Monday, January 29, 2001

Ohio colleges hiring lobbyists to get funding

The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — Ohio's universities are enlisting outside lobbyists and consultants to fight for funds at a time when state officials are feeling pressure to spend more on primary and secondary education.

        Universities are afraid they will lose out as state lawmakers look for ways and additional money to fix funding for schools.

        “With ... the total preoccupation with primary and secondary, absolute frustration has driven them to it. It's almost desperation time,” said M.J. Klyn, who retired from the University of Cincinnati after a long career as a staff lobbyist.

        State universities will spend more than $2 million this year on salaries and contracts to lobby their own state government.

        For the first time, two universities have hired outside representatives: lobbyist Tom Green at Youngstown State and GOP superlobbyist Neil Clark at Ohio University, the alma mater he shares with new House Speaker Larry Householder.

        The universities' strategy has been to hire the politically connected. Former lawmakers, legislators' offspring and ex-Cabinet members are on staff at universities around the state.

        In one recent coup, Cleveland State University lured Senate Republican Finance Chairman Roy Ray to serve as its vice president for finance.


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