Ohio Auditor

photo of Keith Faber and Dennis Hetzel
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Under Ohio’s Public Records law, many local and state government records must be provided to the public, upon request. There is a mediation program in place to resolve disputes over what is and isn’t a public record. The state official in charge of that program wants to expand it.

State Auditor Keith Faber says he wants to expand the mediation program so it includes meetings as well as public records.

Photo of marijuana leaves
JO INGLES / OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, December 14:

photo of financial stress map
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state auditor finds signs of fiscal stress continue for several cities his office first warned in December. The analysis indicates some of those cities, including Akron and Canton, could now be on the verge of a fiscal emergency.

Seven cities are under fiscal stress in Auditor Dave Yost’s financial health indicator report. They include Akron, Canton and one of the wealthiest communities in the state, Powell in Delaware County. Nine other cities are very close to being put in that category.

Ohio Public Radio

The auditor is considered the top taxpayer watchdog, reviewing the books and doing efficiency audits for thousands of units of state and local government. And the office is up for grabs this year, as are all five of the statewide executive offices.

Cordray and President Obama
WHITE HOUSE ARCHIVES

Here are your morning headlines for Friday, September 14:

  • Ohio school districts mostly average in report card rankings;
  • Obama rallies Ohioans to vote;
  • Auditor reports multiple errors in medical marijuana growing selections;
  • About 100 people to become U.S. citizens this weekend
  • Thousands of Ohio schools respond to survey on safety measures;

Ohio school districts mostly average in report card rankings

Voting booth at a polling place
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

The Labor Day weekend is traditionally considered the true start of campaign season. Now that we're past that, the campaigns are intensifying.  It's the time when voters are more likely to pay attention to the choices they will be making in November.

One person who keeps tabs on what’s going on year-round in the world of politics is longtime political watcher and political reporter for WVXU in Cincinnati Howard Wilkinson.

Photo of Zach Space at the Akron Press Club
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU public radio

State auditor candidate Zack Space is detailing his plan to investigate the charter school scandal involving the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

Space says he would create the “Stop Charter Abuse and Malfeasance Unit,” which would investigate how much charter schools overbill taxpayers and how for-profit management companies spend the money.

Photo of Zach Space at the Akron Press Club
ANDREW MEYER / WKSU public radio

The Democrat hoping to be Ohio’s next auditor calls ECOT the prime example of the corrupting influence of money in Ohio politics. And Zack Space says the current auditor could have done something about it long before millions of dollars were lost. For Ohio Public Radio, WKSU’s ML. Schultze has more from his speech to the Akron Press Club today.

A photo of Sen. Bill Coley, Republican, Sponsor of the legislation.
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio lawmakers are now weighing in with a proposed fix for problems with the process being used by the state Commerce Department in the medical marijuana program. 

Republican Sen. Bill Coley says his legislation gives Ohio’s auditor 30 days to do a full performance audit of growers’ license applications, then gives the department another month to correct problems.

“By doing this, we can remove any clouds of suspicion or impropriety or any suggestions or innuendo of impropriety.”

AUDITOR DAVID YOST
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s Auditor says it’s probably too late for the state Department of Commerce to pause its medical marijuana processes to fix problems. He’s telling the department to focus now instead on defending lawsuits.

Back in December, just days after it was discovered that the state hired a man with a felony drug conviction to score medical marijuana applications, Auditor Dave Yost called for the process to stop.

photo of Larry Obhof
OHIO SENATE

News that Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger is considering a run for state Auditor has made the GOP primary for that office more interesting. If he runs, he will likely face former state Senate President Keith Faber.

Both Rosenberger and Faber have allies in the Legislature. Still, the man who succeeded Faber as Senate president, Larry Obhof, says he doesn’t think that will pose a problem for state lawmakers.

Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau

The term-limited leader of the Ohio House of Representatives is thinking about running for a statewide office.

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger says he’s thinking about running for state auditor.

“Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve had a lot of conversations of folks across the state and I’ve been very humbled and appreciate their calls and I’m seriously considering it at this point.”

photo of Dave Yost
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

An audit of a Southern Ohio correctional facility has found 11 directors and employees used conferences as a way to cover self-indulgent expenditures.

Auditor Dave Yost says the employees of the STAR Community Justice Center in Scioto County forged some transactions and spent more than $20,000 on out-of-state trips and bar tabs in 2013.

photo of Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s auditor is warning more than a dozen cities and counties that they could be on the verge of a fiscal emergency. 

The financial health indicators report breaks down Ohio’s local governments by assigning a red, green or yellow for 17 different categories. A county or city that gets too many reds or yellows is considered to be at high risk for fiscal emergency.

Photo of Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s auditor is suggesting a way for the Bureau of Workers Compensation to save money. As Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles explains, the report suggests the agency raise its rent in a key building.

The BWC headquarters is in a big building in downtown Columbus, within a 5-minute walk of the Statehouse. Some space in the building is leased to five other state agencies and commissions, at a cost of  about $4-per-square foot. That's less than the average market rate at other properties in downtown Columbus.

Photo of Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state auditor is standing by his concerns about the oversight of charter schools by the Ohio Department of Education, an agency he said two weeks ago is among the worst in state government. 

Auditor Dave Yost has been a critic of charter school attendance and transparency. And he says he met with incoming state school superintendent Paolo DeMaria last week.

ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The state auditor has conducted another surprise head count to find out if charter school attendance records matched the number of students actually sitting at their desks or computers.

Auditor Dave Yost has said he wants to keep tabs on charter schools and their reported attendance, since those schools get state funding based on the number of students they have enrolled and attending classes.

Photo of Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

The auditor of state has the power to look over the books of college and university foundations, according to Ohio’s attorney general.  Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that opinion comes over the objections of three universities.

Photo of Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A high-ranking state official is blasting a reported deal between the Ohio Department of Education and those involved in a school data-scrubbing scandal. 

When Auditor Dave Yost released his report on the Columbus City Schools data-rigging scheme two years ago, he said administrators created a culture of manipulation and employee intimidation.