The state Department of Education has released eight months of records that they say show when Ronald Tomalis, the governor’s former higher education adviser and Education Secretary, entered and exited a state parking garage, a move that’s part of an effort to quash criticism that he was a no-show employee making $139,000 a year.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, records from 2014 show Tomalis’ vehicle entering and exiting the garage 133 days during the eight-month period. Records for 2013 were not available from the Harrisburg Parking Authority, which oversees a garage some state employees use, said Tim Eller, a department spokesman.
The release comes after Senate Education Chairman Mike Folmer said acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq showed him records that convinced him that Tomalis was not a “ghost employee.”
Campaign for a Fresh Start Spokesman Mike Mikus described the meeting as “top secret,” adding that the meeting “raises more questions than it answers.”
Folmer also told the Tribune-Review that he was shown approximately 700 of Tomalis’s emails.
Mikus added if true, this means that the Corbett Administration is blatantly violating Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know laws, as they released only a meager five emails by Tomalis over a 15-month span to the paper in July after the paper filed Right-to-Know requests.
“The stench of scandal within Tom Corbett’s Department of Education just got worse,” Mikus said. “Instead of holding secret meetings, Tom Corbett and his Education Department need to come clean and release the electronic records they showed Folmer. They need to explain why they share information with political allies and not the taxpayers. Why are they keeping public records from the public? If Ron Tomalis actually worked, where is the proof? Why, after three weeks, are there more questions than answers surrounding Ron Tomalis’s employment?” Mikus said before the records were relesed.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in July that there was little proof that Tomalis performed any work. Their report revealed that Tomalis made on average less than one phone call per day and had sent just five emails over more than a year and went weeks without scheduled meetings.
Katie McGinty, Fresh Start chair added that in 160 workdays, Ron Tomalis did not show up to the office 34 times and rarely was in the office for a full day.
“It is time for Tom Corbett to clean house in the Department of Education,” McGinty said.
“The people of Pennsylvania deserve a transparent government that they can trust. Gov. Corbett’s Administration offers them nothing more than secret meetings and cover ups,” Mikus said. “It is far past time for Tom Corbett to stop the stonewalling. It’s been three weeks since the Tomalis scandal broke.
“It doesn’t prove any work was done. It proves his car was parked. He’s still special adviser to the governor, and he never met with the governor.”
Corbett’s calendar from May 2013 through mid-July of this year showed no Tomalis meeting entries.
The Corbett campaign fired back. “Instead of trying to manufacture scandals to smear Gov. Tom Corbett, perhaps millionaire Tom Wolf should start manufacturing some details on his pathetically lacking campaign platform that demonstrates that he is in no way qualified to run a state with 12.7 million people,” said Chris Pack, communications director for Corbett’s campaign.
Folmer, R-Lebanon County, said he resented insinuations by Fresh Start that he was part of a cover-up attempting to help Corbett, who oversees the Department of Education.
“I’m not the bad guy in this,” Folmer said. “I told them (agency officials) to share everything they shared with me.”