Decisions by Governor, State Legislators Shut Out Public and Further Erodes Ohio’s Integrity

Don’t take the Plain Dealer’s word for it when they write a critical editorial, “Walling off the public from the right to know” about the expansion of topics that our electeds can discuss behind closed doors. Consider how the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has named Ohio Governor John Kasich as one of the “Worst Governor’s In America.”

Why?

In February 2011, Gov. Kasich replaced Ohio’s Department of Development with JobsOhio, a private non-profit exempt from public record laws. Gov. Kasich’s administration resisted efforts by the state auditor to procure JobsOhio’s financial records, leading to a subpoena. JobsOhio ultimately complied, but Gov. Kasich later fast-tracked a bill to strip the state auditor’s authority to examine the records.

You can read about the state legislators who support shielding public dollars from public scrutiny helped the bill race through the Ohio House and Senate here.

And then there’s the Integrity Index which placed Ohio at 40th. Look at Ohio’s placement on matters like public records, open meetings and whistleblower protection. How depressing.

At dinner tonight, my voting-aged son asked me what I could say I’ve accomplished since I’ve been on Pepper Pike City Council. And I can say, unequivocally that our work is more open, accessible and transparent – by far – than when I got on to Council. A culture of “need to know basis” of providing information has been replaced with a default of placing it online as soon as available. Now, I’m always pressing for more but there is unquestionably far greater public access to far more public information than when I ran four years.

Not only can’t our electeds in Columbus say that – many of them specifically vote to decrease that access. The Columbus Dispatch wrote, “A Better Government Association study paints Ohio as a backwater when it comes to government integrity.”

We can do so much better.

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