You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Body found on New Carlisle bike path being investigated

JobsOhio staff given hefty raises

Of 22 staff members, 19 are former state employees

In August 2010, then-candidate John Kasich announced his plan to privatize the Ohio Department of Development, calling the government agency a “black hole” that failed to even return phone calls.

“The days of trying to connect with business leaders through bureaucrats are over,” Kasich said during a campaign appearance at a Columbus steel company.

But JobsOhio, the private economic development nonprofit Kasich created in 2011 to replace the Department of Development, is staffed mostly by former ODOD employees and other ex-government workers. Nearly all of those workers also received large raises to leave the public sector, a Dayton Daily News analysis found.

In all, 19 of JobsOhio’s 22 full-time employees are former state workers, including seven people who worked for ODOD in 2010 or earlier. All but two of the 19 received raises of at least 15 percent above their state salaries.

Seven of the 19 former state employees joined state government in 2011, Kasich’s first year in office. This group included three people with extensive business-related backgrounds: President/CIO John Minor, a former investment banker; managing director David Mustine, a former energy company executive; and managing director Mark Patton, whose experience includes working in marketing and sales for companies such as Apple, Kodak and Procter & Gamble.

JobsOhio staff also includes two Kasich campaign staffers: Mindy McLaughlin, a former campaign scheduler who now works as manager of direct foreign investment for JobsOhio; and former campaign compliance director Thomas Seward, now a JobsOhio project manager.

‘Liberated from the bureaucracy’

Officials with Kasich’s office and JobsOhio said the non-profit is different from the government agency it replaced from the top-down, even if its staff is comprised of mostly former government employees.

“We hired over people from development who brought great knowledge,” said spokeswoman Laura Jones, who received a $20,000 raise to join JobsOhio after a decade in marketing and communications with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “We’ve cultivated and grown those skills here with leadership.”

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said, “These people were liberated from the bureaucracy.” “He said JobsOhio has brought in commitments for about 75,000 new and retained jobs, and that Ohio’s economy overall has created 120,400 jobs since Kasich took office.*

JobsOhio works better than the department it replaced for two main reasons, Jones said.

One: it is structured differently, and has a singular mission of business development, she said, while ODOD was weighed down by different divisions that had nothing to do with job creation.

And two: JobsOhio is quicker to respond to the needs of businesses, partially because it’s not restrained by ethics laws that restrict state employees from accepting or paying for meals, or from traveling to off-site meetings, Jones said.

“I think (JobsOhio) brought flexibility to help cultivate an environment to interact and have relationships with businesses,” Jones said.

She acknowledged the raises but said JobsOhio employees work long hours and don’t get the state benefits they received in their old jobs. “We took the risk and gave up a lot to come to what is essentially a start-up company,” she said.

Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, a liberal advocacy group that is suing Kasich over JobsOhio, said staffing the non-profit with mostly former state employees undermines Kasich’s rationale for creating the nonprofit.

“This confirms what people thought all along… (JobsOhio) was a ploy to take the Department of Development and privatize it to shield it from public scrutiny,” Rothenberg said. “The whole ruse is that the governor was complaining about the people he ended up hiring.”

Sizable raises

Although initially funded by tax dollars, JobsOhio is exempt from public records laws and required to disclose only what is required under the legislation that created it.

That makes learning about its inner workings difficult. For example, JobsOhio has to disclose its employees’ titles and salaries but — according to its interpretation of the law — not their names. When asked, JobsOhio declined to state what the salaries and benefits are for certain individuals.

It is clear even with the limited amount of information made public that most former state employees got sizable raises — averaging around 20 percent — to work for JobsOhio.

Kristi Tanner made the full-year equivalent of $133,000 in her previous job at ODOD, and now makes at least $166,270 as the managing director for JobsOhio. (An actual salary amount couldn’t be determined).

Kristina Clouse had a base salary of $86,700 in her final year at ODOD, where she was a regional workforce director and assistant director of strategic business investment. At JobsOhio, she is paid $117,500 a year as project management director.

Sheena Metzger made $51,700 as a program administrator at ODOD. Her new job, site selection manager at JobsOhio, has a salary of $74,700.

McLaughlin and Seward, the former Kasich campaign workers, also received pay increases. McLaughlin, who worked in the governor’s office for nine months before switching jobs, had her pay jump from $70,000 to $87,500.

Seward, a former compliance director for the Kasich campaign, made the equivalent of $65,000 annually at the ODOD as “budget special projects coordinator” for six months before receiving at least $81,250 at JobsOhio. Like Tanner, Seward’s actual pay couldn’t be determined by the amount of records available.

Jones said two years McLaughlin spent working for the U.S. State Department and her two additional years working in the White House before joining Kasich’s campaign qualified her to promote Ohio to foreign companies, primarily in Japan and Germany. “She brought with her a good skill set to allow her to grow in that position,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, Seward’s connections in southwest Ohio have helped JobsOhio connect with companies in that area, Jones said.

Windfall expected

JobsOhio has attracted its share of controversy since 2011.

Critics say a lack of transparency creates the potential for corruption and makes it difficult for the public to evaluate its operations. Last month, after negotiations with the non-profit broke down, Ohio Auditor Dave Yost issued a subpoena for JobsOhio’s financial records, including at least $6.9 million in secret private donations, so that he could conduct an audit.

JobsOhio reluctantly turned the records over while maintaining Yost, a Republican, overstepped his authority in seeking access to anything other than the $8.4 million in state grants and fees the nonprofit had received.

Jeff Hoagland, president of the Dayton Development Coalition, a private economic development non-profit, said in a March interview he opposed Yost’s attempt to inspect JobsOhio’s books.

“All I keep hearing is the public sector needs to act more like private industry. I think this is an example where the state is trying to act like private industry and focus on economic development. But then it’s being told potentially told, I need you to act more like a public (agency), which I think slows things down,” Hoagland said.

Moving forward, the nonprofit will get its funding — an expected $100 million a year or more — from the sale of bonds backed by profits from the state’s monopoly on liquor sales.

Jones said the money will allow JobsOhio to begin awarding its own grants and loans for economic development projects, and fund a state program that pays for the cleanup and redevelopment of commercial and industrial sites.

It is not clear how open the nonprofit’s records will remain to government scrutiny. Yost maintains he has authority to audit JobsOhio’s books because the liquor proceeds are a public resource. Minor, JobsOhio’s president, has asked the legislature to act to limit Yost’s authority.

Yost said in a March letter to Ohio legislators that JobsOhio needs to remain under his watch.

“While there have been no indications of misdealing, the potential for self-dealing or other mischief exists sometime in the future,” he said. “This office’s audit will help protect against the real possibility of human failings.”

*This sentence was revised as a clarification on May 15, 2013.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Ohio

Another big investor tells Whole Foods to explore sale
Another big investor tells Whole Foods to explore sale

Amid reports that Whole Foods Market could be the target of a takeover bid by supermarket chain Albertsons, another big investor in the Austin-based company is calling on management to consider a sale. Mutual-fund manager Neuberger Berman, which owns a 2.7 percent stake in Whole Foods, wrote to the company’s board this week calling on it to &ldquo...
One of the Kardashian sisters reportedly hasn’t spoken to Caitlyn Jenner in nearly two years
One of the Kardashian sisters reportedly hasn’t spoken to Caitlyn Jenner in nearly two years

Caitlyn Jenner claims she hasn’t spoken to her stepdaughter Khloé Kardashian in nearly two years. The former Olympian opened up to Andy Cohen on his “Radio Andy” show on SiriusXM. “She doesn’t want to talk to me,” Jenner said. “She hasn’t talked to me in, like, two years.” She continued...
Why does North Korea wake people with 6 a.m. musical alarm?
Why does North Korea wake people with 6 a.m. musical alarm?

Citizens who live in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, wake up early every day to eerie music. Viral videos have resurfaced of a 6 a.m. alarm blasted through the city’s loudspeakers.  Listen below.  The song is called “Where Are You, Dear General,” according to The Sun. It echoes through the city every day at...
Israeli missile launch: What is the Patriot Missile Defense System?
Israeli missile launch: What is the Patriot Missile Defense System?

The Israeli military deployed its missile defense system Thursday to intercept a drone fired from Syria, officials said. According to The Associated Press, the incident came after Syria accused Israel of attacking a military installation near Damascus International Airport early Thursday. While Israel has several defense systems, military officials...
Bill Paxton remembered at premiere of final film ‘The Circle’
Bill Paxton remembered at premiere of final film ‘The Circle’

The director of the new tech drama “The Circle,” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, remembered actor Bill Paxton at the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday. Paxton, who played Watson’s father, had a small role in the movie, his last before his death at 61 after heart surgery in February...
More Stories