COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – Ohio headline highlights is a weekly Saturday roundup of stories on people, politics and government for the previous work week that caught CGE’s eye but not his pen.
Sen. Portman names staffers
Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman named Pam Thiessen as legislative director and Christine Mangi as press secretary. Thiessen comes from Sen. John Ensign’s office; Mangi comes from Sen. John Barrasso. Other Portman appointments: Rob Lehman as COS, Teri Geiger as State Director, Jeff Sadosky as Communications Director, and Nick Butterfield as Legislative Correspondent.
ODJFS’ Colbert names executive team members
Michael B. Colbert, the first Black to hold a cabinet position in the Kasich administration, named Bruce Madson [assistant director of Employment Services]; Michael McCreight [assistant director of Health and Human Services]; John McCarthy the new director of our Office of Ohio Health Plans; Edna Frezgi the permanent chief financial officer; Shancie Jenkins senior policy adviser; Sonnetta Sturkey to be COO overseeing EBS, the Office of Legal and Acquisition Services, the Office of Information Services, and three new offices: the Chief Inspector’s office, Communications and Legislation; Carolyn Borden-Collins has been promoted to deputy director of EBS, which also will now house the agency’s Performance Center; Sue Kirby to lead state’s Efficiency and Continuous Improvement Initiative; Ben Johnson will be acting deputy director of the Office of Communications.
OPERS head heading out
Ohio Public Employees Retirement System leader Chris DeRose is leaving his post after 4 1/2 years at it. DeRose is leaving to become vice president of client services for Strategic Accounts for Ingenix, a health-care consulting firm.
House Democrat to shine sun on JobsOhio
State Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) introduced a bill called the ‘Taxpayer’s Right to Know Act,’ which will require that all records from the performance or assistance of a public-private partnership with state functions – i.e., JobsOhio – are public records, and that such entities must conduct official business in open meetings. Republicans control the House, so if this bill gets a sponsor hearing, that will be the farthest it goes.
Kasich makes leadership appointment to future education office
Robert Sommers, who earned his Ph.D from Ohio State University and who has more than 25 years of experience in education, was named by Gov. Kasich to head the Office of 21st Century Education. Sommers served as Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone Charter Schools in Detroit and was the CEO of Butler Tech in Hamilton, Ohio.
‘Heatbeat Bill’ introduced in Ohio House
Republican Rep. Lynn Wachtmann introduced a first of its kind bill in the nation that would ban abortions in Ohio once a fetus’ heartbeat is detected. The heartbeat of a fetus is typically detected as early as six to eight weeks. Pro-choice advocates say it will be immediately challenged if signed into law. Abortion opponents say that’s Ok with them.
Kasich asks Parole Board for guidance
Gov. John Kasich directed the Ohio Parole Board to review the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar and make a recommendation to him to determine if her conviction should stand, if it should be reduced to a lesser offense, if her sentence should be reduced or if she should be pardoned. Williams-Bolar was convicted of a third-degree felony for issues related to sending her children to a school district in which she did not live.
Governor names recreation commission, tech college board members
Gov. John named Michael Budzik of Logan to the Recreation and Resources Commission and Billie Fiore of Newark to the Central Ohio Technical College Board of Trustees.
Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Jason Mauk has been hired by the Ohio Senate as communications director. GOP Communications Director John McClelland is headed to Secretary of State Jon Husted’s shop; and GOP Political Director Jonathan Gormley is going private, as a consultant.
Kasich names new PUCO chairman
Rep. Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown) was named by Gov. Kasich to be the next chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Snitchler’s term will include three remaining years of former Chairman Alan Schriber’s unexpired term. The appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Ohio Senate.
Bill would drug test before giving help from state
In his second term, Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, introduced Senate Bill 69, which would establish drug-testing requirements for adults who apply for need-based programs.
Dems to honor Dems
The Ohio Democratic Party will hold its 2011 Legacy Dinner on Saturday, March 19 to honor former Governor Ted Strickland. Other special Dems will include Sen. Sherrod Brown, Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court Yvette McGee Brown, House Minority Leader Armond Budish and Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro.
Ohio Cong. Stivers issues first newsletter
Freshman Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers sent out his first newsletter. Stivers said he has voted to cut congressional budgets by 5 percent, voted to repeal Obamacare, displayed bipartisanship during the SOTU and is ready for his first constituent weeks back home.
Glenn to talk at Ohio Statehood Day
U.S. Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, will talk about history at the Statehouse on March 1, Ohio Statehood Day, sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society and other organizations in observance of the state’s 208th anniversary of statehood.
Ohio turnpike could bring in big bucks
Gov. Kasich said he wants $3 billion to lease the Ohio Turnpike, a state asset he said is under-utilized. Indiana got as much for a much shorter turnpike.
Toledo loses grievance to patrolmen
Toledo has been ordered to pay up to $500,000 stemming from some 60 police officers whose shifts were changed because of the layoffs, according to a grievance arbitration ruling. The city violated the contract for the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association when police officers were reassigned from their “permanent, nonrotating shifts” just before the May, 1, 2009, layoff of 75 officers for part of that year. The shifts of the laid-off officers, which were mostly afternoons and nights, were filled by other officers who mostly had worked mornings and afternoons.
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