Did a no-show just get up and go?

MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS Ron Tomalis left his post as secretary of education to become an education adviser to Gov. Corbett, but he kept the same salary.
MATT ROURKE / ASSOCIATED PRESS Ron Tomalis left his post as secretary of education to become an education adviser to Gov. Corbett, but he kept the same salary.
Posted: August 14, 2014

RON TOMALIS, Gov. Corbett's controversial secretary of education-turned-special adviser, will resign his post in two weeks.

The state Department of Education issued that news yesterday just as supporters of Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for governor, called for the resignation of Tomalis and Carol Dumaresq, the acting secretary of education.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette raised questions last month about what work was being done by Tomalis, who quit the top post in the Department of Education 15 months ago, but retained his $140,000 salary as a special adviser to Corbett on higher education.

Katie McGinty, chairwoman of Fresh Start PA, called Tomalis' resignation "nothing short of stunning" in a conference call with reporters. Tomalis' resignation was announced just minutes before McGinty's call began.

Fresh Start PA, a political-action committee founded to support Wolf's bid for governor, does much of the negative campaigning against Corbett.

"Clearly it is time for the governor to come clean on this matter," said McGinty, who called for an independent investigation into Tomalis. "Instead of putting forth evidence of the work he was doing, there has been a desperate effort at a coverup to create a story line about what Mr. Tomalis has been doing."

That's a reference to Dumaresq, who told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there were few work emails from Tomalis because her department routinely deletes emails every day. The newspaper yesterday reported that is a violation of the department's own policy on document retention.

Chris Pack, a spokesman for Corbett's re-election campaign, called McGinty's demands "just another desperate attack" from Wolf's campaign.

Mark Nicastre, a spokesman for Wolf's campaign, suggested Corbett had given Tomalis a "no-show job."

"It's Harrisburg at its worst, and Governor Corbett has a lot of explaining to do," Nicastre said.

Dumaresq, in a statement announcing Tomalis' resignation, said he "has truly been an asset to me and the department."

In his resignation letter, Tomalis did not mention the controversy directly but suggested he was looking for a new job.

He wrote: "As you know, I have been engaged in conversations with other organizations regarding new opportunities, and given recent events, I believe it is in the best interest of the administration that I resign my position with the Commonwealth, effective Aug. 26, 2014, to pursue those endeavors."


On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN

Blog: ph.ly/PhillyClout.com

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