Less than twenty-four hours after a House committee attached an amendment to prevent the State Auditor’s Office from completing its audit of JobsOhio and rushed it to a floor vote to pass it in the House, this morning the State Senate held a concurrance vote to accept the House changes. On an up and down vote on whether to accept SB 67 with the RobsOhio provision excepting it from decades of case law and statues that clearly stated such an entity would be subject to public audits by the Ohio Auditor’s Office, the Senate passed SB 67 by a 22-10 vote.
All Senate Republicans, except Senator Kris Jordan, voted to pass the bill. This means JobsOhio has forced us to write something positive about Kris Jordan. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE, KASICH!!!
This vote was held over the public objections of State Auditor David Yost (R), who asked for an one-week delay arguing that “speed is seldom the companion of wisdom.” To argue, as Senator Bill Seitz did, that this was about clarifying whether the State could publicly audit JobsOhio is false. There was no ambiguity in the statute or caselaw. This was about changing the law to create an exception that OTHER private entities that have historically done state functions did not have. For Seitz to claim, as he did in the debate, that this amendment was to allow Yost to “save face” is a slap in face, especially when Seitz pointed out that this bill was being rushed through while Seitz had been mediating talks between the Auditor’s office and the Governor’s office.
Yes, this bill will allow an audit, but it allows an audit by a private company in which the Auditor’s Office only has consultation rights to choose. Also, it requires the audit to be exempt from public records.
You can watch the limited debate on SB 67, which focused exclusively on the RobsOhio amendment:
It’s great for Seitz to say that this amendment was “faithful” to the negotiations being held on this issue, but Seitz completely fails to answer the obvious question: why the rush to force a resolution that Kasich wanted when Yost’s office was faithfully negotiating a resolution? And how faithful can this be when one side of the negotiations is objecting to the legislation and being entirely shut out of the process?
What was the rush? But even more disturbing, Kasich acted in bad faith with these negotiations with Yost. Not happy with the direction of the mediation, Kasich apparently had the legislature force his offer onto Yost. And the Yost was left out to dry by his own party, by the Governor, by the legislature. It begs the question whether Kasich’s negotiations were nothing more than a stall tactic to prevent Yost from completing his audit before Kasich could outlaw it.
This is going to affect not only the issue of JobsOhio’s lack of accountability and transparency, but it’s going to chill anyone to negotiate with the Governor’s office again given such completely hamfisted tactics as was used here.