Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel says he’s preserved the state’s top-level credit rating while reducing his budget by $1.2 million with some big and small changes in office operations. Mandel put out a year-end review of his first year in office, in which he touts the AAA rating that Standard and Poor’s gave to Ohio’s $4 billion investment pool that he manages. Critics have said that’s the same rating that the Ohio fund has received for 16 years. But Mandel says given the downgrade that S&P gave to the US economy and the volatile economic climate across the world, this is a big deal.
Mandel is considered the front-runner in the Republican race to run against US Sen. Sherrod Brown this fall. Among his cost-cutting measures, Mandel says the office has gone to an e-banking process and stopping a daily practice of driving checks from Columbus to Cleveland. He’s also saying he squeezed out savings by cutting off unused phone lines, renegotiating cell phone rates and even cancelling the contracts to water the office’s plants.