Rep. Pelath wants answers in Tony Bennett invesigation (update)October 15th, 2013 at 4:03 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
Two months ago the state Inspector General confirmed that he is investigating former state school Superintendent Tony Bennett. A key Democrat wants to know why we are still waiting for results.
This all goes back the scandal surrounding the A-to-F grading system. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath wants to know if there really is an investigation. At one point he referred to the Inspector General as the “dead letter office.”
Inspector General David Thomas told News 8 that he taking the investigation of Tony Bennett seriously. It’s the same thing he said to Demcratic leaders in the General Assembly in early August. “Since then we have heard absolutely nothing,” said Pelath. “I’m starting to question whether that office is able to handle something of this magnitude.”
Pelath points out that a bi-partisan investigation conducted by John Grew and Bill Sheldrake at the request of GOP leaders in the General Assembly was concluded in four weeks.
It looked into the facts surrounding a grade change for the Christel House Academy charter school and the charge that Bennett manipulated the A-to-F grading system to benefit campaign contributor Christel DeHaan.
That investigation found no wrongdoing but Pelath says it didn’t examine motives.
“Why was a grade changed?” he asked. “Why were winners determined in advance? That is kind of what I was hoping the Inspector General would try to figure out.”
Thomas says he is being thorough. “And we’re going to try to conclude it as quickly as we can,” he said. “We want to make sure we give it it’s proper due. There are multiple issues and we are actively investigating.”
In the end Pelath is questioning more than the handling of the Bennett investigation. He is challenging the Inspector General’s credibility.
He pointed out that when Tony Bennett quit his new job as Education Commissioner in Florida he turned to Dave Thomas to clear his name.