When Michigan’s semi-private, economic development organization (Michigan Economic Development Corp) faced criticism this week over some incorrect job creation numbers, defenders of the group came up with a great response: hey, at least we’re not JobsOhio.
The mistakes in Michigan were caught during a public audit of the organization, something GOP lawmakers in Ohio have specifically outlawed with JobsOhio.
As the week progressed, JobsOhio suffered even more bad press.
Just yesterday it was revealed that Kasich’s pal Mark Kvamme, the mastermind behind JobsOhio who left government work to start his own Ohio-based venture capital company, received a 50 Million dollar investment from the Ohio State University thanks to recently-ousted University President E. Gordon Gee.
OSU is a public university that receives state money via the governor’s budget.
Just a day earlier the PD reported that Kasich has, for a third time, tapped Gee to head up a panel on higher education. “Kasich and Gee have become good friends since Kasich took office”, writes the paper. Just a coincidence. We’re sure.
Today DC-based Good Jobs First released a report slamming JobsOhio for “accountability and transparency problems” and “numerous political controversies” stemming from the fact that “it is often difficult to distinguish between the agency and the governor’s office”.
“These experiments in privatization have, by and large, become costly failures,” concludes the report.
We couldn’t agree more.
Last month, in response to news that six of nine JobsOhio board members have direct financial ties to companies that received financial assistance from the organization, JobsOhio Board Chairman James C. Boland announced he would be … wait for it… hiring a pubic relations company to to repair the image of JobsOhio which, for some strange reason, is now seen as “self-dealing, secretive and unaccountable”.
The only break JobsOhio caught this week was the fact that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics won’t be releasing employment and unemployment numbers for last month because of the federal government shutdown. We confirmed with a department representative that the numbers will be released in next month’s report.
So we’ll all have to wait until November to see just how ineffective JobsOhio was in September.