John Kasich left one fiscal mess for Mike DeWine involving depleted funding for highway maintenance and construction. The new governor must address swiftly the shortfall, the transportation budget due soon. And now another bit of Kasich untidiness has emerged. In this case, the new governor acted last week to clean up the matter, restoring money to help counties cover the expense of administering Medicaid.

The sum is relatively small, $4.3 million. Which makes the action of the Kasich team, officials at the state Department of Medicaid as they headed out the door, all the more puzzling. In early January, the department announced a change in the reimbursement formula. The state no longer would cover 75 percent of administrative costs. The share would revert to 50 percent. It had increased five years ago to reflect the added burden of the Medicaid expansion, roughly 1 million newly enrolled in the health care program.

The reduction in funding arrived without consulting counties or providing prior notice. Summit County, for instance, approved its budget for 2019 weeks earlier. The state reported last week that for the current fiscal year, total Medicaid spending is running 4.9 percent, or $825 million, below projections.

The Medicaid expansion was a signal achievement of Kasich as governor. He deserves applause for elevating the lives of the poor and vulnerable. He maneuvered well around his fellow Republicans in charge of the legislature to get there.

Yet there was something else at the forefront of his tenure, his often disdainful regard for local government. Thus, the reimbursement change carries the appearance of a parting shot. At stake for counties is more than the $4.3 million. That revenue can be leveraged to draw additional federal dollars. So, for Summit County, the change translated to a loss of $3 million. For the larger Franklin County, the loss could have exceeded $6 million.

As Summit County officials explained to Jim Mackinnon of the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, such a reduction is the equivalent of 55 jobs. Officials redirected enough county spending to limit the losses in the Department of Job and Family Services to 16 positions with affected employees having the option to fill other county positions. On Friday, the county announced it would go ahead with the reductions even though Gov. DeWine restored the funding.

The concern is the money will be there just through the end of the year. For now, the commitment extends no further.

That doesn’t mean the funding will cease. It still follows that with the increased caseload, from roughly 2 million to 3 million covered by Medicaid, the administrative task requires additional resources. At the least, there should be substantial analysis of the question, something the new state directors of Medicaid and Job and Family Services indicated will be part of moving forward. The state owes counties an explanation of the why behind the reimbursement level.

Gov. DeWine pledged that he would listen to local governments. The two directors reinforced last week the idea of “working closely with our county partners.” In this instance, the governor proved true. He paid attention when county officials raised concerns about the abrupt change in the reimbursement formula. He then set things right by restoring the money for this year. Now state and county officials can have a full and reasoned discussion about how to proceed.