March 4, 2009
Neal Wagner -
A Columbus city official will return to work March 26 after he serves a 15-day suspension without pay handed down during a Tuesday night City Council meeting.
David Armstrong, who has been the city''s chief operating officer for more than two years, was suspended, retroactively, Tuesday for violating the city''s computer ordinance by using city computers to converse with people he met on Internet dating sites, like Yahoo Personals.
The motion to suspend Armstrong, introduced by Columbus Mayor Robert Smith, and unanimously approved by the council, came after a more than one-hour executive session. During the executive session, the council heard from Smith, Armstrong and Matt Manley, the city''s information technology director.
"It was just a violation of the personnel handbook," said Ward 2 Councilwoman Susan Mackay. "He was found to have violated the city''s Internet ordinances."
Armstrong was found to be in violation of the code Feb. 26.
"I think the suspension technically began half a day into last Thursday," Ward 5 Councilman Jay Jordan said, noting city offices are closed on Fridays. "So that gave him two and a half days of credit prior to last night''s meeting."
Although Armstrong will not be paid for more than two weeks, council members said they do not expect the COO to resign or seek another position.
"After the motion was passed last night, he accepted it," Jordan said. "He said last night that he''s planning on staying here and doing a better job in the future."
Armstrong this morning declined to comment on the matter.