Medina Gazette: Medina joins state's fiscal transparency effort
By Bob Finnan
August 30, 2017
MEDINA — Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said the biggest benefit to the OhioCheckbook.com program is that it “removes any palace intrigue.”
Mandel was on hand for a news conference Tuesday at city hall announcing Medina had joined the statewide initiative.
“We have nothing to hide,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.
Medina’s online checkbook includes 76,000 individual transactions that represent more than $215 million in total spending over the last four years.
OhioCheckbook.com was launched Dec. 2, 2014, and Seville enrolled in 2015, but its spending wasn’t being uploaded to OhioCheckbook.com.
A motion was filed to drop the fiscal transparency program, but Seville Councilwoman Kathy Rhoades advocated for it at a recent Village Council meeting and Council voted to remain with the program. Rhoads received a personal invitation from Mandel to join the news conference.
“Of the 88 counties in Ohio, Kathy Rhoads is one of the people who is at the pointy tip of the spear,” he said.
“She is advocating for transparency. She is a standout not only in Medina County, but the entire state of Ohio.”
“It was very nice of them to invite me,” Rhoads said. “I think the program is extremely important.”
More than a dozen Medina County government or school entities have agreed to post their financial records.
“From our little corner in Columbus, Ohio, we’re leading a national effort to shine some light on spending,” Mandel said. “We’re setting a national standard for fiscal transparency and how to empower taxpayers to hold politicians’ feet to the fire.
“This initiative is about empowering taxpayers to hold politicians accountable. It’s about transferring the power from the politicians to the people.”
Mandel said 1,203 local governments have committed to partnering with OhioCheckbook.com. The Republican is seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Sherrod, D-Cleveland, in November.