Vardon and Hallet have a story in today’s Dispatch driven by quotes from the head of JobsOhio’s board, James C. Boland. In the piece, Boland admits that JobsOhio is seen as a “self-dealing, secretive and unaccountable” organization while he outlines his plan to turn that perception around.
“We’ve got to get on the offense and really let people understand what the hell we’re doing.” Boland told the Dispatch. “We have nothing to hide here,” Boland later said.
We couldn’t agree more. JobsOhio needs to let Ohioans know what the hell they are doing – especially when it comes to ensuring that all this secrecy and lack of accountability stuff isn’t leading to wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars or, worse, straight up corruption.
So is Boland planning to release the financial disclosure forms of JobsOhio board members and JobsOhio employees responsible for recommending which companies get financial incentives?
Is he going to allow public record requests so we can see who is influencing decisions at JobsOhio?
Is he going to give the public ANY additional insight into how JobsOhio is spending the over $6 Billion in state liquor money Ohio is giving the organization?
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And… of course… Nope.
Instead says he plans to address the bad press JobsOhio is getting by hiring a public relations firm and NOT by actually addressing any of the transparency or accountability questions that have caused all that bad press.
A month ago, The Dayton Daily News reported that six of the nine JobsOhio board members have direct financial ties to companies that received financial assistance from JobsOhio. Boland was one of the six. According to the DDN, Boland received $1.2 million in director fees over the past six years, and in 2011 he received company stock valued at over $2.5 million.
That same year, “JobsOhio helped Sherwin-Williams secure a $5.8 million tax credit.”
Also worth noting: Boland personally donated $22,000 in 2009 and 2010 to John Kasich’s campaign prior to being appointed to the JobsOhio board by the Governor in 2011.
Boland’s response is a clear and unmistakable Screw You! to Ohioans who only want to know how their money is being spent. And if he thinks simply hiring a PR firm, and trying to woo editorial boards around the state is going to make Ohioans forget that Kasich and his pals in the legislature gave JobsOhio billions of our dollars with no oversight, transparency or accountability – he clearly has no idea what the hell he is talking about.