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First created in 1917, the Controlling Board provides legislative oversight over certain capital and operating expenditures by state agencies and has approval authority over various other state fiscal activities including:

  • Waivers of competitive selection to agencies when an agency's purchases or leases from a specific vendor exceed the amounts specified in law
  • Appropriation releases for capital construction projects
  • Loans and grants made through the Department of Development
  • Loans and subsidies made through the Department of Education to local school districts
  • The transfer of appropriation authority between line items within a fund in an agency and increases in appropriation authority in some funds

The Board meets approximately every two weeks to consider and vote on requests for action that are submitted by state agencies.

The Board consists of Seven members

  • The Director of Budget and Management, or designee (the President of the Board)
  • The Chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives
  • The Chair of the Finance Committee of the Senate
  • Two members of the House appointed by the Speaker of the House, one from the majority party and one from the minority party
  • Two members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate, one from the majority party and one from the minority party



The Controlling Board was first created in the General Appropriations Act of 1917. Until 1969, the Board consisted of the governor, the attorney general, the auditor and the chairpersons of the Ohio House and Senate Finance Committees.

Its original composition, involving three statewide elected officials from the executive branch as well as a representative of each legislative chamber, dispersed the authority and required consensus to make decisions on matters over which the Board had authority (primarily minor budget changes and waivers of competitive selection). In fact, four votes (a supermajority) were required to approve appropriations transfers.

In 1969, the composition of the Board was altered almost to its present form with seven members. The governor was referenced as the chairman, although the law allowed the Director of Finance or an employee of the Department of Finance appointed by the governor to preside over the Board. The Department of Finance was the predecessor to the current Office of Budget and Management (OBM). In addition, the two finance committee chairpersons as well as one majority and one minority member from each legislative chamber appointed by the leader of each chamber made up the membership of the Board.

In 1975, the 111th General Assembly established the Board in statute. It was at this time that the Director of Finance (now the Director of OBM) or his or her designee was specified as President of the Board.

Authority Duties

In 1917, the primary duties of the Board were similar to the current duties in transferring appropriation authority between line items within an agency and granting waivers of competitive selection. Appropriations transfers required a supermajority of five members to be approved. Waivers only required a simple majority of the Board.

Over its history, the Board has been viewed as a convenient way to exercise legislative oversight of executive actions. Thus the powers of the Board have been expanded into areas beyond those contained in the Board's original authorization. Recent history demonstrates that the Board's authority often is expanded as a reaction to the legislature's perceptions of inappropriate behavior on the part of the executive branch.

The last significant expansion of Controlling Board authority was made to include all leases above a certain threshold dollar value made by state government.This change was made in reaction to the scandal at the time surrounding perceived political favoritism in the awarding of telecommunication equipment lease/purchases. More detail about the array of Controlling Board duties can be found in other sections of this manual. 

Who is the Controlling Board?

About the Members

Section 127.12 of the Revised Code establishes the Controlling Board as a body consisting of seven members: the Director of the Office of Budget and Management or an employee of the Office of Budget and Management designated by the Director, the Chairs of the Senate and House Finance Committees, a majority member appointed from both the Senate and the House, and a minority member appointed from both the Senate and the House.

Who is the President

Section 127.13 of the Revised Code provides that the Director of the Office of Budget and Management or a designee of the director shall serve as President of the Controlling Board. Traditionally, the designee has served as a deputy director of the Office of Budget and Management. The President chairs the Board meetings. Practically speaking, as a representative of the executive branch, the President acts in the interest of the administration by determining which requests are to be presented to the Board for consideration and by working with agencies to help ensure the approval of agency requests. The President is required to publish the agenda and provide all supporting documentation relative to matters before the Board to its members and the Legislative Service Commission at least seven days prior to the meeting. The Board may adopt rules to authorize the President to act on its behalf in exigent circumstances affecting the public health, safety or welfare.

Who is the Secretary

Section 127.13 of the Revised Code also establishes an employee of the Office of Budget and Management as Secretary of the Board. This person has the duties of assisting the President, keeping records of each request and the Board's disposition of that request, and certifying to each Board member and the Director of OBM a copy of the record of the Board's actions. The Secretary works with the President and other Controlling Board staff to coordinate the review of all requests; this includes tracking and distributing requests, technical review, and maintaining record files. The Secretary also works closely with the Office of State Purchasing in DAS to ensure that agencies submitting requests have followed necessary procurement procedures and with the State Accounting section of OBM to facilitate the encumbering process related to items approved by the Board. Any questions or issues involving forms, Controlling Board procedures, scheduling a request, revising requests, or obtaining copies of requests or agendas should be first directed to the Secretary.

Members Involved in the Work

Agency Staff

Controlling Board requests are prepared by state agencies. Staff of state departments are responsible for responding to any requests for information made by OBM as well as explaining their requests at Board meetings and responding to Board members' questions. Agencies that bring large numbers of requests to the Board typically have individuals exclusively assigned to work on Board business. Controlling Board activity required by agencies less frequent requests are generally handled by the agency's fiscal office.

Analysts of the Office of Budget and Management (OBM)

With regard to Controlling Board requests, OBM budget analysts provide fiscal and policy analysis assistance to the President. In setting the agenda, the President relies on the knowledge and insights of the analysts to determine whether a request is appropriate from an executive branch perspective, meets the intent of the legislature, and whether revisions or refinements are required. Analysts review all Controlling Board requests for substantive issues and work with agencies to ensure that the intent and impact of the requests are understood. The OBM debt coordinator analyst reviews and approves requests involving capital appropriations. Analysts may consult the legal, accounting, and financial experts within OBM in order to facilitate the review of requests. Agencies typically maintain good communications with their budget analysts regarding all fiscal issues. Agency staff preparing requests should contact their budget analysts with questions or issues they might have, especially with regards to policy considerations and fiscal or financial implications.

Legislative Service Commission (LSC) and Legislative Staff

Six of the seven Board members are legislators. They require assistance in analyzing and understanding items on the agenda. The staff of the Legislative Budget Office review agency requests to ensure that the agency is meeting the legislative intent of the General Assembly in regard to program goals and appropriation levels as included in the appropriation acts of the General Assembly. This review also includes ensuring that the agency is in compliance with Controlling Board regulations and procedures. Generally, House and Senate aides to the Controlling Board members review the requests concurrently with LSC. The LSC staff typically provides written comments, referred to as 'green sheets', on certain requests. The comments can summarize complex or precedent-setting items, analyze substantive concerns about the request, or provide additional information to the Board members. Legislative Service Commission liaisons to each of the four caucuses provide additional assistance to the members.

Office of Budget and Management: State Accounting Section

Prior to Controlling Board approval, all supplier information relating to a forthcoming Controlling Board request should be entered into and accepted by the Ohio Administrative Knowledge System (OAKS). For assistance in providing a Payee federal tax identification information, contact the Supplier Operations section of OBM. Upon Controlling Board approval, State Accounting personnel review financial information and enter it into OAKS. Questions on encumbering funds for requests involving waivers of competitive selection should be directed to the Financial Services section of OBM. Technical questions regarding requests involving appropriations (such as releases, transfers, and fund creations) should also be directed to the Financial Services section of OBM.

Divisions of the Department of Administrative Services

Insofar as various divisions of DAS play a part in the purchasing process and in capital improvements, their involvement is required in a variety of situations. The Division of Computer Services is involved in procurement decisions regarding computer equipment and software and those purchases made through a request for proposal process. The Division of State Purchasing is involved in most major purchasing processes and must grant a release and permit to an agency before an agency may request a waiver of competitive selection from the Board. The Bureau of Real Estate is involved in state agency land purchases and facility leases that require competitive selection waivers. The State Architect's Office is involved in architect selection processes and overseeing many capital construction projects for state agencies and institutions of higher education.

Director of Budget and Management

The Director is the statutory President of the Board, although in accordance with the statute, he or she traditionally designates this duty to a deputy director of OBM. However, the Board, as well as certain uncodified law provisions, delegate to the director certain duties that otherwise fall to the board. For instance, under Section 127.14 of the Revised Code, the Controlling Board has authorized the OBM Director to approve certain requests for small transfers of appropriations between line items within the same fund within a fiscal year. The OBM director may also approve the release of capital funds for certain projects designated by the director as specific projects.

Board Meetings

The Board is required by Section 127.13 of the Revised Code to meet at least once a month, and generally, meetings are held every other Monday throughout the year. The schedule of meeting dates is published each October for the next calendar year and is available from the Controlling Board Office. The President may schedule emergency meetings to address issues needing immediate attention.

Since the Controlling Board calendar may deviate from time to time due to state holidays, it is essential to consult the published Controlling Board schedule to determine the exact date of its meetings. Typically, regularly scheduled Controlling Board meetings are held in the North Hearing Room of the Statehouse Senate Office Building and begin at 1:30 P.M.

The Board is authorized by statute to adopt procedural rules for the conduct of its meetings and may approve, disapprove, modify as to dollar amount, or defer any request that comes before it. In addition, the Board may require that certain matters, delineated in the statute, be added to its agenda. Approval by the Board requires at least four affirmative votes.