By guest blogger Taylor Lewis
Indiana’s Republican party has called for an ethics investigation of a former state education official who now works for a company that had received $573,000 from the state for building an app.
The Associated Press revealed that within months of leaving his position as communications director and IT manager of the state’s education department, David Galvin took a job with N2N Services, a company the department had worked with to develop the app INschool, which tracks school data and distributes department news.
David Buskill, executive director of the state’s Republican party, said that he wants Galvin, who served under current Democratic state superintendent Glenda Ritz, investigated for ethics violations.
“From day one her office has put politics and self-interest before the needs of children. We are calling for a full ethics investigation from the Inspector General on this matter,” Buskill said in a statement to the AP.
In 2015, N2N and AT&T were paid a total of $573,000 in two installments to develop the INschool app, with the last payment delivered that August. Galvin started at the systems integration company as their director of communications that October, according to the AP.
Indiana ethics law states that an official must wait a year before taking a job with a company they had worked with while in office, unless cleared by a formal advisory opinion from the state Inspector General.
Galvin, who declined to comment in an e-mail to Education Week, served as the campaign spokesperson for Ritz before starting at the state education department following her election in 2012.
According to the AP, there is no record of Galvin requesting a formal advisory opinion, though an official from the inspector general’s office advised for the move since N2N was a subcontractor for AT&T. The official also suggested that Galvin get a formal opinion “because of his extensive interaction with N2N.”
In a statement to Education Week, Ritz’s office said that after Galvin received a job offer from N2N last year, steps were taken “to ensure that all state ethics laws and procedures were being followed, including requesting an advisory opinion from the Office of the Inspector General. The advisory opinion made it clear that the employee could take the position.”
Ritz faces re-election this November.
Photo: Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz address attendees during a rally to support public education at the Statehouse in Indianapolis in 2015 -- AJ Mast/AP-File
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.