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« Stirfry

How about boards and commissions?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Published March 12, 2007

Ohio's freshman governor, Ted Strickland, has been going over the state's two-year operating budget with a fine-toothed comb, and has come up with many nits unnecessary and unjustifiable spending that need to be killed. For instance, Strickland has asked the state inspector general to investigate the faith-based initiative, with special focus on the out-of-state contracts. Where have all the dollars gone? he wants to know.

Strickland has also declared a moratorium on the purchase of meals by agencies and offices under his authority, saying simply, if you want to eat, brown bag it. His order does not apply to state administrative offices led by elected officeholders, but there undoubtedly will be public pressure on them to also stop such unnecessary spending.

But those two areas of concern are minor league in terms of spending compared with the many millions of dollars shelled out on boards and commissions.

Last week's announcement by the governor's office that former state legislator Sylvester Patton of Youngstown would be earning $73,000 a year to serve on the Unemployment Compensation Review Board for a six-year term highlights the problem. It was a purely political appointment as are most of them. It's time for Strickland to conduct a review of all the boards and commissions and determine whether they are all essential, and if so, if it's necessary to pay appointees so much money. He should also determine if service on boards and commissions should require specific qualifications, experience and expertise.


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