Attorney Gen. helps instill transparency

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine took a big step toward eliminating one component of “good old boy” politics late last year, although it didn’t come to light locally until after a recent political appointment.

Although it did not get much fanfare or publicity, DeWine issued a ruling in October 2011 that struck a tremendous blow for open government and public accountability.

The attorney general said that votes by political parties’ central committees cannot be done by secret ballot and must be conducted in open meetings. This has required the Lawrence County Republican Party to reappoint Freddie Hayes to the Lawrence County Commission.

Email newsletter signup

Although it will not change the outcome of this appointment, it will certainly impact the way these situations are handled in the future.

Ultimately, the central committee men and women are acting as proxy voters for citizens when they appoint key government officials or elected representatives. This will help hold them more accountable and clearly outline to voters how appointees were put in place.

For many years, there has been some question in Ohio whether or not central committees were even public bodies. This ruling helps clarify that as well.

It will also ensure that central committee members are honest with those seeking appointments.

These are key decisions being made on behalf of Ohio’s citizens. Transparency only strengthens that system.