Last week I stated the following:
With word yesterday that Strickland's head of the Ohio School Facilities Commission is pushing unions to exclusively score contracts, one has to wonder when all of these dirty tactics will catch up with them. It has to only be a matter of time, right?Apparently that was more true than I ever imagined.
A report in the Sunday Columbus Dispatch stated that the Director of the OSFC is being investigated by the Ohio Inspector General.
Two months after being chosen by Gov. Ted Strickland to lead the Ohio School Facilities Commission, Richard Murray attended the school board meeting in the small Ohio River district of New Boston.
The message he delivered: Your building project has problems, but if you use union labor, they will go away, according to New Boston Superintendent Mike Staggs.
Now, Ohio Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is digging into the case to determine whether Murray has crossed any lines by pushing for districts to use union labor through project labor agreements, according to several people interviewed by state investigators.
Strickland appointees just can't stay out of trouble, can they?
But this one takes the cake.
It highlights one of the most obnoxious abuses of power for political gain that we've seen from Ohio Democrats in a long time.
In the most recent campaign finance report, we learned that nearly half of Ted Strickland's entire take came from special interest organizations, with a large number of those being big labor unions.
And now it couldn't be more clear why that happened.
In exchange for contributions, Ted Strickland and his appointees agree to abuse the system in order to help unions get state contracts.
How bad did it get?
Elaine Barnes quit her job as green schools program manager this year partly because of what she described as Murray's unwritten rules to help unions.
"I think it's just borderline criminal what's going on," Barnes said.
"The last thing I'm going to do is spend my energy on projects where the rug is constantly being pulled on people. It was really decimating the morale of the design-construction team," she said. "Everybody knew what was going on, but nobody spoke about it. It felt nefarious. ... The entire executive staff was running around like scared chickens."
This woman, a self-professed liberal, quit her job because she couldn't accept behavior she described as "criminal". And if you're quitting your job in the middle of Ohio's job crisis, that must take some guts.
But let's take a step back and figure out why this happened in the first place. For that we go to the firing of the last Executive Director of the OSFC, Michael Shoemaker.
And back in August of 2009, Dennis Willard explained why:
Sources told the Beacon Journal that Shoemaker angered unions and construction companies that hire union workers because the executive director would not bend the rules to ensure prevailing-wage clauses were part of every awarded contract. Minutes from commission meetings support this assertion.
Sounds familiar, eh?
The unions and the construction companies that employ them contribute large sums of money to candidates, and there has been considerable speculation that Strickland canned Shoemaker to appease big-money men.
The governor and Haseley might not appreciate this connection, but they must expect that the void created by silence will be filled with innuendo and rumor.
And now we no longer have innuendo and rumor. We have hard evidence provided by the school districts effected by Strickland's overwhelming desire to "appease big-money men".
This is politics at its worst.
Strickland is abusing his office to financially benefit political allies while damaging not only the livelihood of Ohioans looking for work, but also children needing a roof over their heads to learn.