December 05, 2008
I guess that love lasted as long as an encounter between Oliver Willis and a Filet O Fish.
Vanessa Niekamp, an administrator for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Office of Child Support and a 15-year state employee, said that when Deputy Director Doug Thompson came into her office, "He appeared very upset, his neck was bright red, and he was shaking. He closed my door."
Thompson told her she must write an e-mail to the agency's information-security officer, and then "dictated word for word" what she wrote, Niekamp said. He also reminded her that she could be fired at any time, she said.
"Within an hour, I took the rest of the day off -- again using my vacation time -- and went directly to the office of the inspector general. I told them everything I knew about what happened."
Niekamp took another day of vacation yesterday to testify before the House State Government and Elections Committee about legislation that calls for the firing of any unclassified state employee who improperly accesses confidential personal information.
Rep. Shannon Jones, a Springboro Republican sponsoring House Bill 648, said she introduced the measure because she thinks that high-ranking officials such as Job and Family Services Director Helen Jones-Kelley weren't punished enough.
"The systematic misuse of government databases and the governor's woeful under-reaction to state government workers engaging in this outrageous behavior make House Bill 648 necessary," she told the committee.
Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, placed Jones-Kelley on a one-month unpaid suspension last month after Inspector General Thomas P. Charles found she authorized the check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, for no legitimate government purpose.
Thompson also was suspended for a month after Charles found that he participated in directing the check and instructed Niekamp to send a deceptive e-mail about it. Three others received lesser punishment.
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