Contents of e-mail that led to Corbett aide's ouster

Posted: June 16, 2013

HARRISBURG - A Corbett cabinet member's undoing was an e-mail exchange with his wife about last month's falcon-banding event at the Capitol complex.

Gov. Corbett on Thursday announced in a tersely worded news release that he had asked for Richard Allan's resignation as secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He did not identify a reason. The Inquirer reported that Allan, who is white, was fired for having used what could be perceived as racially charged language in an e-mail to describe a black employee in another department.

The May 3 e-mail exchange, a copy of which was released Friday by the Corbett administration, was between Allan and his wife, Patricia. At the time she was policy director for the Department of Environmental Protection, which is separate from the department her husband headed. She has since moved to a post in the Department of State.

In the exchange, Allan and his wife appeared to be grousing over who was to coordinate the state's annual falcon banding event. That event, which involves placing identification bands on baby falcons that nest on a ledge near the main Capitol building, occurred last month.

In one e-mail, Patricia Allan told her husband that she believed one of her colleagues, an African American woman, was trying to make her "look bad." Later in the exchange, she made reference to that colleague's "true colors."

Richard Allan put his reply in capital letters and quotation marks: " 'COLORS!!!!!!!!' " Allan later also referred to the employee, whose name was redacted by the Corbett administration when it made the e-mail exchange public Friday, as a "B ..." That employee later saw a copy of the exchange, which had occurred via the state government's e-mail system, and filed a complaint with administration officials.

Allan is the sixth Corbett cabinet appointee to resign in the last nine months, following the departures of the secretaries of the departments of environmental protection, welfare, health, and education, and the state inspector general.


Contact Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934 or acouloumbis@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @AngelasInk.

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