If former Joplin Globe Editor Edgar Simpson was looking for a new job with plenty of challenges when he left Missouri to take a post as chief of staff to newly-elected Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, he should be a happy man.
As reported in the May 4 Turner Report, Simpson had to deal with Dann's decision to buy a $40,000 SUV for the attorney general's office from a campaign contributor, when he could have bought one through the state's purchasing system for slightly less than $26,000.
An article in today's edition of the Warren Tribune-Chronicle, the paper Simpson once served as editor, reveals Dann's driver has been fired after a conviction surfaced during a national background check:
Ed Simpson, chief of policy and administration, said the Attorney General's Office now plans to "institute a new policy of using national background checks for all new hires."
The more extensive searches will apply to all employees hired after Dann took office on Jan. 8, according to a statement released Wednesday evening.
"Marc’s administration is committed to the highest level of integrity. The purpose of the background checks is to reveal potential problems. The system works, and we have taken appropriate action," Simpson wrote.
Interestingly, the attorney general's office pointedly refused to reveal any information about the driver's conviction. The Tribune-Chronicle has filed a freedom of information request. Edgar Simpson, the editor, would be proud.
Update, June 1- The driver had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, according to an article in the Youngstown Vindicator:
Records obtained Thursday by The Vindicator from the Mercer County Clerk of Courts show that Nelson, then 25, was arrested Sept. 6, 1975, on felony charges of criminal homicide and voluntary manslaughter.
The charges were related to the death of John M. Smith, 25, of West Middlesex, Pa., in the home of a Greenville, Pa., woman.
A Pennsylvania State Police report states Smith died of a gunshot wound to his neck. The woman told police in 1975 that Nelson was angry and forced his way into her home through a window. Police say when they arrived, Nelson had blood on his hands.
Nelson agreed to a plea bargain March 5, 1976, and was convicted of a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to serve 11 1/2 months to 23 months. Nelson spent March 5, 1976, to June 28, 1976, at the Mercer County Jail. He was then transferred to a halfway house in Sharon, staying there until Dec. 15, 1976.