Perry Names Crony To Head Texas Education Agency

Posted in Around The State, Cronyism, Education, Public Schools, Teachers at 1:25 pm by wcnews

It comes as no surprise that Gov. Perry today named Robert Scott, who has some contracting issues in his background, to head the Texas Education Agency.

“With an unmatched record of service and commitment to Texas’ students, Robert has the experience and dedication needed to raise the bar in classrooms and make sure students receive a top-notch education that prepares them for success in and out of school,” Mr. Perry said in making the announcement.

That’s obviously open for debate. EOW posted earlier in the year about Scott’s previous troubles here and here. Here are some of the highlights from back in June from this AAS article.

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.


One person cited frequently in the report is Chief Deputy Commissioner Robert Scott, who is widely considered a leading candidate to replace Neeley.

Scott denied wrongdoing Wednesday night and said the report includes “serious factual misstatements.”

“We’re going to take seriously whatever changes the inspector general recommends,” Scott said.

There’s more on this from this FWWeekly article from September, Don’t let education for Texas kids get lost in Austin’s dirty politics. The article is written by someone that lost a contract as a mediator with the TEA.

Gov. Perry’s web site touts his commitment to public education. So why is the governor considering, for the top spot in the Texas Education Agency, a guy who is under investigation on allegations that he improperly directed millions of taxpayer dollars — education dollars — to his friends?

Robert Scott, currently the acting commissioner of TEA, is under a cloud. On June 27, a report from the TEA inspector general cited then-Deputy Commissioner Scott as the prime suspect in steering “sweetheart deals” worth millions of dollars to insiders, via contracts for special education services.

Well that was June and now, three and a half months later, at least from initial media reports, Scott’s contracting issues appear to be mostly forgotten. The DMN mentions his earlier issues.

Mr. Scott’s appointment was sidetracked in June when an internal investigation by the TEA’s inspector general cited him and other officials for improperly steering state contracts to friends.

Mr. Scott called the accusation “absolutely false” and said he never urged the hiring of people cited in the report.

The independent State Auditor’s Office has undertaken a review of the allegation and that report is expected this fall.

Well I doubt many are expecting anything too detrimental to Scott coming from the investigation now that Perry has made this permanent. There may be a “Heckuva job Brownie” quality to Scott:

It will be interesting to see how much criticism, if any, Perry takes for hiring someone who is not a superintendent or former teacher. Scott’s resume is instead heavy on policymaking at the state level.

I wonder where he stands on the 65% Rule and whether he will try and push that policy? In the Bush/Perry Republican era in Texas this is just SOP.

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