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Who watches the watchdog?

I can’t help but wonder what the atmosphere is like in the office of Attorney General Marc Dann now that the interrogation lights have been switched on there and directed toward him.

He has admitted to a romantic relationship with a female staffer, two ranking employees in his office have lost their jobs recently in connection with sexual harassment allegations and more investigations are being considered ranging from more sexual complaints to credit card and state vehicle uses. It reads like a movie synopsis and it doesn’t get any prettier.

 

The atmosphere of the office since he took over after his 2006 election could be described as decidedly frat-boyish: Lewd language and ample alcohol during office hours reportedly and even more after hours in a party-like atmosphere with single girls in the apartment Dann shared with two buddies.

 

I don’t care where his hometown is or how he needs to be closer to the Statehouse, sharing an apartment with some buddies looks suspect when you’re a 46-year-old married professional. It seems like a perfect opportunity for some shenanigans. Didn’t his mom ever tell him not to put himself in a situation where things could get out of control?

They have gotten out of control and, apparently, he didn’t listen to parental advice.

Now he’s playing the expected political practice of damage control. I haven’t heard him blame the media yet, but I imagine that will be coming by someone shortly. Politicians and public servants love the media when they think the media can do them some good and they don’t mind using them then, but let there be just a hint of impropriety on the elected public official’s part and suddenly it becomes the vulturous tendencies of the media that are to blame, they sniff. Never mind what came before.

But that is another topic.

“I am in the office, have rolled up my sleeves and am working on behalf of the people of the State of Ohio. Hope all of you will do the same,” Dann wrote in an e-mail sent to his staff Monday. The memo was in response to Gov. Ted Strickland’s request he resign or be impeached.

 He’s just now rolling up his sleeves and working? What was the former minister doing before?

He sat in the Bellefontaine Examiner office last year before a scheduled local appearance and told my colleague that his staff still was learning and having problems with making mistakes sorting through and making judgments about Ohio’s Sunshine Laws, the basis of open local government.

Well, maybe the knowledge didn’t come because they didn’t have their sleeves rolled up far enough just like their leader. Maybe they were having too many staff mixers at party central. Maybe there was too much text messaging and “wink-winking.” Maybe there was too much elbow jabbing in the elevators about what happened the night before and with whom. You know, boys will be boys and all that, wink-wink, and this really is work just for boys, but we sure do like having girls around to be boys with, don’t we? Cheers!

His office is where Ohioans go to have things sorted out to determine if there’s been any wrongdoing out in the trenches.

Who watches the watchdog?

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