The head of ODE and State Superintendent Stan Heffner, has been found in violation of state ethic laws according to an Inspector General report issued today. This investigation was prompted by Plunderbund reporting.
Ohio Revised Code Section 121.41 defines at division (G): “Wrongful act or omission” means an act or omission, committed in the course of office holding or employment, that is not in accordance with the requirements of law or such standards of proper governmental conduct as are commonly accepted in the community and thereby subverts, or tends to subvert, the process of government.
By providing testimony to the legislature as the state’s principal employee for leadership in education, in support of a bill that could and ultimately did benefit a corporation with which he had entered into an agreement of employment, Heffner failed to meet the standards of proper governmental conduct as are commonly accepted in the community and subverts the process of government.
Accordingly, the Office of the Ohio Inspector General finds reasonable cause to believe wrongful acts or omissions occurred in these instances.
The report further details other violations uncovered during their investigation, including the misuse of state time and resources.
While investigating the initial allegations, the Office of the Ohio Inspector General found during the course of negotiating the employment agreement between Heffner and ETS, Heffner advised associates at ETS to use both his state-issued cell phone and his state email account as the preferred method of contact to conduct non-state business arrangements.
Further evidence has Heffner directing state employees to make personal arrangement for him, as he was looking for a new job. Here's just one of many examples uncovered
He directed his assistant to prepare and coordinate his move to Texas and the subsequent mortgage arrangements
When asked if she believed that she had an option to refuse to perform this work she replied, “. . . and keep my job? Probably not.” She stated she was in “disbelief” that Heffner was instructing her to perform these personal tasks. She said, “My only option was to do what he needed and try to do it well so he, you know, so he would, so he would keep me.”
The Office of the Ohio Inspector General asks the State Board of Education of Ohio to consider whether administrative action is warranted and respond within 60 days detailing its decision.
According to a Dispatch Report, the Superintendent is appologizing but refusing to resign
“I accept the findings of the Inspector General’s report. I was wrong and I’m sorry for my lack of judgment,” Heffner said in a statement released by the Ohio Department of Education.
“I’ve apologized to my staff, my friends and colleagues at the department, and the board. I have learned from my mistakes, and I will work with the board to take whatever steps they feel are necessary to resolve this matter and move forward.”