Every now and again, the office of the Ohio inspector general (Randall Meyer) has an interesting news release posted on the state taxpayer-funded website, www.ohio.gov.

Such was the case this month when the OIG had reason to believe that the Ohio Department of Administrative Services may have violated state purchasing policies by ignoring the open bidding process. It’s a good lesson for those at all levels of government who are entrusted with following the proper procedures.

The Department of Administrative Services allegedly failed to comply with state and departmental rules and policies, lacked adequate rules, failed to enforce rules and failed to exercise adequate oversight of state contracting, the OIG said.

The report has been forwarded to the office of the honorable Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, which is conducting a separate investigation of IT contracting at the department.

Earlier this month, we reported that the OIG released an investigation accusing DAS chief information officer Stuart Davis of violating ethics laws when he allegedly solicited $37,000 from a state vendor to sponsor his speech at an information-technology conference in Cincinnati in 2013.

For anyone born in Baltimore, this “pattern of public service” brings to mind former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.

Good ol’ Theodore, as governor of Maryland, realized that Cash is King. Granted, he was forced to resign as Nixon’s VP because of corruption charges that stemmed from his time as governor. Still, one ought to expect one’s potentially corrupt public officials to take some reasonable measures to avoid getting caught.

Cash is good. Checks are not.

To its credit, The Columbus Dispatch (and Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire) have been ahead of many state officials – from the governor to the Assembly – on this latest chapter of what passed for “public service” in the Buckeye State.

It will be interesting to see where it goes – if anywhere – in 2018.

‘Everyone listens to the
president, and he’s dangerous’


Jonathan Bernstein, a Bloomberg View columnist and former instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University, has an interesting column this month about President Trump, headlined “Everyone listens to the president, and he’s dangerous.”

Well, a president ought to at least have the potential for danger, shouldn’t he? After all, no one ever said “Danger” was Obama’s middle name.

That said, two of several valid points that Bernstein makes are these:

• “Trump seemed to believe during the campaign that ‘being presidential’ was a question of demeanor and facial expression, and that it was all just symbolic nonsense anyway. But that’s simply not true. Whatever comes out of the president’s mouth, especially in public, has an importance that things said by practically anyone else in the nation don’t.”

• “Everyone in politics, at home and abroad, listens to what presidents say and do. It counts. It sets policy. It establishes the president’s professional reputation, which is always being carefully evaluated by those who have to deal with the president, from bureaucrats to members of Congress to foreign politicians. And it creates a kind of truth in the world, even if the truth consists, as it often does with Trump, of falsehoods.”

Bernstein concludes that (Trump) “shoots off his mouth (and his Twitter finger) constantly, seemingly oblivious that it has real effects that it never had when he was just a reality television star. And he, and the nation, are constantly paying the price.”

It’s an interesting column. And there’s never any shortage of material for those so inclined to spend four years (maybe eight?!) writing about the Tweety Bird – either in defense of Tweety or in wistful support of Sylvester.

Sufferin’ succotash…

Linus understands what
Christmas is all about


Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

– Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz)

“Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about,” his trusted pal Linus Van Pelt answered by reciting from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2, Verses 8-14:

“And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid.

“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.’

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus said.

I suppose that I have watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at least a hundred times. That little message from the blanket-toting Linus always steals the show. (And, yes, for the record, I have been a “blockhead” a time or two in my life for having brought home the proverbial Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I’ve also been known to carry in a 12-foot pine tree for a living room with a 10-foot ceiling.)

We’ve always managed, though. We’ve always managed to celebrate the Christmas season with family and friends and, on occasion, total strangers. It was nothing unusual for my parents to deliver a meal to someone or invite someone over to our house who had no place to go on Christmas day. Some of their names and faces I can still remember, some I cannot.

But the message was clear. Help others when you can.

Granted, there were times when we could barely help ourselves. We’ve had our share of modest Christmases. So what? We always had our family, our friends and our faith.

Today, we consider our readers, advertisers and contributing writers to be among our family and friends. As I said here four or five years ago, there are at least two irrefutable facts about this family business:

1. Many, many people have contributed to The Highland County Press.

2. I can’t even begin to acknowledge everyone, but I do thank you. I won’t forget, either.

Without our loyal readers and advertisers, what we do would not be possible. We take great satisfaction in the fact that nine out of every 10 of our advertisers from our first year are still with us. Thank you.

Merry Christmas, everyone, and thanks for reading. We do appreciate it, and we’ll never lose sight of the fact that what we do is more about all of you than any of us. (Additional holiday greetings will appear on Page 5 and Pages 8-13 of the Dec. 23 Highland County Press. We hope you enjoy them and support those many businesses who support our community.)

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.