Ohio Superintendent Steps Down

By
Michael Locklear

Dateline
Updated Sat, Aug 4, 2012 10:06 pm

State Rep. Debbie Phillips of Athens says the Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction made the right move by resigning amidst a probe that turned up evidence of wrongdoing.

Phillips lodged a complaint against Stan Heffner that sparked the state's watchdog to conduct a year-long investigation.  

"It was clear that he did have a conflict of interest," she said. "We drew that to the attention of the Inspector General. In the course of his investigation, he really laid out pretty clearly that that was in fact the case."

Phillips says the Franklin County Prosecutor is considering criminal charges against Superintendent Heffner.

The report found Heffner used government resources for private business interests and he was "in support of a bill that could and ultimately did benefit a corporation with which he had entered into an agreement of employment."

After the report was released, the superintendent said he was wrong and apologized for his lack of judgment.

In a statement released along with his "retirement resignation," Heffner said he doesn't want anything to get in the way of Ohio's reform efforts.

Rep. Phillips says the state needs to look at other possible conflicts of interest.

"One of the larger questions is what's going on in the culture of state government in this administration. I think that there is an emphasis on privatization, and some of those relationships raise the potential for conflicts of interest."

Heffner's last day is Friday.

Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers will take over until the Board of Education names a new state superintendent.

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