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As Outsourcing Scandal Develops, Strickland Cleans House



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Gov. Ted Strickland is moving to contain the damage from his Development Office’s use of an offshore call-center. Details from the Columbus Dispatch:

A division director was forced to resign and a second Department of Development staffer was placed on a three-day suspension today in the wake of a controversy involving the state outsourcing call-center work to El Salvador.

In March the state gave a federal stimulus-funded $11 million appliance-rebate program contract to Texas-based Parago Inc., which used hundreds of workers in El Salvador to process applications and answer customers’ calls. The Development Department recommended Parago after evaluating nine bids, including two from companies in Columbus.

When the contract was made public, Lisa Patt-McDaniel, director of the Ohio Department of Development, said Parago never told state officials it would use an offshore call center.

But today, Patt-McDaniel said she has since come across new information regarding what was known, and when. The information led Nadeane Howard, director of the Ohio Energy Resources Division, to resign today.[...]

On Monday, Gov. Ted Strickland issued an executive order banning the outsourcing of services paid for with state dollars.

Strickland said the state does have procedures in place to restrict the purchase of offshore services, but the Parago incident “has caused me to redouble my commitment to ensure that public funds are not expended for offshore services.”

The order says no executive cabinet agency, board or commission shall enter into any contract that uses funds it controls to purchase outsourced services.



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