Records show extent of Taylor aide’s work

From The Columbus Dispatch The former chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor did more than tend to her boss’s political future on state time, new records obtained by The Dispatch show.

Laura Johnson says she spent the better part of a day, with help from the governor’s office, addressing a “public-relations issue” involving a construction company run by Taylor’s husband, Don.

She was given the task of booking Taylor’s political appearances and lining up speakers to tell positive stories about Gov. John Kasich — although full details cannot be ascertained because the office of Inspector General Randall J. Meyer, who used to work for Taylor, blacked out several sections.

Johnson also says she was assigned to find a job for Taylor’s neighbor.

Taylor, who lives in Green in Summit County, says she has no recollection of such a request.

On the political tasks, the lieutenant governor presumed that Johnson was working on her own time, a spokeswoman says.

The offices of Kasich and Taylor say they became involved in the matter with Welty Building Co. — whose president and CEO is Don Taylor — because of false allegations leveled against the Department of Insurance, which Taylor directs.

The new details come from a memorandum prepared by Johnson’s lawyer as he attempted to account for work Johnson performed on days when investigators were questioning the hours she actually had worked.

An inspector general’s report found that Johnson, who resigned in mid-2014, likely pocketed pay for hundreds of hours — including while commuting and getting her hair and nails done — during which she performed no work. Meyer concluded that Taylor failed to properly supervise her staff, including a former administrative assistant also accused of falsifying time sheets to claim pay for hours not worked.

After the report was released, a Dispatch analysis of Meyer’s records found that Johnson also apparently spent dozens of hours of state time on meetings and telephone calls on behalf of the successful 2014 re-election campaign of Kasich and Taylor.

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