Nothing like a mysterious disappearance to get our minds off Ohio’s miserable political situation and Ohio State’s one-sided loss to Michigan.

On Tuesday, broke the story that OSU President Kristina Johnson would be departing in the spring with more than two years to go on her contract that pays her upwards of $1 million in salary and benefits. The article contained a curious reference to staff complaints leading to an investigation by the trustees leading to her requested departure.

Of course, nobody is talking for the record. The OSU trustees are notoriously closed-mouthed about such matters despite keen public interest in the inner workings of Ohio Land Grant University.

Perhaps a complaining staff member will come forward and spill the beans, but it could mean risking one’s livelihood if outed.

The leaves what is left of the news media that regularly covers the Capitol City and its signature university.

Many of the reporters who might break the whodunit story are connected to OSU in some way, shape or form and dare not bite the hand that feeds them.

Only the reporters for and its Gannett affiliates and for are in position to delve into the mystery and share the truth of Johnson’s departure with the public.

I doubt we ever find out.

Truth is the OSU faithful is more concerned about OSU Head Football Coach Ryan Day’s inability to beat Michigan. Sports reporters are digging deep on the topic.

Johnson had more then her share of controversies including the student wrestlers abused by team doctor Richard Strauss seeking their day in court, the pandemic, the outbreak in crime on and near campus, and ongoing concerns about race, diversity, and inclusion on campus.

Did one or more of the above cause him to resign or was it something more pedestrian like not doing enough favors for a powerful OSU patron?

Gerrymanderers Outfox Retiring Chief Justice

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor was done in by her age and by the Gerrymanderers on her way out the door.

Forced to step aside because she turned 70, O’Connor thought she could strike a blow for fair districts during her last year in office. After all, Ohio voters has passed constitutional amendments, supposedly mandating fairly drawn districts that reflected Ohio’s voting composition, that was determined to be 54%-46% Republicans over Democrats.

However, Republicans controlled the redistricting panel by 5-2 and used every legal technicality in the book and every political subterfuge imaginable to flaunt the will of the public.

O’Connor and the three Democrats on the court teamed up to forge a majority that rejected the panel’s maps time after time, only to see the next proposal just as Republican-biased as the last one.

By statue, the court could not draw the maps itself, but only reject those it found biased, which was every map presented by the GOP-dominated panel.

The Republican majority simply ran out the clock until its final offering took effect just in time for the primary elections, all two of them.

O’Connor and her allies had only one true power over the panel consisting of Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, State Auditor Keith Faber, two Republican legislators and two Democratic legislators. It was the power of holding them in contempt for failing to live up to the terms of the two constitutional amendments to enact fair districts.

On at least two occasions, O’Connor ordered the seven members to show cause as to why they should not be held on contempt, but she and the three Democrats could not bring themselves to hold the five Republicans in contempt, haul them before the court, fine them and even jail them.

The TV coverage of DeWine, LaRose and Faber being marched off to jail would have severely damaged their re-election campaigns. Yet they deserved to be held accountable for their intransigence.

O’Connor refused to pull the contempt trigger. She let them get away it.


-U.S. Rep Tim Ryan, who lost the U.S. Senate race by 6 percent, issued a post-election statement saying that he would remain in politics. No details were supplied. One would hope that he will stay active in Ohio, where be built a large following, and think real hard about running for governor in 2026.

-Blue Ohio, the brainchild of David Pepper, raised a lot of money and did a lot of good by putting much of that dough into underfunded Democratic candidates for the Ohio Legislature. It has over 1,100 members making monthly contributions to help candidates. It may be doing more for the cause than the Ohio Democratic Party these days.

-Speculation is running rampant over who the next OSU president will be. Former Gov. John Kasich would like to be next kingpin. Not a chance in hell, Johnny Nobody.

-Urban Meyer’s name keeps popping up for major coaching vacancies. He’ll stay in the Fox broadcast booth unless Ryan Day bids OSU adieu. Urb might be willing to do it second time around, especially since ex-OSU President Michael Drake, who did Meyer in, is long gone.

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,