Ron Tomalis, Governor Tom Corbett’s special advisor on higher education, announced today that he will step down from his position on August 26th. It’s unclear if his $139,542-a-year job will be filled.
Tomalis has been under fire ever since a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette investigation revealed little work coming from his office. Records obtained by the paper revealed weeks where Tomalis had little or no work activity. He averaged about a phone call a day.
Corbett defended his advisor, saying he was not a "ghost employee."
In his resignation letter to Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq, Tomalis wrote that "given recent events, I believe it is in the best interest of the Administration that I resign." Despite a lack of teaching experience, Tomalis was Pennsylvania's Secretary of Education from 2011 to 2013. When he left, he took the advisor job at the same salary.
Ron Tomalis's letter of resignation:
Carolyn Dumaresq, Ed.D.
Acting Secretary of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street, 10th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126
Dear Madam Secretary:
It has been a great pleasure and honor to serve and assist you, fellow members of your leadership team at the Department, and the Administration in implementing many of the Governor’s accomplishments in education. I know of your pride in the significant progress in many of these initiatives and I am extremely grateful to have assisted you in these efforts.
However, as you also 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 August 26, 2014, to pursue those endeavors.
In addition to serving as an adviser to you on many critical issues, notably and certainly not all inclusive, I have also appreciated having the ability to oversee or assist in the:
- Re-establishment, after having been eliminated in earlier years, of the Governor’s Schools program, most notably the two recent additions of the School for Engineering and Technology at Lehigh University and the School for Agriculture at Penn State University;
- Creation and development of the Pennsylvania high school STEM competition, which will bring together students from all across the Commonwealth to showcase the important opportunities in STEM-related fields;
- Evaluation of the Department’s role in the approval and rigorous oversight of Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools;
- Development of the Governor’s Ready to Succeed Scholarship program – enacted with this year’s budget —to provide financial assistance to middle-income higher education students in Pennsylvania; and
- Evaluation and potential application of many of the recommendations of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education, albeit as you know somewhat constricted due to the ongoing difficulties associated with the Commonwealth budget.
Again, it has truly been an honor to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth and the Corbett Administration.