And the award for worst headline of the day goes to… The Columbus Dispatch for this misleading BS about the state auditor’s report on JobsOhio:
“JobsOhio: Audit finds no conflicts of interest; some safeguards lacking”
Let’s talk about that conflict of interest thing first, since the Dispatch brought it up.
Back in July, the Dayton Daily News revealed that six of nine JobsOhio board members had financial ties to companies receiving money from JobsOhio.
JobsOhio Spokesperson Laura Jones told the paper that “We have a conflict of interest policy that we have in place that we utilize here at JobsOhio. If there is a conflict, it’ll be brought to the attention (of the full board) and policy will be followed on how to go forward with that.”
Back in September, the Ohio Ethics Commission also identified potential conflicts of interest at JobsOhio. Jones repeated her claim, telling the Dispatch that “we proactively conduct our own review for potential conflicts of interest pursuant to those policies. … We take our ethics seriously and we’d review that as well.”
The audit report of JobsOhio released today by Yost shows that “JobsOhio had no clear formal procedure to screen for senior management and employee conflicts of interest or any mechanism for managing these situations” and that “safeguards for detecting, managing, and avoiding conflicts of interest at the staff level were missing.”
And the auditors couldn’t find any evidence that even informal actions were taken to ensure there were no conflicts of interest. Like someone sending an email saying “Hey mark. Do you think you might want to excuse yourself from this deal because of all that stock you own in the company?”
Yost’s team only reviewed 28 random projects from the hundreds of deals JobsOhio has or is working on. And in those 28 projects, they found three possible conflicts of interest that the non-existent JobsOhio screening process had somehow missed. That’s over ten percent of the projects! Imagine what they’d find if they reviewed all of the deals.
Unfortunately, this is the last public audit JobsOhio is every going to get since Kasich and his Republican pals in the legislature passed a law earlier this year preventing the auditor from doing his job.