In a posting earlier today I linked to Dennis Mansfield's blog in which he called for Senate GOP Caucus Chairman John McGee to resign, saying McGee's handling of a Senate personnel matter was hypocritical.
My colleague, Kevin Richert, also posted about Mansfield's view. (Sometimes we inadvertently post on the same topic; this was my mistake).
Mansfield wrote Sunday, "I was told today by two very reputable sources that John McGee as a part of GOP Senate Leadership last year agreed to fire a key administrative secretary in the Idaho State Senate because she had been arrested on a DUI."
Added Mansfield: "Senator McGee joined with GOP Leadership when they apparently announced to the Senate and others that this young secretary's firing had been brought about because of 'behavior unbecoming the Idaho State Senate.'
That point alone tips the scales for me."
McGee, of Caldwell, famously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DUI in July, in exchange for prosecutors dropping a felony grand theft charge.
Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said Monday that there was no announcement made to the Senate or the GOP caucus. Hill said the former employee was not fired. Hill said she decided to leave the Senate in mid-February.
The former employee, who had a DUI in 2007, has pleaded not guilty to felony DUI in connection with her February arrest. She faces a jury trial in January, which also includes a charge of misdemeanor injury to a child. The woman's daughter was traveling with her when she was stopped shortly before 8 a.m. Feb. 14 on I-84 east of Boise.
In April, the woman was again arrested for DUI and pleaded guilty to that charge, a second DUI for which she was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
Said Hill, "She was not fired. Beyond that I cannot disclose anything. There was a lot more to it than just one DUI."
The woman told me that she decided not to return to her $14-an-hour job after meeting with Hill. She said Hill told her that she would not be considered for a possible promotion. The woman asked not to be named and the Statesman is not naming her because she is no longer a public official.
After McGee's arrest in June, Assistant Senate GOP Leader Chuck Winder of Eagle raised the issue of whether the woman was treated more harshly by the Senate than McGee. GOP lawmakers have stood by McGee, who remains in the No. 4 leadership post.
But Winder said that after speaking with Hill, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis and then-Secretary of the Senate Jeannine Wood, he determined, "The cases are entirely different. I was satisfied."
Mansfield stood by his posting: "I think the two cases are close enough that it is a legitimate comparison. She showed a heck of a lot more character than what John (McGee) has done by not resigning."
Mansfield declined to name his sources, but said one of them is a senator and one is a regular contributor to Republican candidates.
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