Records recently obtained by Plunderbund from the Department of Administrative Services show that the analyst who worked on February’s SB5 cost savings report expressed serious doubts regarding the methodology and the lack of data used in the analysis.
On February 28th the Kasich administration released a report produced by the Department of Administrative Services showing “State and local governments would have saved an estimated $1.3 billion in 2010 on health insurance and automatic pay increases if the limits imposed by Senate Bill5 were in effect.”
The report was released only to the Dispatch and wasn’t provided to any other news source until Monday. It was strategically timed so that it would come out just a few days before the committee vote on SB5, but with limited release. And the full report was embargoed from release by Dispatch reporters until Monday when the administration made it available to the public. The goal was to prevent an in depth analysis of the report prior to voting SB5 out of committee, but the analysis and findings in the report were still quickly debunked by multiple sources.
Based on a review of emails from Department of Administrative Services employees responsible for producing the report, it appears as though Toledo was the only city who provided data for use in this initial SB5 analysis. (Which makes sense considering Toledo’s mayor is the only big city mayor in Ohio who has expressed support for Senate Bill 5). This lack of data, along with the shaky methodology used in the analysis, were brought to the attention of DAS’s director who still chose to release the report.
On February 23rd, three days before the report was released, Mike Duco, the DAS analyst working on the report, sent an email to Robert Blair, the Director of DAS, explaining that he didn’t have enough data to do a proper analysis. He also expressed concern that if he did continue with the analysis as they expected, he would not be able to defend the results.
From: Duco, Michael
To: Blair, Robert; Menedis, Nicholas; Wykoff, Pieter
Cc: Trackler, Julie; Colson, Harry
Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 9:20:31 AM
I left a message for Jan Campbell for the same information that I asked Toledo for. I am not sure that they will cooperate. I am walking over to SERB to see what kind of data they may have. I know that you want an aggregate number but there may be no way to give you it with any amount of precision.
Maybe what they should do is show what the savings to the State, a city (Toledo) and a school district and a county. If you all provide me with a school district that would work with us and a county we can work on these snapshots. While an aggregate number is big I am worried that it will be challenged and we will not be able to defend. My only solution is to use the savings garnered in Toledo and the state divided by the number of employees to come up with an average savings multiple that by the number of public employees and use a factor of 5% either way. I chose 5% because the elimination of five sick days is approximately 2% savings which Toledo and State workforce would not capture and say 3% for potential pick up coverage. Let me know your ideas or whether you think this formula is defensible.
His concerns, it seems, fell on deaf ears.
Three days later the report was released. It provided an aggregate number – just like Mr. Duco said he couldn’t provide with any precision. And it used nearly the same methodology Mr. Duco said he could not defend.