Although JobsOhio objects — and Gov. John Kasich is likely to do so as well — the Ohio Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure sought by state Auditor Dave Yost that would authorize his office to look over the shoulder of the privatized economic-development entity.
An amendment incorporated into a bill Wednesday would permit the auditor’s office to play a role in outlining the scope of performance audits and give it access to the work papers produced by private accounting firms conducting the audits of the nonprofit.
Republican Yost long has lobbied for increased accountability from and oversight of JobsOhio. The entity was exempted from public-records laws and government oversight when it was created to supplant the state Development Department in 2015 and was granted a lease of the state’s liquor-sales operation to finance its operations.
“JobsOhio is a quasi-public agency that exists to serve a public purpose for Ohioans,” Yost said. “The people of Ohio deserve a seat at the table. This amendment ensures that any performance audit of JobsOhio is completely independent.”
The language, which advances to the House for consideration, would require performance audits of JobsOhio every four years beginning in 2021 under written agreements to include the auditor’s office.