Tuesday, February 05, 2008

As Neeley Leaves TEA, Report Says Perry Crony Commits Cronyism

Posted in Had Enough Yet?, Education, Around The State at 9:17 am by wcnews

Here’s the AAS story about this from yesterday, Report cites problems with TEA contract, it also include a link to the report.

Associates and former employees of high-ranking officials at the Texas Education Agency have in recent years won pieces of contracts that were not competitively bid, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general.

The report, obtained by the American-Statesman on Wednesday, says that contracts went to education service centers, which serve as regional outposts for the state agency, and that the associates of agency officials received subcontracts.

The report does not explicitly state whether competitive bids should have been taken. Even when competitive bids are issued, agency staff members do not follow the agency’s contract policies, the report says.

Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley, who ordered the report after an agency employee raised questions in February, has turned it over to State Auditor John Keel, who is investigating further, agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said.

Neeley who commissioned the report is being replaced by her second in command, and Perry Crony, Robert Scott who was “frequently cited” in the report. From today’s HChron, Perry stands by choice for TEA fill-in. Why wouldn’t he? That is, after all, what crony’s do for one another.

Gov. Rick Perry has no concerns about putting deputy commissioner Robert Scott temporarily in charge of the Texas Education Agency, the governor’s spokesman said Thursday, despite questions raised in an inspector general’s report detailing no-bid contracts that went to Scott’s friends.

“None. The governor has complete confidence that he will do his job with the utmost integrity and professionalism, just as he always has,” Perry spokesman Robert Black said.

Scott will lead the agency, which oversees public education for 4.5 million children attending Texas public schools, until Perry picks a permanent successor to Shirley Neeley, who left her job as commissioner this week after the governor decided not to reappoint her.

A former Perry aide, Scott previously led the agency between Neeley’s appointment and the departure of her predecessor, Felipe Alanis.

The inspector general’s report released Wednesday chronicled instances when contracts that were not competitively bid landed with Austin attorney Emily Miller, described in the report as a friend of Scott’s, or with his former executive assistant, Cory Rountree.

The report said it was often unclear how Scott’s friends got the work.

“Key participants in the contracting process do not agree as to how the subcontractors were chosen,” according to the report.

The inspector general’s report said the education agency failed to follow state contracting policy in awarding millions of dollars in competitive grants. It highlighted ambiguities in awarding grants from a $261 million partnership between the state and several private foundations for high school improvement.

Neeley commissions the report, that fingers the governor’s buddy and shortly before it’s release she’s “forced out” of her job.


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