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The Suburbanite
  • Treasurer hasn't turned over all the records we asked for

  • Chris Redfern is chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. He is responding to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s April 20 column, “Ohio treasurer’s team is professional, experienced.”

     

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  • Chris Redfern is chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. He is responding to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s April 20 column, “Ohio treasurer’s team is professional, experienced.”
     
    By CHRIS REDFERN
     
    As chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party since 2005, I’ve seen wildly ambitious political figures before — folks who will do or say anything to get elected. Never have I witnessed an individual so willing to lie and distort the truth than our absentee treasurer, Josh Mandel.
    If you’ve been following the Senate race, you know that for almost a month now, Mandel has been embroiled in a cronyism scandal stemming from a March 31 investigative story that appeared in The Dayton Daily News, “Treasurer Mandel under scrutiny for hiring practices.”
    The report revealed that, after repeatedly slamming his opponent in the 2010 treasurer race for alleged cronyism and promising to operate his office differently, Mandel broke his pledge to voters, hired numerous unqualified political cronies and awarded them top jobs in the treasurer’s office.
    Last week, in response to a Repository editorial that questioned whether he was deliberately hiding résumés of staffers he has hired in light of the scandal, Mandel wrote, with a seemingly straight face, “For the Ohio Democratic Party to imply and The Repository to repeat the implication that our office is attempting to hide any personnel records is blatantly false and simply wrong.”
    Mandel is lying, and he knows it.
    STILL WAITING
    In an effort to resolve whether staffers Mandel hired after his swearing-in were qualified or simply politically connected, the Ohio Democratic Party filed its first of seven public-records requests for Mandel office hires in April 2011, more than a year ago.
    Eight months later, in January 2012, the treasurer’s office threw us a bone, “releasing” 18 disks containing a whopping 41,000 pages of information, a disclosure Mandel touted in last week’s column. What he deliberately failed to mention was that more than 40,000 of those pages were irrelevant and unnecessary salary information that we never requested. The so-called disclosure contained just 12 of the résumés we had requested through numerous and specific public-records requests spanning months.
    With our suspicions of cronyism in the treasurer’s office under Mandel confirmed following the Dayton Daily News investigation, we filed our seventh public-records request for staffers he hired earlier this month. In what shouldn’t come as a surprise, we’re still waiting for a response, as well as the nearly 50 staff résumés we have requested for more than a year.
    The facts are as they are. After pledging to hire only the most-qualified financial professionals, Mandel did the exact opposite and hired political cronies and friends. Until he finally discloses the résumés — and qualifications — of the remaining 50 staffers whom he hired at taxpayer expense, Ohioans are left wondering just how deep cronyism runs in the treasurer’s office under his watch.
    Page 2 of 2 - UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
    Did he initiate a formal interview process? Did he hire qualified financial professionals as promised, or folks connected to the Republican Party? Did his office even collect résumés from the remaining 50 staff members before making job offers?
    These are pertinent questions, and they deserve answers, not ridiculous falsehoods and flowery platitudes such as those Mandel chose to repeat in last week’s column.
    On behalf of all Ohioans, I ask: What is Mandel hiding?
    If he has nothing to hide, as he claims, he should lay the question to rest and immediately disclose all résumés for treasurer’s office staffers he has hired.
    Repository editorial:
    http://tinyurl.com/8598d5a
    Mandel column:
    http://tinyurl.com/bnjfl58
    Ohio Democratic Party: