Sat, Sep 08, 2012
But Ohio Seems To Need A Better Definition Of ‘Official Use’
Republican House Speaker William G. Batchelder of Medina Ohio was asked to reimburse the state for the use of an Ohio Department of Transportation aircraft he used to travel from a private event to the Statehouse, according to an audit of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation released Thursday by state Auditor Dave Yost.
Yost conducted the audit in response to an article that appeared in The Columbus Dispatch newspaper reporting that Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was directed by Governor John Kasich to repay the state $1,039.50 for either being picked up or dropped off by a state-owned aircraft at Akron-Canton Airport, about 6 miles from her home.
But in Yost’s report, he never formally accuses either elected official of misusing the privilege – citing that there was “no objective standard or legal basis” included in state guidelines for flying on state-owned aircraft.
“Some other states have clear rules for the use of their state planes, Ohio does not,” Yost said in a press release. “While planes may play a valuable role in conducting state business, the state ought to define that role.”
Yost said in his report, “there are no policies regarding specific allowable uses for the state plane, other than a general statement on the request form that all state aircraft shall be used for official state business only.”
Additionally, Yost found that the state has three aircraft for executive use, and said that’s too many. He indicated the state could sell its American Eurocopter aircraft for between $625,000 and $1.25 million. The helicopter reportedly flew only five times last year for a total of 13.8 hours, the most underutilized of the three aircraft in Ohio's possession.
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