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Published: Wednesday, 6/11/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Dem challenger attacks Taylor over missed work

2 staffers leave over time-sheet discrepancies

Neuhardt Neuhardt
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COLUMBUS — Where were Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor when high-level staff members in the lieutenant governor’s office were missing work, the Democrat who wants Ms. Taylor’s job asked Tuesday.

Taylor Taylor
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Noting that these employees worked on the same floor as Mr. Kasich’s staff, Dayton-area attorney Sharen Neuhardt also suggested they should have been aware of the “unhealthy hostile work environment” cited by one of the ex-employees in her resignation letter.

“First of all, I’m going to be there every day working,” Ms. Neuhardt said. “Where was Mary Taylor this whole time this was going on? How could she not notice that these two people weren’t at work? ... How could the governor pick somebody who can't even run her own office?”

On Friday, Ms. Taylor’s office announced that her chief of staff and former campaign aide, Laura Horowitz Johnson, had been asked to resign a day earlier because a review of parking and time-sheet records showed she’d been paid for “significantly” more hours than for the time her car was in the state garage.

Ms. Johnson’s assistant, Heather Brandt, also resigned. In her brief resignation letter, she cited an “unhealthy hostile work environment.” She also wrote, “I would put in my two weeks but due to my health I can’t physically endure this environment.”

Ms. Taylor referred the cases to the state highway patrol and Inspector General Randall Meyer, her former chief investigator when she was state auditor.

Ms. Neuhardt, running mate for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald, admitted she has no additional information about what Ms. Brandt meant by “hostile work environment.”

“The lieutenant governor was trying to offer some flexibility but it was abused,” said Taylor spokesman Chris Brock.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group has tried without success to get Mr. FitzGerald to release his own records of his comings and goings in the county. Security concerns have been cited for not complying. Similar concerns have been raised by the Kasich administration in refusing to make his daily schedule available to the liberal blog Plunderbund. The latter case is awaiting a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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