Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tomalis Probe Demands Continue Emails Policy Also Raises Alarm

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tomalis Probe Demands Continue Emails Policy Also Raises Alarm

Article excerpt

A day after the resignation of Ron Tomalis, special adviser to the governor on higher education, calls continued Wednesday for investigations into whether he was a "ghost employee" and into the state Department of Education's email retention policy.

Officials of Fresh Start PA, a political action coalition that supports the candidacy of Democrat Tom Wolf for governor, called Tuesday for various state agencies to investigate whether Mr. Tomalis was a "ghost employee" who did little or no work for his $139,542 salary and to examine the email retention practices of the education department.

On Wednesday, Fresh Start chairwoman Katie McGinty continued to push Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for those investigations and for the firing of acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq over public statements she made claiming education department employees delete and cleanse their emails each day.

In addition, state Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington County, issued a news release also calling for investigations by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane into Mr. Tomalis' job performance and the education department's email purging practices. "In the interest of good government and transparency, I think it's the right thing to do," Mr. Neuman said.

In response, Jay Pagni, a spokesman for Mr. Corbett, said Wednesday evening that the governor "has full confidence in acting secretary Dumaresq."

If it's within their jurisdiction, agencies have a right to follow up on such calls for inquiry. "Obviously, the administration would cooperate fully," Mr. Pagni said.

The Corbett administration, meanwhile, said Wednesday it does not intend to replace Mr. Tomalis and that instead, his duties will be shifted to existing staffers within the education department, agency spokesman Tim Eller said.

"The secretary will take over the oversight of that," Mr. Eller added.

It's difficult to tell if state agencies are taking up a call for investigations, since most have a policy of neither confirming nor denying whether an investigation is taking place. Spokesmen for the state Office of Inspector General, attorney general and ethics commission all said they could not confirm or deny if their agencies are conducting investigations. …

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