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Tomalis parking records answer few questions

Published by Mike Pound on .

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If nothing else, we can be sure there's a car in Harrisburg that earned its $140,000 salary over the last year.

In an effort to prove that Ron Tomalis actually did some work during the year he spent with the state education department as a special adviser appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett, department officials released on Thursday eight pages of parking records that purport to show that Tomalis did the work he was hired to do.

Mr. Tomalis, a former state secretary of education, resigned last week in the middle of a burgeoning debate over whether his was a ghost position in the department. He was appointed by Gov. Corbett more than a year ago at the same $140,000 salary he earned as the department's secretary, but the Corbett administration has since had a hard time coming up with any evidence -- other than glowing reviews from current ed Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq -- that Mr. Tomalis did any actual work.

Work logs released by the department show few appointments. And contacts at the state's universities say they had not dealings with Mr. Tomalis, a curious thing given that he was hired to serve as the governor's adviser on higher education.

But hey -- look! Parking records!

Our friends at the Patriot-News got a look at the parking records, which include information from 2014. They helpfully did some math as well: since Jan. 2, Mr. Tomalis checked in at the education department's parking garage 127 days, for an average of 3.85 workdays per week. On the days Mr. Tomalis showed, he generally arrived just after 9 a.m. and left after 4 p.m.

Do the parking records answer the questions about Mr. Tomalis and his job? They show that his ID card was arriving at the office almost four days a week, but they definitely do not tell us what he did once he was there. A thorough accounting of emails produced by Mr. Tomalis could have helped clear things up, but those were deleted almost daily, in possible violation of the department's records-retention policy.

As calls for more details about the work Mr. Tomalis did for the state continue, we have some advice for those who are trying to justify his tenure: proof about the work he did will be more convincing than proof that he took his car for a drive every day.

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