Corbett's education adviser resigns amid controversy

Ron Tomalis, Gov. Corbett's onetime education secretary turned special adviser.

Ron Tomalis, Gov. Corbett's controversial secretary of education-turned special adviser, said today he will resign in two weeks.  The state Department of Education issued that news as supporters of Tom Wolf, the Democratic nominee for governor, started a conference call demanding the resignation of Tomalis and Carol Dumaresq, the current acting secretary of education.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first raised questions last month about what work was being done by Tomalis, who stepped down from his leadership role in the Department of Education 15 months ago but retained his $140,000 salary.  

Katie McGinty, chairwoman of Fresh Start PA, called Tomalis' resignation "nothing short of stunning" in today's conference call.  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 and his role. "Instead of putting forth evidence of the work he was doing there has been a desperate effort at a cover-up 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 emails from Tomalis on record because her department routinely deletes emails every day.  The newspaper today reported that is a violation of the department's own policy on document retention.

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

Tomalis, in a resignation letter included with Dumaresq's statement, 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."