“The governor always defaults in favor of transparency”

That’s the statement Rob Nichols gave last week in response to a question about the JobOhio bill and it’s complete lack of transparency.

“The governor always defaults in favor of transparency”

I guess Rob thinks he can repeat this enough times and maybe it will magically be true. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Judging by the ever increasing list of attempts by the Kasich administration to avoid transparency, openess and accountability, the exact opposite seems to be true. The Governor always seems to default to secrecy.

I thought this might be a good time to share another story about the lengths to which team Kasich will go in order to avoid transparency. It involves the refusal to release resumes submitted to Kasich’s transition website.

Back in November Kasich’s team hired a friend of Beth Hansen’s named Steve George to review the resumes submitted to Kasich’s transition website. Hansen put George on the state-funded transition payroll.

Two days later Plunderbund reported that the resumes for public jobs were being submitted to a private website. And Kasich’s response was to claim the resumes were not public records since they were being handled by his privately-funding website.

See the problem? Steve George, the guy responsible for reviewing the resumes wasn’t being paid by the private transition committee. He was being paid by the state.

Beth Hansen acted quickly to get George off of the state payroll and back on the private transition payroll so they could keep claiming the resumes were private and didn’t need to be released.

This explains why Steve George is the only person on the transition payroll list that we previously posted who has an end date next to his name. (see below)

Obviously the resumes were eventually released, so you may be asking: why bring this up now?

The answer is simple: it’s not only an interesting, behind-the-scenes look at the Kasich team’s decision making process, but it also shows who is calling the shots (Hansen) and what they are willing to do to avoid complying with even the most basic and obvious transparency requirements.

When Kasich’s team realized that they had made a mistake they didn’t “default in favor of transparency”. They could have easily said: oh shucks, we’re not even in office yet and we’re still working out the kinks, here’s the information you requested. I think most people would have accepted this answer and given them a break.

Instead, they dug in their heels, attacked reporters for doing their jobs and immediately huddled with their lawyers and came up with ways to cover their asses and avoid being transparent.

“The governor always defaults in favor of transparency” my ass.

Here’s a copy of the transition salary list showing Steve George’s start and end dates:

KasichTransitionTeam

And here’s a complete timeline of the events:

  • Nov 15, 2010 Steve George starts working sorting through resumes from John Kasich’s private website while being paid from the state-funded transition fund
  • Nov 17, 2010 Plunderbund reveals that John Kasich is Soliciting for State Jobs on Private Website
  • Nov 18, 2010 Kasich announces that resumes being delivered to his ‘private’ website they are not public records. “Resumes submitted through the site are not subject to public record demands,” Nichols said.
  • Nov 19, 2010 The cincy enquirer’s lawyer points out that these are, in fact, public records…

    John C. Greiner, a Cincinnati attorney representing the Enquirer, said these are public records based on Ohio Supreme Court decisions dating back to the late 1990s.

  • Nov 19, 2010 Kasich’s team realizes that their already weak excuse for not releasing the resumes, namely that they were submitted to a privately funded website, completely falls apart if the guy they hired to review the resumes is being paid by the state’s transition fund. Beth Hansen orders OBM to stop paying Steve George through the publicly-funded transition fund and she puts him back on the private transition payroll.
  • Nov 22, 2010 Enquirer publishes a scathing editorial about Kasich’s lack of transparency, telling the governor point-blank: “You can’t privatize the public’s right to know”
  • Nov 30, 2010 Kasich finally admits he will eventually have to release the resumes, but still claims “he isn’t required to release the names now because his transition committee, which is accepting the resumes, is a private entity.”
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    • Anonymous

      John Kasich is to transparency what Frankenstein is to flaming torches. They’re both generally associated by most people but rarely have the two been seen together and not cause serious trouble.

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