Ohio Politics

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Marietta official promises hiring preference for Republicans

Just two days before Ohio Gov. John Kasich will deliver his State of the State address in Marietta, a local city councilwoman said on her Facebook page that the Ohio Department of Transportation has good paying summer jobs available for high school and college students and that partisanship would be a factor in hiring.

"PM or call me if you know some young person who is interested! (Preference is given to Republican youth on this!)" wrote Cindy Oxender, a Republican on the Marietta City Council. She posted it March 29.

The posting drew one comment from Teresa Asselin-Hayes, who wrote: "It's illegal to give hiring preference based upon political affiliation in employment such as this. You have just opened the door to potential lawsuits."

Oxender did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Marietta Law Director Paul Bertram III said he is trying to reach Oxender to ask her to remove the post from her personal Facebook page. "I haven't had a chance to research the issue but I don't know the legality of that last line," he said.

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Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Matt Bruning said "We hire the most qualified people for these jobs. It's not based on their voting records."

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said: "Apparently, the Kasich administration now applies a partisan test even for summer youth jobs. This is totally inappropriate and should be looked into by the Inspector General."

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