Prosecute official who sought payment

What should happen to Stuart Davis, the chief information officer at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services?

Simple: If he did what the state inspector general alleges, he should be fired, then prosecuted.

In his position, Davis makes many decisions on what technologies state government will use and where equipment, software, services, etc., will be purchased.

Among companies with which Davis has approved state contracts is CGI Technologies and Solutions. CGI is a big firm with locations worldwide.

In 2013, CGI officials were planning a corporate event in Cincinnati. According to the inspector general, Davis solicited a $37,000 speaking fee from the company. He denies that.

If he is lying — and that should be determined reasonably soon — Davis was guilty of classic pay-to-play behavior, otherwise known as “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” The clear implication of requesting such a large speaking fee is that if it is approved, CGI would receive favorable consideration for state contracts in the future. CGI itself, it should be noted, has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

If Davis did seek the payment, he ought to be prosecuted. Merely firing someone who abuses the public’s trust is not enough. Sending those who do so to jail for a few years sends an important message to other miscreants.

It is that Ohioans will not tolerate such crimes, no matter how common they may have been in the past. If you try to use a government job to enrich yourself illegally, you will be caught — and punished severely.