Oversight needed on state contracts

Using government initiatives meant to help members of minorities to earn a quick, shady buck is not an uncommon practice. It is uncovered from time to time all over the country.

It should not be tolerated in Ohio.

Last week, state Inspector General Randall Meyer released a report critical of the Department of Administrative Services. Meyer’s concern is about how the agency handles state contracts meant to go to minority-owned businesses.

A 2017 investigation by The Columbus Dispatch Triggered Meyer’s own examination of the system. He found that a company that had been qualified for minority-owned contracts had no employees and did no work itself. Instead, from January 2015 through August 2017, the company paid other firms more than $12 million to execute the contracts — but was paid more than $15 million by the state.

Obviously, that is not how state legislators intended the initiative to work. Better oversight is needed to ensure fraudulent shell companies do not take money meant for minority-owned businesses.