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Ohio's Governornor-elect John Kasich is on the losing end of open record battle

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December 1, 2010

By Eileen McGuire-Mahony

COLUMBUS, Ohio: After maintaining that he would only release the resumes of applicants actually hired by his incumbent administration, Republican Governor-elect John Kasich reversed his stand yesterday.

He now says he will release names and resumes of everyone who applied through his transition website for one of approximately 4,700 jobs he has the authority to fill.

Kasich, speaking at a press conference in Newark, expressed disappointment over the outcome: "Ultimately, I am going to lose this battle. I've tried to figure out a way how to protect these folks, and it is clear from Supreme Court rulings, at least at this point, I'm not going to win."[1]

The transition team, funded by privately raised money, had maintained that its legal status as a non-profit and that fact that Kasich is not yet a sworn-in governor meant the resumes were private. Facing public backlash and potential legal action, and unlikely to have all positions filled by the day of his inauguration, Kasich backed down.

Numerous media outlets had requested the document and at least one newspaper threatened to sue. State Democrats and open-government activist group "Ohio Citizen Action" blasted Kasich on transparency issues, repeatedly pointing to outgoing Governor Tom Strickland's release of all resumes sent to his transition team in 2006.

Kasich had responded by saying he was protecting the privacy of job applicants who might not want current employers to know they were looking for a new job. He has now reiterated that point and asked groups who will soon be in possession of the entire set of documents to be careful in handling the information and to respect the privacy of job seekers.

While Kasich's comments indicate he will not be able to redact names before the resumes are made public, the extent to which private contact information and other sensitive information might be withheld is not immediately known. Right now, the expected date when all material will become public is January 10, 2011, when Kasich is inaugurated.[2]

Kasich's transition site at Fix Ohio Now is still accepting resumes; the page to submit an application has no note indicating the recent change on privacy and still advises applicants they may "securely submit" a resume.[3]