A raft of state agencies will have to justify their existence in the coming months as the Sunset Review Committee prepares to evaluate their missions and efficacy.
The nine-member committee is charged with gathering information on state boards, commissions, committees, councils “ or any other similar state public body required to be established pursuant to state statutes for the exercise of any function of the state government and to which members are appointed or elected,” according to its authorizing statute.
Rep. Allan Sayre (D-Dover) chairs the committee, which comprises three appointees each of the House speaker, Senate president and governor. Those three officials cannot appoint more than two members from the same political party.
Other legislative members of the committee are Reps. Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) and Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown) and Sens. Karen Gillmor (R-Tiffin), Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) and Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). Gov. Ted Strickland’s appointees are John Kulewicz, Necol Russell-Washington and Karl Schneider.
The Sunset Review Committee last met in 2004, recommending abolition of 34 agencies and retention of 203. The committee at that time also voted to begin the review process anew in 2009, with a report due next year with recommendations of which agencies to keep and which to eliminate. All of the committee’s recommendations must then be enacted by the full General Assembly.
State agencies are required to submit reports to the Sunset Review Committee on their function, past and anticipated budgets, funding sources, workload, membership and staff.
“Each agency shall have the burden of demonstrating to the committee a public need for its continued existence,” the authorizing statute states. Committee members are directed to make recommendations based on criteria such as cost effectiveness, transparency and redundancy. Review criteria are listed in section 101.86 of the Revised Code.
The committee will meet Tuesday to begin its first set of hearings.