John Kasich ran for governor as a fiscal conservative. He promised to cut government spending at every level. Unfortunately, this seems to be his plan for the rest of the government while those closest to him are going to get big pay raises on our dime.

This morning I obtained a copy of the proposed salaries for Kasich’s staff and, compared to the equivalent Strickland staffers, salaries are going WAY up in the Governor’s office.

Strickland’s Communications Director Keith Dailey, for example, currently makes $89,003. While Kasich’s Scott Milburn is getting a bump to $120,000.

Press Secretary Amanda Wurst currently makes $69,992. Rob Nichols will get $90,000.00.

But the big boost is for Chief of Staff.

Strickland’s Chief of Staff John Haseley makes $122,990/year but Kasich’s incoming Chief of Staff Beth Hansen is going to receive $170,000. This is more money than every cabinet member but 3, more than the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, more than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, Speaker and Senate President!

And while John Keeling doesn’t appear to be on the list yet (it’s still very incomplete), Jai Chabria is.

For his long-time friend and the second half of his two man office at Lehman, John Kasich made up a brand new position: Special Assistant to the Governor. And a brand new salary as well: $145,000.

The Governor himself only makes $141,708!

Expect a more detailed analysis of these numbers over the next few days. But don’t expect the result to be any different.

Governor Strickland succeeded at doing everything the Republicans always promise to do. He cut government spending, lowered taxes and reduced the size of government. He paid for his own healthcare and he kept his staff salaries low. He led by example.

John Kasich is obviously taking a different path: paying his own staff big bucks – even making up new, high-paid positions for his friends – and fiscal conservatives should take note.

It’s definitely a new day and a new way in the Governor’s office. But I find it difficult to believe that this is the type of behavior people expected from the maverick John Kasich when he promised to bring fiscal responsibility to state government.

And here’s a copy of the document we were provide in response to a public records request for the Office of Budget & Management:
Draft Budget Kasich