COLUMBUS -- Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor's chief of staff abruptly resigned Thursday at the lieutenant governor's request amid time sheet discrepancies discovered when the office was responding to a public records request.
Laura Horowitz Johnson's one-sentence letter provided no reason for her resignation, which was effective immediately.
Her administrative assistant, Heather Brandt, also resigned, citing an "unhealthy hostile work environment" in her letter. She stepped down effective Wednesday.
The cases have been referred to Inspector General Randy Meyer, according to Taylor spokesman Chris Brock.
A letter from Ms. Taylor to Mr. Meyer's office stated that a review of electronic records tracking the two staff members' entry into and out of the Riffe Center parking garage where the lieutenant governor's offices are located showed that the hours their cars were in the garage were "significantly less than the total amount of hours that each of them recorded as having worked in that time period."
"There were also a number of days in which each of them claimed work hours for times of the day either before they entered the Riffe Center garage and/or after which they had left the Riffe Center garage," the letter adds.
The letter notes that Ms. Taylor had provided both with "some flexibility" in their work schedules because of "personal issues," but found the discrepancies in actual hours to be more "than I anticipated."
"As a former Auditor of State, I know that when public employees perform work away from their assigned work stations, there has to be some measure of accountability for the work hours the employees claim and for which they are paid with the public's dollars," reads Ms. Taylor's letter.
The review, initiated as a result of a April 29 public records request from the Democratic-leaning web site Plunderbund, examined the employees' hours since Jan. 1.
Ms. Taylor and fellow Republican Gov. John Kasich are seeking re-election in November.