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Ex-Toledoan chided for slow response to harassment claim

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Chapple

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Joyce Chapple, a former Toledoan who is chief operating officer of the troubled Ohio Attorney General's Office, said she expects to remain in her post despite being faulted for not responding quickly enough to complaints of sexual harassment that have engulfed the office.

Ms. Chapple, 62, who was director of human resources under former Mayor Jack Ford, said yesterday she was continuing to do her work and did not intend to resign.

"I don't feel that in any way that my position, my work, has any problem whatsoever, given that report. I have a very minor mention in that report," Ms. Chapple said.

Two aides to Attorney General Marc Dann were fired and another forced to resign after Mr. Dann's office released a report of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints filed by two women.

Mr. Dann has admitted to having an affair with an employee, and has been asked to resign by Gov. Ted Strickland and top Democrats. So far, he has refused to resign.

Ms. Chapple was the immediate subordinate of Ed Simpson, the chief of policy and administration, who resigned rather than be fired. She also supervised Anthony Gutierrez, the chief of general services, who was fired for his alleged activities.

The investigation conducted by Ben Espy, executive assistant attorney general, said the women complained on March 6

and 7, but the investigation didn't begin until March 31.

"Between March 6, 2008, to March 31, 2008, neither Mr. Simpson nor Ms. Chapple did anything to separate the complainant from the alleged harasser. Mr. Gutierrez was finally suspended with pay on April 7, 2008," the report said.

The report recommended that Ms. Chapple receive additional management training.

Ms. Chapple said the report blamed her for a delay of six working days. She did not explain the discrepancy between her understanding and the wording in the report. Ms. Chapple said she had not read the report.

"What he meant was that we should have responded more quickly, and I of course don't totally agree with that because I think we did respond quickly," Ms. Chapple said.

Ms. Chapple declined to comment on Mr. Dann's situation.

Ms. Chapple, who is paid $109,000, applied for her job through the Dann transition team. She said she met him for the first time during a campaign event in Toledo.

Before serving in Mr. Ford's cabinet, Ms. Chapple held a variety of public and private positions, including director of human resources for the University of Toledo.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.

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