During one of his taxpayer-funded telephone town halls last night, State Treasurer Josh Mandel told listeners that that when he got elected, he put the salaries of all of his employees online. Like most of Mandel’s claims about transparency in his office, this one is absolutely not true.
A few months after taking office in 2011, Mandel launched his so-called “transparency” website using state salary employee data from the ultra-conservative Buckeye Institute. For some mysterious reason, information about the salaries of his closest advisers was left off of the site. As the AP reported, salary data for both Joel Ritter and Scott Guthrie, former Mandel campaign staffers who had been hired at the treasurer’s office with big raises, was excluded from publication on the website.
The same database also exaggerated the salaries of many public employees. In one school district, for example, employee salaries were inflated by $1.6 Million! The website even had Josh Mandel’s own salary wrong!
State salary data on the website has not been updated since last year. And instead of actually providing data on local, federal and higher education public employee salaries, Mandel’s website links back to the website of the Buckeye Institute, a group that actively fights for so-called Right-to-Work and against public employee unions.
Since taking office, Mandel’s record on transparency has been less than stellar. Back in 2012, his office refused to release the resumes of his friends and former campaign staff that were hired on at the treasurer’s office. That same year, Plunderbund had to file a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court against Mandel after he spent nine months failing to respond to our public record request. We eventually settled with his office, receiving the records and a cash settlement.