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Verich has new state job

By David Skolnick

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

WARREN

Former longtime Ohio House Rep. Michael G. Verich, who spent 12 years on the State Employment Relations Board, has a new state job.

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, appointed Verich, a Democrat from Warren, on Friday to a three-year appointment on the Ohio Lottery Commission board. Verich’s terms expires Aug. 1, 2014.

The annual salary of $5,000, plus expenses, to serve on the lottery commission is a far cry from the $80,000 a year Verich was making on SERB.

But Verich, with 28 years in state government, said he retired from full-time state government work Nov. 30, 2010, when his second six-year term on SERB ended. Verich is the first Trumbull County resident appointed to a state board or commission by Kasich.

The lottery commission appointment “keeps me involved in public service,” Verich said. “I’m honored and pleased to serve on the lottery commission and to be appointed by the Kasich administration. I’ll work hard and I’ll do a good job.”

Based in Cleveland, the nine-member commission board oversees the various state-sanctioned lottery games.

Verich said he is doing some part-time consulting for Hiram College helping the school establish an adult education program in Trumbull County.

Verich still has a law license, but doesn’t practice.

He was first elected to the Ohio House in November 1982, and was elected to nine terms. During that time, he served as chairman of the House’s financial institutions, and aging and housing committees.

But he never served that ninth term, which was to begin in January 1999. Instead, Verich resigned from the House in December 1998 when then-outgoing Gov. George V. Voinovich appointed him to a six-year term on the three-member SERB, which administers the state’s public employees’ collective bargaining act.

Verich’s relationship with Trumbull County Democratic officials soured after he was appointed to SERB. Verich convinced the Ohio House Democratic Caucus to appoint his brother, Chris, to fill his two-year term in the House without input from his home county’s Democratic party as is tradition with legislative vacancies.

Verich’s brother was defeated by Dan Sferra, a former Warren mayor and now a city councilman at-large, in the 2000 Democratic primary.

In 2004, Verich again drew the ire of Democrats, both locally and in the Ohio Senate, for endorsing the re-election of President George W. Bush. After the endorsement, then-Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, appointed Verich to another six-year term on SERB.