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Ohio


JobsOhio audit questions ethics pledges and $60,000 in spending
But overall, it finds no major problems beyond what's expected of most first-year startups
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
Yost speaking to reporters when the JobsOhio audit law was amended.
Courtesy of Ohio Public Radio
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In The Region:

State Auditor Dave Yost has completed his audit of the state’s privatized job creation agency, JobsOhio. As Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, it doesn’t reveal any big problems. But it doesn’t say everything has been handled correctly either.

LISTEN: JOBSOHIO audit and risks

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LISTEN: Yost on audits to come

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Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s report comes after a long fight with state leaders and the Legislature.

“This has been a difficult audit. And you know, there was some arm wrestling along the way.”

But the findings of Yost’s audit don’t reveal any major wrongdoing. The report looked at JobsOhio during 2012 and did find some problems with the way the organization handled issues.

But overall, “what we found is on the control side is consistent with what you might find in a first year start up corporation.”

No receipts for $60,000
The audit raises questions about $60,000 JobsOhio spent for which there are no receipts. It also finds some JobsOhio directors failed to sign ethical conduct pledges. But it also finds that there were no problems uncovered as a result of not having those pledges in place.

“The fact of the matter remains that had there been one, the then-existing processes could not have been counted on to detect it or resolve it.”

For its part, JobsOhio Board Chairman Jim Boland says he’s pleased that the report was positive and largely identified minor discrepancies that are not uncommon during a company’s first year in business.

Defining "haphazard"
Yost says his office “haphazardly selected” 28 project files to review.  That’s a point that Yost’s opponent next fall, Democratic State Rep. Jon Patrick Carney, seized upon when he was asked his take on Yost’s audit.

 “He took a haphazard approach to doing his job.  And that is disappointing considering that taxpayers are paying his salary along with every person who is employed at the auditor’s office.  It is not acceptable to take a haphazard approach to doing your job.”

Yost also says he used the word “haphazardly” in the report to mean something different than what Carney inferred. “What we mean colloguially … is “random.”  Now random has a specific statistical meaning so the accountants used the word “haphazard,” but what they mean is they picked some stuff to look at without any particular rhyme or reason.”

Carney says Yost could have had access to more complete documents to review if he would have acted immediately instead of waiting for the new law went into effect that restricts Yost’s control over the JobsOhio audits.

“He has essentially sat on his hands while he did have access to documents and information.” Carney says Yost gave into the governor and Legislature with this audit by not delving deeper into the specifics of the agency.

A seat at the table -- in the corner
Yost says that’s not true. And while he acknowledges he’s never going to be able to do an audit like this one in the future because of the new law, Yost notes he will have a part in helping to deal with private audits prescribed by law in the future.

Will he be able to demand enough transparency to detect possible future problems?

“This report is a pretty detailed look under the hood, what was happening in 2012.  Going forward, there is a process in place. It’s kind of asking a mechanic what’s wrong with my car before the mechanic looks at the car. I’ll have to get back with you on that.”

Yost says he will be taking as active a role as the new law allows when it comes to monitoring JobsOhio.

“I don’t have the directive hand here.  I just have one seat at the table, probably over in the cormer.”

 

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