Back in early December of 2006, less than a month after he was elected Governor, Ted Strickland posted a thorough list of the people who would be assisting him with his transition.

The list was full of qualified individuals, including a Chief Financial Officer and a CEO who were chosen to coordinate the transition effort for the Department of Development.

Given Kasich’s frequently expressed disgust toward transparency and openness it’s not surprising that he hasn’t published a similar list or discussed any details about who is working on the transition teams for each agency.

And if he isn’t going to tell is, I guess we’ll have to figure it out for ourselves.

And there’s not better place to start than the Department of Development.

This is the agency that John Kasich vowed to privatize in one of his earliest campaign policy announcements. His plan was highly critized since it involved moving or eliminating most of the existing positions and replacing experienced ODOD employees with his own appointees who would receive secret salaries and undislosed bonuses.

So obviously we would expect John Kasich to put someone he trusts in charge of this transition; someone who has worked closely with him for a very long time.

That’s just what he did by putting Jai Chabria in charge of the transition team at the Ohio Department of Development.

Jai is exactly the kind of guy you’d expect Kasich to have leading up the transition at an agency he plans to trash. A guy who won’t ask questions. A guy who follows orders. A long-time “friend” who knows how to handle John’s emotional outbursts in stride.

At the end of the day Jai isn’t just a friend of John Kasich. Jai is John Kasich’s sidekick. Jai is John Kasich’s water boy. Jai owes his entire career to our incoming Governor and if John Kasich asks Jai to meet with everyone at the Department of Development and to pretend that he isn’t going to fire them all once Kasich takes office, Jai will do just that – with a big smile on his face.

From the day he left college Jai has worked for and/or with John. After graduating Ohio Wesleyan in 1999, Jai started work with the New Century Project, the so-called “Issues Forum” that John Kasich used to keep his former staffers employed and paid. From there he followed Kasich to Lehman Brothers in 2001 – working as the other member of the “two man office” in Columbus.

And after Lehman’s collapse in 2008 helped turn our economy into the heaping pile of camel crap that we’re currently facing, John Kasich and Jai took their big Lehman bonuses and went over to Schottenstein, where the two of them worked together until this year.

So I’ll come back to where I started: Strickland enlisted the help of a CEO and a CFO to help him lead his transition team for the Department of Development. Kasich hired his sidekick. A sidekick who worked at Lehman Brothers – the company that helped bring about the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Is this REALLY is the guy we want to trust to bring the wisdom of the private sector to our state’s economic development activities?

 

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