A former Department of Education chief financial officer inappropriately lined himself up for his next job in the private sector while he was still at the DOE, and he was aided by consultants who were supposed to be working on DOE business, according to the special commissioner of investigation, Richard Condon.
George Raab, who was CFO until September of 2009, "had an inappropriate financial relationship with three consultants" to the DOE, Mr. Condon said in a report released Tuesday. Mr. Raab and the consultants worked on setting up a department at Guggenheim Securities LLC, Mr. Condon said, and Mr. Raab joined Guggenheim immediately after resigning from the DOE.
In addition, Mr. Condon said Mr. Raab sent and received e-mails using his DOE address concerning personal residential real-estate investments.
Mr. Condon recommended that Mr. Raab and the consultants be made ineligible for future employment with the DOE. A spokeswoman for the DOE, Marge Feinberg, said that "as soon as we discovered there was improper use of emails, we reported this matter to the special commissioner. We agree with his recommendation that these individuals should be made ineligible to work" for the DOE.
The special commissioner's report details a series of e-mails sent between Mr. Raab and the consultants regarding the set-up of the Guggenheim business. Some of the consultants' emails were sent during times that the consultants had submitted work sheets that indicated they were working for the DOE.
The DOE's use of outside consultants has been coming under increased scrutiny, with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer saying the agency should "put the brakes" on their increasing use.
"This is just another example of run-away consultant spending at the Department of Education, which for years has failed to impose even minimum standards of oversight and accountability when it comes to outside contracts," Mr. Stringer said in a statement. He added that the allegations are particularly troubling given that the city is set to eliminate about 6,000 teacher jobs. Spending on "non-mandatory consultants" has more than tripled since 2004, Mr. Singer's statement said.
Now it would be nice to see Condon look into just how it is that Rupert Murdoch bought Wireless Generation a couple of weeks after Chancellor Klein joined News Corp.
Klein of course signed a contract with Wireless Generation for a few million when he was chancellor.
That contract is up for renewal this month.
Klein, the man who signed that contract, now works for the same umbrella company that owns Wireless Generation.
I guess as Orwell observed, some conflicts of interest are more conflicted than others.