On Wednesday, a disturbing news report came out highlighting what Democratic lawmakers have believed for some time; JobsOhio is not even following its own lax ethics laws. According to JobsOhio’s own conflict of interest policy, recently renewed with the Development Services Agency (DSA) and on file with the controlling board, JobsOhio’s directors and officers are required to disclose any conflict or potential conflict to fellow board members for formal consideration of whether or not a conflict exists.
The Ohio Ethics Commission (OEC) announced Wednesday that potential conflicts of interest do exist at the controversial state economic development entity. Yet records show that the JobsOhio board has not disclosed any potential conflicts.
State Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) filed a public records request in August with DSA to obtain documentation of the initiated conflict of interest policy. No such records were ever returned, and JobsOhio later publicized their belief that no potential conflicts of interest existed to ever trigger the ethics policy.
“It is one thing to have relatively low ethics standards at JobsOhio, but when they can’t even follow their own internal policies it’s a giant red flag,” said Rep. Carney. “This is proof positive for Governor Kasich and the GOP that it’s time for accountability and transparency at JobsOhio. JobsOhio has had numerous chances to do the right thing, but they just won’t play by the rules—even when they write the rules apparently.”
House Democrats have made numerous calls for transparency and accountability at the state’s controversial economic development entity, but Gov. Kasich and legislative Republicans have only passed legislation to further secrecy at JobsOhio. The JobsOhio Accountability Act remains stalled in State Rep. Mike Dovilla’s (R-Berea) Policy and Oversight Committee.
“The fact that JobsOhio can’t even play by their own rules is an indication that it is time for Gov. Kasich and legislative Republicans leaders to get serious about requiring transparency and accountability from the struggling organization,” said Rep. Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery). “We were second in the nation for job loss last month. It seems that they’re more concerned with public relations than they are with job creation. It’s shameful when those tasked with creating jobs in our state can’t see past the tip of their nose.”