Josh Mandel really took the hammer to common sense yesterday. In the morning his office unveiled a new tool on the Treasurer’s website that allows viewers to search every public employee in the state by name and see how much they made each year working for the state. With the help of the ultra-conservative think tank The Buckeye Institute, Mandel’s office made public the salaries of teachers, police officers, fire fighters, nurses, and even elected officials available for everyone to see. Except for one small group of people – campaign staff from Mandel’s 2010 campaign that had been given jobs in his administration.
However, information on government employees as political control shifts, including two of Mandel’s own political operatives, can be spotty. Figures for Scott Guthrie and Joel Riter were among about 70 treasury employees whose salary data at first wasn’t listed on the site. Both worked on Mandel’s 2010 Republican campaign for treasurer, then were hired at his state office.
…State personnel records for Guthrie, who served as finance director for Mandel’s 2010 campaign, indicate that he was paid a rate equal to a little over $100,000 a year in his state job. Because he left before the year was out, however, the search engine lists his annual salary as $14,021, the amount he was paid for his short stint in state service. State records show a year of Riter’s salary would have totaled about $62,000; the site lists his salary as about $30,000.
I don’t know what I’m more surprised about, the fact that Mandel’s political cronies were left off the list until someone pointed it out to him or that he hired his own campaign finance director at a rate of over $100,000 a year. Luckily for the state though, it took Josh Mandel about two days into his term to realize he wanted to run for U.S. Senate so he needed those advisors of his out of the Treasurer’s office and back onto his campaign.
Besides this being a backhanded attack at public employees it is clear that Josh Mandel does not understand what the word ‘hypocrisy’ means. While at the same time he unveils this new tool disclosing the salaries of hundreds of thousands of public employees he himself is over 100 days late in filing his financial disclosure forms that all candidates for a U.S Senate seat are required to file.
Which got me thinking – I wonder if anyone mentioned to Mandel that he could now use this new database to help him fill out his disclosure forms. He can search for himself and see what he made each year while receiving a salary from the State of Ohio. Unless, or course, that isn’t all he made those years. In which case, I suggest he asks the Buckeye Institute to create a tool that helps him search his own finances to see how much he made last year.
This little misstep is the latest in a long line of missteps though. Besides failing to file his financial disclosure forms, he recently has come under scrutiny for receiving $100,000 in questionable campaign contributions, failing to disclose the fact that he was using a photo on his campaign website attributed to The Dispatch, and coming under fire for using his state campaign account to fund campaign activity for his U.S. Senate campaign. If true, would be a violation of federal election law.
Before Josh Mandel wants to lecture anyone on the importance of transparency when it comes to the discussion of public employee benefits, I suggest he first takes a look in the mirror to see what he needs to do to be more transparent.
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