HARRISBURG — Luzerne County native Gene Stilp, famous for exposing legislative pork with an inflatable pink pig and a pink bus, has taken a swipe at Gov. Tom Corbett. Stilp has asked the state Ethics Commission to investigate whether a Corbett consultant is earning his pay, according to published reports.
A story at Philly.com, the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer, said Stilp filed a complaint Monday asking the commission to determine if Ron Tomalis, who served earlier as Corbett’s secretary of education, is “actually working for his government salary and all the related state benefits” while retained as a consultant.
Stilp, who now lives in Dauphin County, also asked the commission to examine “the character and the nature of the work that is actually being done, and whether or not the required amount of work time … has actually been utilized for actual work.”
Stilp’s complaint was filed after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story questioning Tomalis’ performance as a special higher education adviser for Corbett. Tomalis landed that post 14 months ago at a salary of $139,971, the same he was making as education secretary, the Philadelphia paper noted.
The Post-Gazette reviewed Tomalis’ work calendar and filed Right To Know requests. It reported that his calendar had weeks of little or no activity, phone logs averaged a call a day or less and his email account showed little activity. The Pittsburgh paper also reported there appeared to be little contact by Tomalis with key players in higher education.
The Philadelphia paper said the Corbett administration defended Tomalis, insisting he works full weeks and noting funding shortages prompted a change in his focus. Tomalis has been working on elementary/high school issues, including reviving the Governor’s Schools.
That program, a competitive-admission summer program dormant for several years because of funding problems, was reinstated this year. According to the Department of Education website, it is offered at universities to provide high school students “with hands-on training and research in the sciences, technology and engineering, and agricultural sciences.”
Stilp, who ran an unsuccessful 2012 campaign as a Democrat to oust Republican Lou Barletta from his seat as representative for the 11th Congressional District, did not return a call seeking comment.