- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio’s Democratic Party chairman criticized how the lieutenant governor has handled two staffers’ resignations, claiming Thursday that relying on the state’s inspector general, who used to work for her, was not the best response.

Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s chief of staff and the administrative assistant to the chief of staff resigned last week after irregularities were found in their timesheets.

Taylor’s office discovered the timesheet problems while responding to a public records request made in April by the Democratic-leaning blog Plunderbund. The blog asked for payroll records, timesheets and parking logs.

The documents showed the two women’s reported working hours and their parking garage and building entry logs did not match, according to Taylor’s office.

Taylor referred the matter to the state’s inspector general and the State Highway Patrol to review.

Democratic party chairman Chris Redfern told reporters at a Thursday news conference that relying on Inspector General Randall Meyer to investigate the issue was “not a credible response,” because Meyer worked for Taylor when she was state auditor.

Taylor spokesman Chris Brock declined to comment further on her actions, saying only of Redfern’s charge: “I’m not sure what he means by that.”

Meyer served as chief investigator at the auditor’s office from 2007 to 2011, while Taylor was at the helm.

A spokesman for the watchdog’s office said it does not discuss the complaints it receives until after an investigation is completed.

As to Meyer’s objectivity, spokesman Carl Enslen said, “He is sworn to be impartial and will be in any of the matters that he addresses.”

Taylor and Gov. John Kasich are running for re-election this fall.

Republicans have previously accused Kasich’s Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, of politicizing the Cuyahoga County watchdog’s office. FitzGerald serves as the county’s executive.

The county inspector general reviews FitzGerald’s campaign receipts against the county payroll and a list of appointees to boards and commissions, flagging conflicts for automatic return. The GOP has said that amounts to campaign work on the taxpayer’s dime.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Republican Party threatened to sue FitzGerald to obtain his county key-card records, detailing his comings and goings.

The county denied a public records request for the records from the Northeast Ohio Media Group, citing security concerns.

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