Strickland Administration Creates Its First Job
Ohio Democrats will sometimes move mountains to make sure someone is employed… as long as that person threatens to create a contested primary in the Ohio House of Representatives:
At least 641,000 Ohioans can’t find work, according to the latest unemployment figures.
But one Ohioan, Cincinnati Councilwoman Laketa Cole, had little problem this week landing a $78,354-a-year job – just a week after pulling her name out of a potentially divisive Statehouse primary that Democrats wanted to avoid.
“What’s really awful is I’m not surprised,” said Catherine Turcer, legislative director with Ohio Citizen Action, a non-profit watchdog group. “That doesn’t mean it’s right.”
• Laketa Cole’s professional resume
Documents obtained by The Enquirer through public records requests, as well as interviews, shed some light on how Cole got her job:
The job was never posted on the state Web site listing jobs, nor was it publicized within state government.
The Strickland administration cited diversity, pointing out that Cole is an African-American woman.
Although she has never worked for a utility, the state said her years on City Council – where she dealt with Cincinnati’s Water Works and sewer issues – qualified her for the job.
Cole, however, was the only applicant for the job.
The agency’s letter hiring Cole is dated March 5 – the same day she withdrew from the primary.
Don’t you love Strickland’s office’s response? They are basically saying, “Hey back off! Yeah we reserved this job just for Cole, but her skin color is really dark!”
Could you imagine that happening at a small business? Let’s say that after someone resigns, you are overwhelmed with projects and need to hire someone to share the workload. Would you go through the normal channels: ie, run the idea past your superiors, advertise the position, and conduct interviews OR would you secretly hire the first minority with a master’s degree you could find? And if you picked the latter option, how happy would your employer be about that method? “Don’t be worried, Boss. She represents diversity!”
Strickland, Speaker Armond Budish, and Ohio Democrats created this job to make room for Former Cincinnati Vice Mayor Alicia Reece to replace Tyrone Yates in the 33rd House District. Reece was a member of Strickland’s cabinet, serving as the Assistant Director for Travel and Tourism. A quick search of LexisNexis shows a number of interesting details about Reece, including years of serious residency challenges, but I’ll save these details for another day.
To make matters worse, after this story broke, the political establishment basically shrugged its shoulders.
In Columbus, bribing someone to get out of a race for State Representative appears to be business as usual.