Following the revelations that former Speaker, Jeff Hickman, secretly paid out a sexual harassment & wrongful termination claim; the Democrat legislative leaders are publicly calling for the State Auditor's Office to conduct a full audit of the management of the House of Representatives.
The public call came out during a press conference conducted by minority leader, Scott Inman; along with David Perryman(D-Chickasha), and George Young(D-OKC). In his statement, Inman calls for full disclosure of how and why the House leadership secretly paid about $45,000 to a fired legislative assistant and her lawyers.
On it's face, the House records are clearly attempting to foul the people into thinking that a law firm provided cleaning and housekeeping services for the west side of the capitol building. the journal entry simply says; "for housekeeping and cleaning".
A Reform Opportunity?
This may be a great opportunity for the new leadership team in the House. Charles McCall can perhaps insulate his new administration from past administrations by authorizing the audit request. It would shield Speaker McCall from any revelations if it's done before the new legislature oges into session. Any of the Auditor's recommendations can be pondered without being regarded as a rebuke of Speaker McCall. But it would be a distraction as well, and that can be a hindrance to the leadership's 'game plan'.
Minority Leader Inman asked that the new House leader “promptly provide the answers to the following questions” :
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Sooner Politics' own investigation seems to indicate the Speaker Hickman (who officially hires and fires House members' staff) may have seriously messed up the Hollie Bishop case by:
For this series of management failures, Hickman exposed the taxpayers to a significant financial liability. Current employment statutes and House rules should have insured the 28 year old Legislative Assistant that she would not suffer reprisals for reporting bad workplace behavior by her job supervisor, Rep Dan Kirby. She says she was assured of this at the time she filed the harassment report.
It is also evident that Rep. Kirby was informally told of the charged levied against him and who it was coming from. Kirby does not refute the claim that he failed to communicate with his aide for months and made it impossible for her to successfully complete her scheduling & correspondence duties for the legislator.
One veteran political figure said (off the record); "You NEVER fire a person for making a sexual harassment claim. Any business leader ought to know that!"
Patrick McGuigan of CapitolBeatOK contributed research to this report. His coverage is posted at CapitolBeatOK.com.