Josh Mandel hired inexperienced campaign staff to fill multiple positions in the Treasurer’s office after defeating Kevin Boyce in 2010. In a brazen display of cronyism, former campaign staffers, donors, and even interns were picked to fill high-ranking positions throughout the Treasurer’s office, many of whom have already left to join Mandel’s Senate campaign.
This weekend, the Dayton Daily News released a report examining the cronyism in the Treasurer’s office by reviewing personnel files and other records from Mandel’s office. The report found that, as Treasurer, Mandel hired young and inexperienced staff from his campaign to fill multiple positions ranging from head debt analyst to chief policy advisor.
Mandel selected 27-year-old Michael Lord as his senior policy advisor who served as his 2010 campaign manager and legislative aide while Mandel was a State Representative. Lord also collected almost $90,000 in political consulting fees from the Mandel campaign between 2009 and 2011. Lord will make $100,000 this year in his position as senior policy advisor which is a significant bump-up from the $13.95 an hour he was making as Mandel’s legislative aide.
According to the Dayton Daily News, one of Mandel’s first hires as Treasurer was then 26-year-old Joe Aquiliano. In 2010, Aquiliano served as the Mandel campaign’s political director and then become director of debt management for the State of Ohio at a salary of $90,000 a year. Like Mandel, Aquiliano apparently couldn’t resist the siren’s song of campaign politics because Aquiliano left the state to become political director for Mandel’s Senate campaign.
And then there is the story of Jacob Dunnermuth, 22, who spent time as an intern on the Mandel campaign in 2010. Mandel later hired him in May of 2011 to produce materials for community outreach events, a position that paid $16-an-hour. The Dayton Daily News reported that Dunnermuth had not graduate college yet when he landed the job and that his previous work experience included being a cashier and stock boy at HoneyBaked Ham for $7.50 an hour.
Hiring campaign staff into state positions is a fairly common practice, but what makes Mandel’s hiring practices ironic is that candidate Mandel repeatedly attacked Boyce for similar practices during the 2010 election. According to the Dayton Daily News Mandel attacked Boyce in October of 2010 for hiring “political cronies” and promising his tenure as Treasurer would be different:
“Unlike the current officeholder, I will ensure that my staff is comprised of qualified financial professionals — rather than political cronies and friends — and that investment decisions are based on what is best for Ohioans.”
Besides already having a tenuous relationship with telling the truth, these allegations of cronyism once again show that Mandel cannot be trusted. In one breath he says he will only hire qualified professionals to oversee billions of taxpayers’ dollars, and in another he hires politically-connected, inexperience friends to fill those same exact positions. His blatant attempts to award political friends with high-ranking positions within his administration is just another in a long list of events the should cause Ohioans to question Mandel’s true objectives.