Pennsylvania’s Acting Ed Secretary Fails to Disclose Outside Income

On and on it goes in Pennsylvania. Only days after the resignation of former Acting Education Secretary William Harner due to an inappropriate email sent to a male subordinate made the news comes a revelation that his replacement, Carolyn Dumaresq, failed to disclose that she earned outside income from an executive search company in Nebraska when she was being vetted for her job as deputy secretary by Governor Tom Corbett in 2011.

Dumaresq also failed to note this income when she was filling out financial disclosure papers for her previous position as a member of the Workforce Investment Board in 2009. When asked about the omission, Department of Education press secretary said that it was an innocent mistake on Dumaresq’s part and that she was planning to amend her financial disclosure forms to reflect the additional income.

Dumaresq’s name appeared as a member of the consultant team at Omaha, Neb.-based McPherson & Jacobson, LLC’s website as of Tuesday morning. Shortly after PennLive brought that fact to the department’s attention, Dumaresq had contacted the firm and asked for it to be removed, Eller said. Her name was removed from the site by noon.

Thomas Jacobson, CEO and owner of McPherson & Jacobson, was not available when contacted about the matter, a company employee said.

Eller said Dumaresq conducted only one search for firm. It began in 2009 and concluded in 2010 and involved the Allentown School District. “She no longer works for them,” he said.

According to Jan Murphy of Central PA’s The Patriot-News, innocent mistakes of this kind have cropped up a few times in the last several weeks. Corbett and the former Department f Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer failed to disclose some real estate purchases when they submitted their financial interest statements last year. The Office of Administration, which keeps of the forms, said that although Corbett had amended the form to include a purchase of $265,000 condo in South Carolina’s Hilton Head, Krancer, as yet, has not.

Robert Caruso, executive director of the State Ethics Commission, said amendments to financial interest statements are commonplace throughout the year from both local officials and state officials.

“I don’t know what motivates that,” he said. “Sometimes people forget to disclose things and it’s either brought to their attention by a citizen or folks like you in the media.”

He said the courts have allowed public officials to make modifications to their forms without penalty and ruled that the ethics commission must first provide an official with a warning to correct a form once he or she is made aware of something that should have been disclosed. The official then has 30 days to amend their filing.