It’s unclear if Kasich and his advisers are completely incompetent or so arrogant they think they don’t need to follow Ohio’s laws. Either way, they just announced another illegal cabinet appointment.
On Friday afternoon Kasich released a statement saying he was going to appoint Rick Hodges as Director of the Ohio Department of Health. Hodges, a former lawmaker, currently leads the Ohio Turnpike Commission. Hodges will be replacing Dr. Ted Wymyslo… and that “Dr.” part is kind of important.
According to Ohio Revised Code 121.10:
The director of health shall be either:
(A) A physician holding the degree of doctor of medicine from a medical college approved by the state medical board who, before assuming his duties, has been licensed to practice medicine in the state and who has had experience in pursuing some phase of medical practice;
(B) An individual who has had significant experience in the public health profession.
Hodges has had a lot of jobs over the years. Before running the Ohio Turnpike Commission he was responsible for “coordinating and developing reform legislation” at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. He also held positions with the home building industry, a Realtor association, a mechanical contractors association and a group representing self insured corporations. His specialties, according to his own LinkedIn page, are: “Government and not for profit management, public affairs and communications, labor relations and transportation.” Public health is not included.
Nothing against Hodges. He did go to Oberlin and, under normal circumstances, he should have turned out to be a good progressive Democrat. (we still think you have it in you, Rick!) But in this case, he’s clearly unqualified for the new position.
Again, nothing against Mr. Hodges, but when the Ebola outbreak or some other big public health emergency hits Ohio, do you want an experienced medical doctor in charge of the health department? Or a guy whose top skills include “event planning” and “public affairs and communications”?