Auditor Dave Yost will check conflicts of interest turned up by the Ohio Ethics Commission among more than a third of JobsOhio officials.
The probe will become part of the state audit of the privatized economic-development agency, a Yost spokeswoman said. Not only will Yost check for conflicts of interest, he will decide whether JobsOhio is following its own policy in dealing with such possible conflicts.
Any findings of conflicts would go back to the ethics commission. Whether the ethics watchdog could do anything is an open question, since Governor John Kasich and the legislature exempted JobsOhio from most state oversight, including by the ethics commission and the state auditor.
The commission found potential conflicts for nine of the twenty-two JobsOhio officials, including six of nine board members.
A JobsOhio spokeswoman said the agency determined there are no problems.
Possible conflicts also were found at the Ohio Ballot Board, Ohio Library Board, and boards of trustees at Columbus State Community College, and Hocking and Marion technical colleges. Out of the 441 filers, 252 (57%) had potential conflicts of interest. Only three groups had no members with a potential conflict.
Under state law, “a potential conflict of interest exists if the private interests of the person, as indicated by the person’s disclosure statement, might interfere with the public interests the person is required to serve in the exercise of the person’s authority and duties in the person’s office or position of employment.”
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