After the State Senate broke from long-held bipartisan precedent and instead rejected, wholesale, nearly 80 Strickland appointments for no other reason that seemingly to clear the decks for Kasich, Strickland made a second round of appointments before the last Senate adjourned. Today, the State Senate of the new General Assembly wholesale rejected those nominees claiming that there were made after the State Senate adjourned and thus subject to the Senate’s confirmation vote under the Ohio Constitution.
Today, the State Senate rejected Strickland’s replacement appointments for several boards and commissions, including the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Ohio Board of Education. The Executive Director of the Ethics Commission resigned before Strickland left office, and thanks to the State Senate’s actions, we’re told that the Ethics Commission lacks the necessary quorum to appoint a new Director. Therefore, an interim director is serving until Kasich makes the appointments necessary for the Commission to have the sufficient membership to function again.
This is another disappointing example of partisan politics in the Ohio Senate,” said Senate Minority Leader Capri S. Cafaro (D-Hubbard). “Many of the appointees have already proven themselves to be outstanding public servants. It’s a shame they will not be able to continue their service to this state.”
Former Governor Strickland made the 14 appointments after the Senate majority took the unprecedented action of rejecting 78 appointees in December without regard to qualifications or experience. Three of the latest appointees—Robert Boggs, Rhine McLin and Kimberly Zurz—have previously served with distinction in the Ohio Senate as well as other positions in state and local government.
“It is time for the Senate to re-examine the confirmation process so all appointees are treated fairly,” said Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland). “What the Senate did today was tell Ohioans they need not apply for public service if they are appointed by a governor affiliated with the wrong political party.”
“Today’s vote by the Senate majority raises serious constitutional questions,” said Senator Eric H. Kearney (D-Cincinnati). “I am also concerned that outstanding people were rejected without the opportunity to properly evaluate their qualifications.”
The Senate Democratic caucus also exercised their constitutional rights as members of the legislature to file their formal protest noting for the record that they believed the Senate Republican majority’s act was unconstitutional:
“We believe that pursuant to Article III, Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution, that the Senate has already consented to the confirmations of the 14 appointees to various boards and commissions by failing to act before the 128th General Assembly adjourned sine die.”
For those keeping score, that puts the number of political appointments by Strickland killed for purely partisan reasons to benefit Kasich at nearly 100. And the number of people Kasich has named to serve instead stands at:
Ohio was supposed to have a fully functional Ohio Casino Commission establishing the necessary regulations to get the casino construction started and regulating the licensing and practices of this new, constitutionally protected industry.
But thanks to the partisan acts of the Senate Republicans, and the lack of action by Governor Kasich, there is no Ohio Casino Commission yet.