By Arthur Kane | Watchdog.org
Oklahoma Department of Transportation employees are supposed to keep the roads safe and clear, but some also used state time and resources to send out potentially offensive emails that referred to the president as an “Ass hole” and mocked overweight people.
Watchdog.org obtained the emails as part of a 10,000-page open records request response for a story on employee complaints about the state’s compressed natural gas fleet. Despite mentioning trucks, the inappropriate emails were not relevant to any work-related activity, according to ODOT spokesman Cody Boyd.
INAPPROPRIATE EMAIL: An Oklahoma state employee sent out this picture with a joke email that the agency spokesman said violated state policy. (Photo modified to protect woman’s identity.)
“The e-mails in question are in conflict with the agency’s e-mail policy, as they are an inappropriate use of state time and resources,” he wrote in an email statement. “ODOT has been working and is working on improving the e-mail policy and educating employees about it.”
One email in April 2012 from one ODOT employee to another joked about a new truck’s voice-controlled stereo that would bring up a Willie Nelson or Ray Charles song whenever the driver said the singer’s name. But when the driver yelled “Ass hole” at other motorists who had just cut him off, the voice on the radio played: “Ladies and gentlemen, The President of The United States.”
“Damn I love this truck….,” the joke ended.
In 2014, a different ODOT employee sent a joke to an outside account about an overweight woman throwing off her clothes and telling the narrator to take anything he wants. The narrator takes her truck. “Bubba, yore a smart man! Them clothes woulda never fit you!” the joke ends.
Attached to the email was this picture. Both jokes appeared in several other ODOT accounts, but apparently those were sent from the outside so it’s not clear if the state employees sanctioned the email or someone sent the email without the employees’ knowledge or consent.
There was also a joke in state email accounts that talked about a “carload of bearded, young, loud Muslims, shouting anti-American slogans, with a half- burned American Flag duct taped on the trunk of their car and a ‘Remember 9-11 slogan spray painted on the side.’” The car of Muslims pulls into traffic and gets demolished by an 18-wheeler truck, killing everyone inside.
“I sat in my car thinking to myself, ‘Man… that could have been me!’ So today; bright and early, I went out and got a job as a truck driver,” the joke ends.
Boyd wrote that that email came from outside the agency and was not sent by a state employee, but the state directed staff to avoid such future waste of taxpayer-funded work time.
“At the recent employee meetings held statewide, workers were reminded of their responsibility as state employees to use their e-mail accounts in a professional manner,” he wrote in the email.
Watchdog.org sent emails requesting comment to the employees who sent out the questionable email jokes, but they didn’t respond to attempts to contact them.