Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel may be coming to a school board or city council meeting near you.
Mandel, a Republican, spoke Friday about his efforts to put “the state checkbook online,” which would show how the state spends money.
During an interview with The Vindicator, Mandel added that while the effort, which he started a year ago, has stalled, he’s not giving up. He said he also wants to put that same financial information from school districts, municipalities and other local governments online.
“I’m going to start showing up at school board meetings and city council meetings, and I’m hopeful most of them will say yes,” Mandel said. “If any of them say no, it’s time for their constituents and me to ask, ‘Why? What do you have to hide?’”
The treasurer’s office can build the databases for local public entities if the information is emailed there, he said.
But first, Mandel wants to get a bill passed by the state Legislature to have an online database of all state spending.
Mandel said legislators tell him they support the bill, but “there’s a lot of politicians and bureaucrats who are throwing marbles under my feet and trying to slow down” its passage.
When asked who, Mandel said, “We don’t know who ‘they’ is.”
Mandel visited Taylor-Winfield Technologies, a metalworking-machinery company in Youngstown, on Friday to again urge for more of a focus on teaching skilled trades and in support of high schools offering shop classes.
For the past two years, Mandel has called for high schools to teach skilled trades to students and focus less on having them go to college to obtain liberal-arts degrees.
Mandel said Ohio shouldn’t mandate shop classes, but should offer additional state funding to school districts to offer or maintain those classes.
Asked how that relates to his job as state treasurer, Mandel said, “Right now, I’m leveraging the bully pulpit of my office to advocate for these policies.”
Mandel said he did the same for the elimination of the death tax in Ohio and a proposal to simplify the state’s municipal income-tax code system.
“As state treasurer, I don’t have a vote in the Legislature,” he said. “I can definitely use the bully pulpit and leadership of my office to push for policies like this that contribute to Ohio’s economic health and well-being.”
Mandel, of Beachwood, faces Democrat Connie Pillich, an Ohio House member from Montgomery, in the general election for state treasurer.
Jake Strassberger, Pillich’s communications director, said: Mandel is “setting up events to discuss issues he admits the treasurer has no authority over. ... This is just another example of Josh Mandel looking to further his own career instead of doing his job as treasurer.”