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Letter says Kitzhaber official fired after Hayes criticism

SALEM — Gov. John Kitzhaber's office has released public records confirming that he fired his then-communications director after she criticized the governor's fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, at a staff meeting.

The criticism of Hayes was one of several reasons cited for the dismissal in July of Nkenge Harmon Johnson, who had been Kitzhaber's chief spokeswoman for six months.

In a letter to Harmon Johnson, Chief of Staff Mike Bonetto also says she failed to create a communications plan and did not develop relationships with the press. He says her departure was "in the best interests of the Governor's Office."

Harmon Johnson said in November that she was fired because she offended Hayes. The governor's office blamed performance issues.