Armond Budish Places Two Employees Mentioned in Corruption Investigation Subpoenas on Administrative Leave

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click to enlarge Armond Budish Places Two Employees Mentioned in Corruption Investigation Subpoenas on Administrative Leave
County executive Armond Budish announced today that he's placed Scot Rourke and Emily McNeeley on administrative leave. Both employees were specifically mentioned in one of the two subpoenas Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office public corruption investigators served on his administration in recent weeks.

McNeeley, who works in the county's information technologies department, is married to Lisa McNeeley, who works in a department dealing with government contracts at Hyland. Contracts, communications and documents relating to Hyland, as well as OneCommunity and OneCleveland, were mentioned in the subpoenas, in addition to her communication with Hyland employees. McNeeley twice sought clarification from the county's Inspector General on her role in county business dealing with Hyland given her spouse's employment. (Both have deleted their Facebook accounts since the news broke.)

Rourke had also sought rulings from the IG on county business he was involved in, but the statement, in full below, doesn't contain specifics.

“As the Cuyahoga County Executive, I take my oath of office very seriously, and will not tolerate any breach of the public trust. My administration and I are fully committed to discovering any wrongdoing by any county employee and will be fully assisting the investigation being conducted by our County Prosecutor in every way possible.

To that end, my office will be taking multiple actions to ensure that the integrity of all documents sought by the prosecutor is maintained. First, my office will be immediately hiring an independent forensic investigator to make sure that all information sought in this investigation is fully secured and provided promptly to the prosecutor.

Second, I have made the difficult decision to place Scot Rourke and Emily McNeeley on administrative leave. To be clear, both had previously consulted with the Inspector General, and my administration is not aware of any wrongdoing by these two members of our staff. But, we are taking all precautions available to make sure that the integrity of the investigation and the documents sought by the prosecutor are maintained.

Further, we recognize that our County has been operating under different sets of rules for different employees. That stops now. I will be immediately requesting that County Council eliminate all special compensation “perks” from the proposed personnel handbook. Further, we will be immediately requiring all employees to fill out hourly timesheets exclusively through the MyHR system, and we will be submitting to Council a policy concerning training and education programs that applies to all county employees. Moving forward, I am instructing Earl Leiken, when he becomes new Chief of Staff, to review all county policies to ensure that they are being applied evenly and fairly for all our employees.

I want to make it perfectly clear that none of these steps should be viewed as a criticism of Chief of Staff Sharon Sobol Jordan. She is a person of high integrity and worked very hard to lead this county to great new achievements.

Finally, I want to make it crystal clear: nothing is more important than maintaining the public trust between our residents and the County Government. We will treat each of our employees equitably and fairly, and we expect nothing less than the highest standards of ethical conduct. These steps outlined today are designed to ensure that there is no question about the policies, procedures, or conduct of our County Government or its employees.”

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