Police put 2nd Oklahoma City worker on leave

BRYAN DEAN Modified: August 26, 2009 at 6:22 am •  Published: August 26, 2009
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A second Oklahoma City employee has been placed on administrative leave as city officials continue to investigate the management of grant funds in the Weed and Seed program.

City officials refused to release the second employee’s name.

Weed and Seed is a federal program allowing cities to get grant money to increase police enforcement in high crime areas and offer social programs to build up the neighborhoods in those areas.

The city’s Weed and Seed program recently was moved from the now-dissolved neighborhood services department to the police department. Police officials said they found potential problems with management of the grants as they began reviewing the program.

On Monday, city officials said the director of the program, Ed Martin, was suspended with pay. They backtracked Tuesday, saying Martin was placed on administrative leave and not suspended.

Expert criticizes city’s logic
The state Open Records Act requires local governments to release disciplinary action resulting in suspension, but city officials said administrative leave is not a suspension.

"This is not any disciplinary action, let alone a final disciplinary action,” Personnel Director Dianna Berry said.

Joey Senat, an Oklahoma State University journalism professor and open government expert, said the public has a right to know when government employees are disciplined, regardless of what public officials want to call it.