By Jordan Gentile
Enquirer Columbus Bureau
COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday named longtime aide Jonathan Allison his new chief of staff, making him perhaps Ohio's most powerful unelected official.
The promotion came as no surprise. Allison, 36, is Taft's deputy chief of staff and was his communications director when the governor served as Ohio's secretary of state. He will replace Taft's Brian Hicks.
"Jon's wealth of experience in administrative, legal, public affairs and communications makes him the ideal candidate," Taft said.
Hicks enjoyed influence over the governor's political and legislative decisions that some political observers say is rare at the state level.
Taft's office announced Tuesday that Hicks planned to form his own government consulting company and that he would retire by the end of the month.
Asked whether he would interpret his role as broadly as Hicks had, Allison said "in time, I hope to have that kind of influence." He said he has made no plans to make changes as chief of staff.
Taft said Allison's experiences in both public service and private enterprise make him especially qualified in an era when government increasingly relies on the private sector.
Previously, Allison was in charge of two government-consulting firms, including eGovNet, a Columbus-based company that helps state organizations communicate and provide services through the Internet.
Allison began his career as an assistant Columbus city prosecutor and later served as director of labor relations for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in 1994 and 1995. He received his law degree from Ohio State University.
"I'm truly humbled by this experience I'm about to undertake," Allison said.
He lives with his wife and two children in Hilliard, just east of Columbus.
Lollapalooza bands still hit hard with fans
Saks' new look a return to retailer's roots
Wrights' descendants enjoy a famous legacy
West Nile discovered in Butler mosquitoes
IN THE TRISTATE
Finishing Convergys deal could take weeks
County inaugurates new radio system
City Art Museum helps to exhibit city of ancient Jordan
Decision to dismiss ex-cop's defamation lawsuit upheld
Picture of the day: Don't pop, please don't pop
Tristate A.M. Report
PULFER: Teaching girls more than just a game
Some good news
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Closed elementary school up for sale
Indictments in rape, attempted murder cases
Butler site to drop Fox's report
Buses to roll back into Hamilton
Clermont County couple held in bank robbery case
Pierce trustee to seek General Assembly seat
Fairfield group to meet on flood woes
Mother of accused 13-year-old also charged in infant's death
Lakota projects red-ink budget, depletion by '06
Couple sue Mason, builder over flooding
Mason makes plans to spend tax-district $$
Ricketts' defender wants new trial venue
Son's fraternity brings mom solace
Symmes Twp. will take out residents' trash
Warren sees more aid-to-poor requests
Matt Dolan, 30, was family's 'comeback kid'
Taft picks Jonathan Allison to serve as his chief of staff
Roller-coaster record at Cedar Point broken
Springer show a shock to senator
Ohio death row inmate clings to hope
Supplement seller grilled in court
26-year inmate may go free today
Rep. Lucas raking it in for '04 race
Two indicted in murder, dorm arson
Patton agrees state employees can unionize
Covington schools' leader re-signed
Kentucky News Briefs