Ohio agency head accused of snooping on Joe the Plumber put on paid leave

The trigger was pulled late Friday afternoon to minimize publicity, but we’ll take it any way we can get it.

Good lord. Is justice actually going to be done here?

Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and former head of that department in Montgomery County, has been placed on paid administrative leave by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Strickland said on Friday, Nov. 7, that he took the action “due to the possibility, as yet unconfirmed, that a state computer or state e-mail account was used to assist in political fund raising.”

“I have asked Inspector General Tom Charles to include this matter in his current, ongoing investigation,” Strickland said in a press release.

Is it S.O.P. for a governor to undermine an agency head he himself appointed by suspending them before an investigation’s been finished? If he’s moving this early to put out the blaze, he must be feeling pretty sure that where’s there smoke, there’s fire. Or, maybe, he suddenly figured out that this is now a national news story and he’d better make a move to turn down the heat.

The Dispatch, bless its heart, has filed a request demanding any and all e-mails sent by Jones-Kelley that reference Barack Obama and is being told they’ll have them shortly, so look forward to the last missing piece of the puzzle dropping sometime next week. Exit question: Should JTP still sue? He’s finally paid off his tax lien so it’s not like he needs the cash anymore.