House Bill 1 (the Bill), signed by Governor John Kasich on February 18, 2011, authorizes the Governor to form JobsOhio, a nonprofit corporation with the purpose of promoting economic development, job creation and retention, job training and the recruitment of business to Ohio. The board of directors will be comprised of nine members, with the Governor serving as chair of the board and the other eight directors appointed by the Governor.
The Bill requires the Director (Director) of the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) to contract with JobsOhio, as soon as practical, for JobsOhio to assist the Director and ODOD to provide services and carry out functions of ODOD, including the operation of programs, all as determined by the Director in consultation with the Governor. All contracts between the Director and JobsOhio are to be approved by the State Controlling Board prior to execution. ODOD is to retain the function of approval and disapproval of awards. All contracts for grants, loans and tax incentives will be between ODOD and the recipient and enforced by ODOD. JobsOhio is prohibited from executing contracts that obligate ODOD for loans, grants and tax credits or incentive awards recommended by JobsOhio to ODOD.
The Bill specifies that the corporation is not a state agency or public body. Although many provisions applicable to governmental entities do not apply to JobsOhio, the Bill imposes certain requirements with respect to financial disclosures, conflicts of interest and other ethics matters, open meetings and public records. Employees of JobsOhio are not public employees for purposes of the Public Employees Retirement System and collective bargaining laws.
Public money held by JobsOhio is required to be accounted for separately from other funds and may not be commingled with other funds. A chief investment officer of JobsOhio, who will serve at the pleasure of the Governor, will have the power to execute contracts, spend funds and hire employees on behalf of the corporation.
Within six months following the effective date of the Bill, the Director is required to submit a report to the General Assembly recommending statutory changes to improve the functioning and efficiency of ODOD, to transfer specified functions of ODOD to JobsOhio or other existing agencies, or to eliminate designated functions of ODOD.