IG report critial of Lt. Gov. Fisher

Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher has been under fire about how he handled a payroll scandal at the Department of Development. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman’s wife, Frankie Coleman, was hired in February for a mid-level managerial position at the department. Mrs. Coleman’s work attendance was questioned following a co-worker’s allegations the mayor’s wife was not working full days.

“Did I make a mistake? You bet I did,” Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher said at a news conference.

Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher said had he known about the severity of Frankie Coleman’s prior work attendance and current alcohol problems he would not have hired her for a position at the Department of Development.

The Inspector General’s report said Fisher and other DOD officials “ignored or were oblivious” to Mrs. Coleman’s personal problems. The IG said Fisher ignored red flags about Mrs. Coleman’s absenteeism and alcohol abuse. The report also said Fisher did not act quickly enough when the information was relayed to him.

But Fisher said he acted as expeditiously as possible.

“Literally within days of learning about the unsubstantiated, anonymous rumors I directly addressed the issue, I did not ignore the issue. I met with Frankie Coleman. And immediately put in place prospective procedures,” Fisher said.

Fisher said managers were asked to pull Mrs. Coleman’s parking records to see when she was coming and going from the office. But the records were not pulled for weeks. The lieutenant governor said he takes responsibility for the records not being reviewed earlier. Fisher said he thinks Mrs. Coleman’s alcohol problems affected her attendance record.

The mayor said his wife is currently undergoing in-patient alcohol treatment.

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