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Monday, May 05, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Inspector General clears former DNR chief Rob Carter in raunchy emails, hunting party, job offer"

Ryan Sabalow has this long story Sunday in the Indianapolis Star. (Sabalow's Nov. 14th story is quoted in this earlier ILB post.) The Sunday story begins:

The state’s watchdog agency cleared former Department of Natural Resources chief Rob Carter Jr. of wrongdoing concerning his hiring by Ivy Tech Community College, his receipt of raunchy emails on his work computer and his use of public hunting lands.

Carter’s attorney said his client and Ivy Tech were “fully and completely exonerated” by a six-page inspector general’s report completed earlier this year. “No state ethics rules were violated and no wrongdoing occurred,” Indianapolis attorney Jason R. Barclay said in an email.

But others, including a hunter and a good-government advocate, said the investigation raised questions about whether powerful political appointees play by the same rules as others.

“Like most investigations of people with strong political connections, even after the investigation is concluded, questions remain,” said Julia Vaughn, policy director of Common Cause Indiana.

The investigation was launched after an Indianapolis Star story last fall revealed that, prior to being hired as chief security officer at Ivy Tech, Carter received and sometimes responded to several racy, sexist and inappropriate emails — including photos of naked women — sent by the then-chairman of Ivy Tech’s board. He also appeared to have taken the school’s chairman on a hunting trip on public lands without going through normal channels.

The inspector general’s report determined that Carter broke no rules for the following reasons:

• The report found that, while Carter and V. Bruce Walkup, the former Ivy Tech chairman, did communicate about Carter’s future employment, there was no evidence of a quid pro quo.

• The racy emails between Carter and Walkup didn’t violate any state policy, and there weren’t enough of them to run afoul of state rules forbidding excessive personal use of state computers. Walkup resigned this fall after The Star’s report.

• While Carter did skip a lottery required of other hunters on a public land in September 2012, no rules were violated because all of the hunters who had gone through proper channels were allowed to hunt. In effect, Carter’s hunting party didn’t cut in line.

The Star links to the 6-page, Feb. 5th Inspector General report.

Why it took three months for this report to come to light is not explained.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 5, 2014 11:12 AM
Posted to Indiana Government