Kasich decided to take the “Interim” tag off of Ohio Department Jobs and Family Services’ Director Michael Colbert, making him a full-fledged Director, and thus, Kasich’s first African-American Cabinet appointment.
Governor Kasich, of course, insisted that this in no way was a sign of him bowing to political pressure. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Governor said:
“Michael earned his job,” Kasich said. “Michael didn’t get this job because of his race. I’m excited that he happens to be an African-American, but he didn’t get it because of that. He got it because of his experience.”
Kasich added, “Diversity does matter because it does give you a little bit — not a little bit — at times a very different point of view.”
During the Strickland Administration, Colbert was hired in 2008 to serve as the Chief Financial Officer of the agency. He was elevated to “Interim Director” when Douglas Limpkin, Gov. Strickland’s ODJFS Director resigned the day before Kasich’s inauguration to take a job with Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. Kasich kept Colbert on as an Interim Director before finally deciding that he should get the job permanently.
Just last week, when reports surfaced that Gov. Kasich said to an African-American State Senator “I don’t need your people’s help” in finding qualified minorities to serve in the Kasich Administration, Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols said Kasich was referring to Turner’s political party, not race. Clearly, Kasich did need the assistance of Turner’s party because Colbert is a holdover of the prior Democratic Administration.
Up until now, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols had pointed refused to comment as to whether the Administration intended on making Colbert’s appointment more than interim. If this wasn’t the Administration bowing to political pressure, but the Administration recognized that Colbert was always the best person for the job, why did it take them a month to decide to drop the “Interim” tag from his title?
I guess all it took was one parody song on WNCI…. who knew?