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JobsOhio audit critical of agency conflict of interest safeguards


Ohio Auditor Dave Yost has released a 23-page audit of JobsOhio, the private non-profit agency created by Gov. John Kasich to handle economic development and marketing duties for the state.

Yost, a Republican, made eight findings, including:

- JobsOhio and its related non-profit spent $14 million on non-payroll expenses, including personal charges to corporate credit cards, meals for government employees, and more than 50 charges where the invoice or receipt were missing;

- There was no record that the board of directors approved and reviewed employee compensation;

- None of the directors or officers signed the ethics statements until nearly a year after JobsOhio began operating and they didn't take ethics courses until the fall of 2012;

- The conflict of interest policy doesn't apply to staff members who may be heavily involved in a project where they have an interest;

"Safeguards for detecting, managing, and avoiding conflicts of interest at the staff level were missing. Moreoever, JobsOhio did not document any actions that it may have taken to informally screen for potential conflicts or to avoid or mitigate actual conflicts of interest," the audit reported.

The audit covers July 5, 2011 — when JobsOhio started operating using public and private money — to June 30, 2012. Lawmakers and Kasich have since closed off the JobsOhio books to Yost and any future state auditors.

JobsOhio Board Chairman James Boland said in a written response to the audit that many of the errors detailed by Yost's audit occurred when the agency was in "start-up mode" and policies were being developed. He also noted that JobsOhio believes the audit was beyond Yost's authority but the agency participated in the interest of transparency and accountability.


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