AG should abide by his standards

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Earlier this year Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner sent out information about Ohio’s open meetings and open records laws to educate the public about the kind of access it has to government documents and proceedings.

She might want to send a packet over to the attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Marc Dann has refused to release e-mails between him and his former scheduler, Jessica Utovich, between September and November of last year.

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Dann’s office has indicated the request — made by The Columbus Dispatch — was too broad. The office has asked the newspaper to narrow its request “so that the responsive public records can be processed.”


In the background of this issue is the fact two staff members in Dann’s office have filed sexual harassment complaints against Dann’s director of general services, Anthony Gutierrez.

In one of the written complaints, an employee reported seeing Utovich, 28, in Dann’s condominium at night wearing pajamas or sweat pants.

Utovich has since been reassigned and makes about $10,000 more a year than when she was hired in early 2007.

Dann runs the risk of coming across as disingenuous considering one of his first acts in office was to take a strong approach toward openness in his office.

He publicly embraced open government and ordered his staff to retain e-mail messages for 180 days.

“Good government is open government, and we cannot be responsive to citizen requests for information if the information is routinely destroyed, including electronic communication such as e-mails,” Dann said back then.

The public was certainly glad to know that the attorney general of the state was taking the appropriate approach.

It’s too bad now that he is not holding himself to the standard that he set.