple times to keep me informed on the progress of the wireless 911 issue. He has been informative, pleasant and responsive. Many thanks to Michael.
Update: State Rep. Mandel phoned me re: the co-sponsoring observation and explained the procedural chances through which the legislators have opportunities to sign on and his expectation to continue to follow the bill. I also remarked that if “broaden local uses of that revenue” is too broad, even I would might have trouble supporting the bill, without discussion or amendments. But I don’t know a ton about how the legislature works that way. I look forward to seeing the bill’s analysis.
The Columbus Dispatch has the details. Here are the nine articles:
Obstructed the internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment in his office.
Willfully and intentionally issued misleading statements under oath.
Neglected to perform the duties of his office and by his own admission was not competent or qualified for the job.
Knew or should have known that his own admitted sexual affair with an employee contributed to and allowed a hostile work environment.
Failed to ensure the safety and security of state property.
Failed to investigate and prohibit improper use of state property.
Knew or should have known of the misuse of state property for personal business.
Committed acts of gross neglect of duty by undermining the integrity of his office; bringing disrepute upon the office; betraying the public trust as Ohio’s chief law enforcement officer; and undermining the effectiveness and efficiency of the office.
Committed acts of gross immorality and knew or should have known that his personal conduct undermined the effectiveness and efficiency of the office.
In a motivating speech [at an OCRC reception in 4/07], Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann spoke of partnership. He spoke to working with the OCRC to “increase consequences for those who trample on the rights of people,” and to “expand the list of people who are protected by our laws to be more reflective of our community.” On the appointment of Chair Donaldson as the first female Chairperson of the OCRC, Mr. Dann said, “This is just the beginning. We are going to make history in Ohio.” [emphasis mine]
I guess Dann wasn’t kidding.
I am not clear on how the EEOC and OCRC relate to one another, the former being federal and the latter being state. With the AG’s office’s EEOC complaints related to the most recent situation, I don’t recall hearing a word from the OCRC. I don’t recall reading about why the women who filed EEOC complaints didn’t also file with the OCRC. Anyone?
Here’s the OCRC’s description of sexual harassment:
Sexual harassment is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature from someone in the workplace that creates discomfort and/or interferes with the job. It can take the form of verbal abuse, such as insults, suggestive comments and demands. Sexual harassment can also consist of leering and subtle forms of pressure for sexual activity, physical aggressiveness such as touching, pinching and patting, and can end up as attempted rape and rape. “Quid Pro Quo” is the term used to describe harassment when submission to or rejection or sexual demands becomes the basis for employment decisions directly affecting an employee. “Hostile Work Environment” is the term used to describe a work environment that is created when continued sexual harassment produces an intimidating and offensive work atmosphere, which negatively impacts an employee’s work performance. Victims face harassment from fellow employees, supervisors, co-workers, clients or customers. Sexual harassment can be committed by a woman against a man, or by members or one sex against others of the same gender. However, the majority of offenses are men against women.
Here’s a description of how the OCRC functions, its jurisdiction and what it can do. Oh, and that description ends with this:
The Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Section, represents the Commission in all matters of litigation.
Maybe that’s why the Espy effort should have been foregone in the first place, and why the OCRC didn’t handle it, except that the folks on the OCRC are appointed by the Governor and the OCRC isn’t connected to Dann’s office – at least on the organizational chart.
I haven’t been able to find information on the AG’s Civil Rights Section – mentioned above. I did find this section about what people are supposed to do if they think that they’ve experienced discrimination (go to OCRC).
[Interesting aside: A quick look at the AG's organizational chart shows that some folks who've been fired are still on it (it's dated February 2008, but I'm assuming for now that it's accurate; feel free to provide updates). Susan Choe appears to be in charge of Civil Rights and Election Law (but I don't think that's necessarily the same as a Civil Rights Section) and Mike McPhillips is in charge of Employment. Here's a bit more about McPhillips, who used to be a Franklin County Common Pleas magistrate.]
Under the OCRC site’s section, Enforcement, we learn that only a preponderance of evidence is required to find probable cause that discrimination has occurred. I never knew that. Then again, I can’t learn everything there is to know about this area of law in a few minutes or Google searches, but here’s some info from the OCRC’s 2007 annual report.
On Page 15, you can see that there are 34 categories of “Alleged Issues of Charges Filed” for FY 2006 (that might be a typo, because the dates are 7/06 to 7/07 – I would think that’s FY 2007?).
There is a category for “sexual harassment” but there are also categories for “harassment,” “intimidation” and other allegations that might be related. Oddly, retaliation, gender and pregnancy are lumped together on a chart on Page 14, but these categories don’t correspond directly to the categories listed on Page 15. Notice on Page 13, the number of cases taken in has increased by 1100 since 1998, but only half of that additional number adds up to more cases “produced.” I imagine this has to do with newly recognized categories, among other things.
We’ll stick with sexual harassment for now. There’s no grand total for all charges filed by issue, but when I add them up, I get a total of 8948. That’s much higher than the intake number of 6144 stated in the opening letter of the annual report, but it’s reasonable to expect that some cases had multiple allegations.
Of those 8948, according to the 2007 annual report, 333 had to do with sexual harassment (discharge – 2502 and harassment – 1374 – were the largest categories). In previous years, according to the annual reports for those years:
2004: 348 out of 8461
2003: 348 out of 9055
Interesting, but I don’t really know what it means, yet. I’m looking forward to finding out.