There few things treated as public records for JobsOhio except that which the Kasich Administration’s JobsOhio corporation and his Department of Development agree by contract

The bill explicitly exempts JobsOhio from public records laws by, again, exempting it from the definition of “public agency” in R.C. 149.43.  It later says that the following documents will be public records:

  • The corporation’s federal (but not State?) tax returns;
  • A report of expenditures of who JobsOhio wined and dined the following year;
  •  Infallible audits A copy of its “independently” done audit;
  • A self-analysis of how Ohio’s economy is doing;
  • An annual description of the corporation’s strategy to improve the economy and their self-created metrics to measure their progress;
  • A self-evaluation of their own performance;
  • Changes in Ohio’s statutory and regulatory laws they’d like to see to remove barriers to economic development, etc.
  • Any other records including minutes in which the JobsOhio board deals with conflicts of interest issues in non-public meetings are not public records unless the contract the Ohio Department of Development and JobsOhio’s CIO agree to make them by contract.(R.C. 187.03(E)).
  • Annual filing of fully executed incentive proposals;
  • Annual report of JobsOhio’s records monitoring commitments made by incentive recipients.

Beyond that, the only things that will be public record are documents that the Ohio Department of Development and agree JobsOhio by contract to make public record.  Who at that bargaining table do you trust to protect the public’s right to know?  Trick question.  It’ll be the same person at both sides of the negotiating table, Ohio Development Director Mark Kvamme. This marks the first time in Ohio history that the public’s right to know has been left to the vagaries of a future private contract.

Notice something else.  Last week, NPR Statehouse Correspondent Jo Ingles asked Kasich given that the economy is already improving, how would be able to tell that JobsOhio is working?  Kasich didn’t have a coherent answer.

Look at that list again.  Notice, the only documents that we’ll ever get to see are ones where the agency succeeds.  The only negative information we’ll ever get from the agency is when job creation commitments fail to materialize as promised and when the corporation gives itself a failing grade on the metrics it sets for itself.  How often do you think that happens?

If a company leaves, we may not even know if JobsOhio was involved.

So we actually have the General Assembly abdicating its role in setting public policy on transparency and public records and leaving it up to… John Kasich to set by private contract in which he controls all the parties?

Seriously, how much more transparent do you think that contract is going to make this thing given the same people were the ones who got the General Assembly to exempt it entirely from the public records laws in the first place?

 

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