Dave Lange, Editor of the Chagrin Valley Times (Pepper Pike is included in its coverage area), wrote and published this scathing critique, “Government no longer of people,” related to recent behavior by Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich and State Senator Tim Grendell.
The governor-elect, conveniently forgetting that he and his political appointees soon will be employed by the government and paid by the people of Ohio, attempted to keep the selection process of filling jobs in his administration a secret. He was dumbfounded to learn that the resumes submitted by those seeking to work for the state government must be open to their would-be employers, who happen to be the people.
Ignorance of the Ohio Open Records Law being a sad reflection on Mr. Kasich’s preparation for the highest office in the state and contempt for the people’s right to know being a poor excuse, he rationalized, “When a person applies for another job, it doesn’t make their current employer happy.”
Working in the administration of the governor in one of the nation’s largest states isn’t just another job, and it’s hard to imagine those applicants’ bosses holding grudges against them. Furthermore, by what sense of fairness should employers be denied the right to know when their employees are looking elsewhere? And why should employers be surprised by people’s desire for career advancement?
And about Grendell:
The people of the 98th Ohio District, which makes up one-third of Mr. Grendell’s 18th Ohio Senate District, had a right to know when they voted on Nov. 2 that he had no intention of honoring their decision. They could understand him abandoning his Senate seat because of the term limit that would force him out of that office in two years. But he took their trust and played it like a diabolical fiddle. He didn’t steal the election. He stole the democratic process.
And although I made suggestions earlier today for how the Plain Dealer could improve its coverage of the new county council electeds’ behaviors, I certainly believe that Lange could expand the list of examples by including one or more of them in his column re: their interpretation of open meetings law and transparency.
Again, I go to what Ed Fitzgerald said here as being the crux of the problem – all over, not just in newly formed political bodies or in newly elected officials:
“Experience is good, but if you have experience with an old system where you were able to get away with certain stuff, you have to make sure that you don’t bring that baggage into the new system. It’s going to take a while for people to get used to that.”
Let’s go beyond that and toss out the baggage from the old system completely – you don’t have to be starting a new system to do that, although you do sometimes need new actors to help the process.