Republican nominee Mark Costello this week charged Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields with politicizing the Labor Department by making employment decisions based on partisanship.
In a televised interview on OETA’s Oklahoma Forum, Fields denied that a former employee forced from her job was partisan harassment while acknowledging he obtains knowledge of the political affiliation of prospective employees.
In May 2009, Fields settled a federal lawsuit for $200,000 when the judge ruled that a former Fields campaign worker Marcus Hayes testimony would be permitted. In a deposition Hayes stated that Fields and Mannix Barnes (then Fields Campaign Manager and now Chief of Staff) talked "of getting rid of the people … loyal to Reneau because … ‘we can’t trust them.’"
In the OETA program, Fields denied engaging in partisanship at the Labor Department stating, "It’s not true."
Costello responded, "It is true. It cost the taxpayers $200,000 to settle your lawsuit of political harassment."
Fields stated, "Actually, I’ve hired more of the other party, than what I’m, party I’m in."
According to Costello, "This is clearly an admission by Commissioner Fields that he continues to use party affiliation in the hiring process. This is wrong and could lead to more lawsuits if he does not discontinue such bad behavior."
Costello pledged to run the agency in a non-partisan manner where "competence" and "productivity" is the measure of employment, not political affiliation.
"Fields refuses to accept responsibility for his bad behavior. He has already cost Oklahoma taxpayers $200,000 for politically harassing a career female employee of the Department of Labor and now he wants the citizens of Oklahoma to award him with another term in office. I promise that I will end the partisanship at the Labor Department, " stated Costello.
A copy of the warrant issued by the state in the unlawful employment practices of Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields is available at http://www.markcostelloforlabor.com/lloyd-fields/200-000-settlement/
This is not the first time Lloyd Fields has been proven untruthful. Tulsa Today published the story "Guitar stealing politican?" in February 2008, Click here to read that story.