In January, Governor-elect Kasich will hold his right hand and solemnly swear to faithful execute the laws of Ohio.   But according to Kasich that only applies until then!

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Kasich has now admitted that people can view the resumes of people who apply to work for his Administration, but only once he actually takes office.  It goes downhill from there, I’ll warn you:

But Kasich told reporters today that although he plans to keep applicants private through the transition, he has been told by his legal counsel that the information will become public record when he takes office Jan. 10.

"Ultimately, I’m going to lose this battle," Kasich said.

Kasich said today he isn’t required to release the names now because his transition committee, which is accepting the resumes, is a private entity.

“I’m mystified at this,” he said. “Frankly, I’m shocked. Maybe the people that demand all this openness ought to think about the way they want their kids treated. Do they want their kids to be jeopardized because they’re trying to improve themselves and look for another job. This is another example of where we don’t have common sense; the tail wags the dog.”

What is missing in this is if Kasich has such a problem with transparency in something as fundamental as who applies and gets hired in his Administration, then how transparent can we really expect him to make the entity that arises from his JobsOhio plan to privatize Ohio’s economic development efforts.   Remember that Kasich’s campaign insisted that his comments about keeping bonuses secret was only a “joke.”

Maybe in light of today’s story the media should revisit that issue.  Because intentionally seeking out ways to avoid legal mandates for transparency is no laughing matter.

Second, Kasich’s legal team is wrong about his “New Day, New Way, Inc.” private corporate status being a shield from Ohio’s corporate shield laws.  Ohio statutory law creates, as a public entity, the Transitional Committee of the Governor-Elect.  The mere fact that Kasich has “outsourced” some of that committee’s function to a private corporate entity doesn’t suddenly mean that such activities don’t fall under public record laws.  Multiple Ohio courts have recognized that government functions done through private entities fall under Ohio’s public records laws.

Since the legislature has declared that the transitional office of a Governor-elect is a public entity, then it follows that it intends such an entity to be subject to Ohio’s public records laws.  A Governor-elect cannot be permitted to try to use Ohio’s corporation laws to thwart the clear policy intentions of the statutory laws passed by the elected legislature and signed into the law by the elected Governor.

The problem is that such a controversy now only exists until January, presumably, if Kasich is true to his grumbling word.  Will someone still be interested in filing suit to force the issue before then if for no other reason than to create a legal precedent to prevent this kind of legal gamesmanship from occurring in the future?

We’ll wait to see what the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Ohio Newspaper Association says in response.   However, we have had our own conversations about pursuing a legal case on this matter.  What do you think?

As they used to say, stay tuned…

 
  • Shalom Brian,As a magazine executive editor who was ordered by my publisher to fire one of my editors out of hand with no severance and no notice — clear your desk, be out of the building in an hour — because they had dared submit a resume to another publisher, I’m afraid that I’m with Kasich here.I understand your point, but if I know that by applying for a job I put my present job at risk, I’m going to be much less likely to hand over my resume. I’m sure that Kasich wants, according to his personal criteria, the best people he can get and any wall that keeps people from applying hinders him in reaching that goal.B’shalom,Jeff

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  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, that’s the risk you have to accept when you work in the public sector. You have little expectation of privacy. Your salary and benefits are public record as is every sick, personal, and vacation day you take. If you getting written up by your boss, it can be front page news.

    Kasich (and you) may not like it, but it’s the law because the public has a right to know what the pool of applicants was to judge whether political favoritism was a factor. I’ve never seen it really be a problem before, either.

  • Jeff,

    I certainly understand why you might relate and even sympathize with Kasich based on his given reason for keeping this information private but it doesn’t change the fact that the Government is NOT a business and we have transparency and openness rules in place for very good reasons.

    These are public jobs and public money pays their salaries. We have the right to know who is applying for these jobs because knowing who got the job is just as important as knowing who did not.

    What if it turns out that Kasich received the resumes of the most qualified individuals in the state and instead of appointing any of those people he chose much less qualified people who had given the most money to his campaign? Or what if he ignored all of the qualified minority and female candidates and instead appointed a bunch of white legislators who used to work for Taft?

    By the way, I certainly hope that the fired editor ended up working for another publisher that wasn’t such a dick. The appropriate (and seemingly obvious) response, in that case, is to sit down with the employee and determine why they are considering other opportunities not firing them on the spot.

  • Shalom Joseph and Brian,

    It’s been a long time since I reviewed Ohio’s sunshine laws, but doesn’t the law make an exception in the case of employment matters, including hiring?

    What I would really like to see is for Plunderbund to take the imitative and file the suit if Kasich’s lawyers are off base.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

  • I actually wrote up the records request already and we were discussing our legal options but since the Enquirer already threatened a lawsuit and Kasich agreed to release the documents the situation has been sufficiently resolved in my opinion.

    But the point of Modern’s post (and my previous post) is not that he finally agreed to do it but that John Kasich thinks the laws don’t apply to him and he’s pissed off that people are expecting him to follow them.

  • Guest

    This was a rare moment of candor: Remember that Kasich’s campaign insisted that his comments about keeping bonuses secret was only a “joke.”

    He actually told the truth about secret bonuses since he should know about getting paid a secret bonus for stealing from Ohio pensioners for his boss.

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