The Department of Education has hired the husband of Gov. John Kasich’s chief of staff to a new position that will oversee the expansion of school choice in Ohio.
David J. Hansen, former president of the conservative Buckeye Policy Institute and husband to Kasich’s chief of staff Beth Hansen, is the state’s first executive director for the office of quality school choice and funding.
That’s the opening of an August 29, 2013 Columbus Dispatch article announcing David Hansen’s hiring at his current position with the state education department. There is a surprising amount to break down there, and this week, we’re just going to focus on two of those words: “new” and “first.”
On January 5, 2012, Cleveland public radio ran a story on the region’s on-going school funding crisis. In it they interviewed Eric Bode, an Ohio Department of Education official, who was credited thusly:
Eric Bode is the executive director of the Office of Quality School Choice and Funding.
This is the exact job title that a year and a half later, Hansen was reported in the Dispatch article to be the “first” to hold, as it was a “new position.” Less anyone think that there was a mix-up in the reporting of that story, a January 2012 newsletter from the Ohio Department of Education also credits Eric Bode as Executive Director of the Office of Quality School Choice and Funding. Bode is also given the same title in a May 20, 2012 wire story. Nowhere is he mentioned as holding the position on an interim basis.
Even more baffling is a “Message Concerning Financial Data” from the Ohio Department of Education that is dated December 12, 2013. It concludes, “Questions regarding these data should be directed to Eric Bode, executive director, Office of Quality School Choice and Funding at firstname.lastname@example.org.” How is it possible that 3 and a half months after Hansen took the position, people in that department still weren’t clear who was in charge?
Spokespeople from Gov. Kasich’s office and the education board were quoted in the Dispatch article. Was there a deliberate effort by either to mislead the Dispatch reporters into erasing the tenure of Hansen’s predecessor?
For what it is worth, Bode currently has a senior position at Ohio State University and has resume that would seem to more than qualify him to hold Hansen’s position. Was he always serving in an interim capacity, but never billed as such? Even if that is true, it doesn’t make sense for the state to take over 20 months to fill the position, unless Bode was in fact, just keeping the seat warm for Hansen.