Yesterday, Governor-elect John Kasich defended setting starting salaries for several close aides higher than their Strickland Administration counterparts by saying this:

"We’re fortunate that we’re getting a lot of good people to come in," he said. "Salary is an issue. There’s a lady standing in the back of the room who’s had two very good offers in the private sector who we would like to have come and work for us. I don’t know that we’ll get her. So what we’re trying to do is call people to service."

The only problem is that the people Kasich is paying these ridiculous salaries aren’t coming from the private sector.  They’re people who were already part of Team Kasich and have a history of public service that suggest they have little interest in serving in the private sector.

Kasich Chief-of-Staff Beth Hansen.

Beth Hansen is projected to get a starting salary of $170,000.  Before that, Ms. Hansen was the campaign manager for Kasich-Taylor in which, according to campaign finance records filed with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, she was paid a little over $159,000.00 for the year, and that amount includes a post-election bonus of $50,000.

Before serving as Kasich’s campaign manager, Hansen was the State Director for the Office of U.S. Senator George Voinovich.  According to Legistorm, Hansen was paid an annual salary of nearly $153,000.  Before that, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives.  With the exception of political campaigns, I don’t know if Beth Hansen has ever worked in the private sector.

If Kasich had lost, there’s little question that Hansen would have likely landed a similar gig with freshman Senator Rob Portman, not gone to the private sector.

Scott Milburn, Communication Director

Scott Milburn has hopped from one government/political job to the next that you’d almost think he’s allergic to the private sector.  He’s worked for Congressman Frank Cremeans, Congressman Hobson, Governor Bob Taft, U.S. Senator George Voinovich, and the White House OBM during Portman’s tenure.  His wife Stephanie is the Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

In 2004, the last full year he worked for Voinovich, he was paid a little over $110,000. So, he’s still getting a raise for the same job with Governor Kasich… which has the same job responsibilities as Keith Daily who is paid $89,000 in the Strickland Administration.

If Scott Milburn had to go the private sector, he’d develop a rash.

Rob Nichols, Press Secretary

According the campaign’s campaign finance reports, Nichols was paid $54,000 last year to be the press secretary for the campaign.   But Kasich says he needs to be paid $90,000 to prevent him from suddenly going to private sector, even though the State’s current press secretary makes less than $70,000.

Jai Chabria, Special Assistant to the Governor

Chabria is the worst of them all.  Yes, he has private sector experience, but only because he left Kasich’s congressional office with Kasich to go to Lehman Brothers.  Does anyone honestly think that unless Jai Chabria was paid more money than the Governor will be paid, he’d finally leave Kasich’s side and bolt to the private sector?  Really, Kasich?  This isn’t about favoritism, but suddenly your long-time aides have grown so tired of you taxpayers have to pay a premium just so you can keep them?  THAT’s your story?!

Ben Kanzeg, Deputy Policy Director

Ben Kanzeg is an old Kasich hand.  Kanzeg was an aide to Congressman Kasich in the 1990s, and even served as his campaign treasurer.  When Kasich decided to leave Congress and go to Lehman Brothers, Kasich dumped half a million dollars into a new non-profit organization he founded called “New Century,” which, of course employed ex-staffers of Kasich such as Kanzeg at roughly $75,000 a year doing apparently nothing more than biding their time until Kasich ran for office again.

The Dayton Daily News was the first to pick up on the story at the great lengths Kasich aides like Kanzeg went to avoid the real private sector.

And yet, we’re told that taxpayers need to pay Kanzeg $115,000 (only $5,000 less than the Policy Director, his boss, makes) or we might lose his talents to the private sector.

Matt Carle, Legislative Liason

(Source: Right Ohio)

No, we don’t know what those things are in his hand are either, but we’re sure it means he has a serious misunderstanding of what “bicameral legislature” means.

Former campaigner manager for Mike DeWine for Senate in 2006, campaign manager for Voinovich for Senate, former campaign manager for Betty Montgomery for Auditor Campaign, former Ohio Attorney General employee (under Betty Montgomery), and former Executive Director of the 1998 Betty Montgomery for Attorney General campaign….

Here’s a guy that John Kasich says we must pay a six-figure salary or else we might lose him to the private sector.

Except that we already know that he was willing to accept much less in the last pubic sector position he “applied” for:


You see, Carle was on the ballot this past November, and lost to Democratic incumbent Nancy Garland.  A State Representative is paid a little under $64,590 a year.  Matt Carle is now going to be paid $100,000 a year to be the Governor’s liaison to the very body the voters of Ohio just rejected Carle.

But beyond that there is the question of utility.  Does Lt. Governor Mary Taylor truly need to pay her chief-of-staff 50% more than what Lt. Governor Lee Fisher’s chief-of-staff gets paid ($120k to $80k)?

Any close examination of who is getting these inflated salaries and their history with Kasich would indicate that Kasich’s claims these salaries are necessary to attract them to work for the State is purely spin.

He’s giving inflated salaries to his closest political allies while asking the rest of the State’s public employees to sacrifice their economic well-being.

Pure and simple.