WEST CHESTER (September 3) – State Senator Andy Dinniman today filed three Right-to-Know requests seeking information from the Department of Education regarding Ron Tomalis and the results of his duties as a special advisor on higher education to the Corbett administration.

Tomalis served as Secretary of Education from January 2011 to May 2013. Soon after resigning, he was named as a special advisor to the governor on higher education, a newly-created post that carried his same $140,000 salary as secretary. Tomalis resigned from his advisor role in August amid allegations that he was a ghost employee.

MP900385355While others are focused whether Tomalis actually showed up to work each day (department officials have pointed to parking records that purport to show that he was physically present), Dinniman said he is more interested in the actual results and outcomes of Tomalis’ duties on higher education. Dinniman said that his efforts to obtain that information have been repeatedly ignored, denied and disregarded by department officials.

“If the work was done, show us the work,” Dininiman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “If time was spent at public expense to review the state of higher education and to implement regulations, certainly legislators and the public have a right to access the work. If it turns out there was no work product, we have a right to know that as well.”

The three Right-to-Know requests seek the following information:

  • The minutes and documents created and utilized by the working group led by Ron Tomalis, Governor Corbett’s former special advisor on higher education, in deliberating the implementation of recommendations issued by the Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education’s 2012 report.
  • The “summary of actions” report created by the Department of Education noting action implemented since Nov. 14, 2012, issuance of the Advisory Commission on Post Secondary Education’s final report. The Department referenced the implemented recommendations in a March 30, 2014, WESA-FM news story. In an e-mail sent to me on April 3, 2014, Department liaison Aaron Shenck informed me that the Department was putting together a “summary of actions” documents listing recommendations implemented since the November 2012 report and that it would be sent to me.
  • The names and titles of the members of the “working group” within the Administration that was led by Ron Tomalis, Governor Corbett’s former special advisor on higher education, to review and implement recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education’s 2012 report. The Department referenced this “working group” in both the WESA-FM news story of March 30, 2014 and in an April 3, 2014 e-mail to me. I seek the names and titles of the members of this group.

Dinniman also wrote a guest column to statewide newspapers and media outlets that is available here.

For more information contact Senator Dinniman’s Office at 610-692-2112.

 

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