State officials show parking record for Tomalis

HARRISBURG -- The state Department of Education on Thursday released parking records that it said demonstrate time spent at the office by a former adviser to Gov. Tom Corbett.

Ron Tomalis, who had been Mr. Corbett’s education secretary, announced last week he will resign from his subsequent post as an adviser on higher education. Mr. Tomalis has been the target of attacks by allies of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf since a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story July 27 found little evidence of work he performed in his advising job.

The administration on Thursday provided records it said show the times since Jan. 1 when Mr. Tomalis entered and exited a Harrisburg garage used by employees of the Department of Education. The documents show a particular card was used to access the garage on 126 days this year. The operator of the Harrisburg city garages did not have earlier records, a department spokesman, Tim Eller, said.

The governor’s office announced in May 2013 that Mr. Tomalis would leave his position as education secretary at the end of that month to become the governor’s special adviser on higher education.

The Post-Gazette reported in July that records of his work in that position included a phone log averaging a little more than one call a day and five emails sent by Mr. Tomalis.

Mr. Corbett said prior to the resignation announcement that he was satisfied with Mr. Tomalis’ work.

State Sen. Mike Folmer, a Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, said he had considered calling a hearing on the issue before acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq showed him the parking records.

“They showed me the records,” he said. “As far as I could see, he was showing up for work.”

The head of the Campaign for a Fresh Start, which advocates for Mr. Wolf’s gubernatorial bid, dismissed the document’s worth.

“At best, it proves where someone parked their car,” chairwoman Katie McGinty said in a statement.

The campaign has made Mr. Tomalis a main topic of its advocacy in the past weeks.

The Department of Education announced Aug. 12 that Mr. Tomalis would resign two weeks later. In a letter to Ms. Dumaresq, Mr. Tomalis cited his work on projects including a new scholarship program for higher education and a competition for high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Karen Langley: or 717-787-2141 or on Twitter @karen_langley.

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