State Rep. Debbie Phillips released the following statement on the Inspector General’s investigative report and finding of wrong doing by Ohio Department of Education Superintendent Stan Heffner. Mr. Heffner testified last year before the Senate Finance Committee in favor of legislation that would and did financially benefit Education Testing Services (ETS), whom he had accepted a job with while he was serving as interim-Superintendent. Rep. Phillips requested an investigation by Inspector General Meyer into conflicts of interest and today the findings were released.
“I first want to thank Inspector General Meyer for his thorough investigation and report. Conflicts of interest and misuse of state resources are serious matters and today’s findings have shown there are serious issues within the Ohio Department of Education that warrant further scrutiny. Public officials have a responsibility to safeguard public funds and represent the best interests of Ohioans, and that is why conflict of interest laws are so important.
“The findings of this investigation, coupled with a separate pending matter before the Ohio Ethics Commission on the reimbursement of Mr. Heffner and staff for trips, are deeply troubling. At a time when local schools are facing significant cuts in state resources and many are seeking local levies to provide opportunities for our children, we need to ensure that all state funds are being spent wisely and appropriately and we must keep clear oversight of all decision making surrounding the limited resources available.”
A copy of Inspector General Meyer’s report can be seen at http://watchdog.ohio.gov/Portals/0/pdf/investigations/2011_139.pdf.