There’s no doubt John Kasich, with the help of Tom Charles, have big plans for the Highway Patrol. It’s likely we’ll see Charles pushing for more funding in order to move the Patrol into more investigative and non-highway-related enforcement roles – more like a state police agency.
Last week John Kasich attempted to take a step in that direction by announcing the Highway Patrol would essentially stop issuing speeding tickets (HT Marc Kovac):
According to John Kasich: “You got some patrolman sneaking in the weeds somewhere getting you going 2 miles an hour over the speed limit. We don’t want that in Ohio.” (I guess he’d rather have them sneaking around the Governor’s residence trying to catch people throwing cigarettes over the fence?) “It is not going to be the job of the highway patrol to collect tickets”
As a matter of fact, that is EXACTLY their job. According to the Ohio Revised Code:
(A) The state highway patrol shall enforce the laws of the state relating to the titling, registration, and licensing of motor vehicles; enforce on all roads and highways … the laws relating to the operation and use of vehicles on the highways; enforce and prevent the violation of the laws relating to the size, weight, and speed of commercial motor vehicles
He also says that the Patrol will still be enforcing drunk driving laws because they are very important to him. As the rest of the sane world knows it’s up to the Legislature to pass the laws and the Patrol to enforce them. Period.
Does John Kasich really think he can tell the Highway Patrol which laws they should and should not be enforcing?
Unfortunately, I think he does. Even worse, he seems to think he can tell the Inspector General what he should be investigating as well.
Now, it’s bad enough that John Kasich picked Mary Taylor’s top employee to be responsible for investigating his administration. But when he made the announcement that Randy Meyer would be Ohio’s next Inspector General, he said something surprisingly similar to his Patrol announcement:
“He has my total confidence,” Kasich said. “He’s not going to be a traffic cop hiding in the bushes.”
The Traffic Cop comparison is a pretty good one for the IG actually. That’s exactly what he’s supposed to be doing. According to the ORC the Inspector General is required to:
(A) Investigate the management and operation of state agencies on his own initiative in order to determine whether wrongful acts and omissions have been committed or are being committed by state officers or state employees;
The IG is not supposed to sit around and wait for the Governor to tell him what to investigate. He’s supposed to get out there in the weeds or the bushes or wherever traffic cops hide these days and find corruption by state officers and employees.
Again, does John Kasich seriously think he can tell the Inspector General what he is and, more importantly IS NOT supposed to be investigating even though it’s the Inspector General’s statutory obligation to take these investigations on himself?
Sometimes I wonder if Kasich is just out-of-touch or completely delusional.