The Campaign for a Fresh Start, the election committee for Democrat Tom Wolf for governor, brought to Pittsburgh it’s protests of Gov. Tom Corbett’s handling of questions about his former higher education adviser Ron Tomalis.
Katie McGinty, chairwoman of Campaign for a Fresh Start, said Mr. Corbett needs to “come clean” on the specifics of the role that Mr. Tomalis played in his administration as higher education adviser. “The excuses, the smokescreen, the cover-up really needs to stop,” she said during a Wednesday press conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown.
She was accompanied by Nina Esposito-Visgitis, president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, who pointed out that Mr. Corbett’s cuts to education have cost Pittsburgh schools $27 million, prompting the loss of services and programs to students.
The campaign for a Fresh Start had held similar press events and protests across the state, including one Tuesday in Delaware County, since July 27. That’s when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an article that showed there was little documentation to show that Mr. Tomalis was doing his job as the governor’s adviser on higher education.
The story reported that Mr. Tomalis, in his first year as adviser, sent just five emails, had a nearly empty calendar, phone logs that averaged a little more than a call per day, no travel expenses and no job description. His salary was $139,542, the same salary he drew as state secretary of education, a position he held before being appointed higher education adviser.
Mr. Corbett has repeatedly defended Mr. Tomalis, saying he was not a “ghost employee” and that he did his job. The governor blames politics for Fresh Start’s continuous criticisms and demands into Mr. Tomalis’ position.
Mary Niederberger: email@example.com, 412-263-1590. Kaitlynn Riely contributed.