The Texas Education Agency has taken on a remarkable resemblance to a soap opera over the last week – with claims of mistaken identity, whispers about vendettas and a traditionally tight clan pulled apart.
Last week, internal investigators said they had found evidence that one of the agency’s top bosses, Robert Scott, was improperly funneling state contract money to his friends. On Friday, Mr. Scott fired back, issuing his own report that claimed investigators had confused him with a colleague of the same name.
TEA investigators vigorously denied his claims, which led to still another volley of charges and countercharges.
“I think they’re trying to dig themselves out of a hole,” Mr. Scott said of his agency’s investigators.
The scandal – or nonscandal, depending on one’s perspective – has left the agency divided into accuser and accused. That’s an unusual – and uncomfortable – position for an agency used to speaking with one voice.
And it has also left some of the agency’s top officials in an unusual position. With the resignation of Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley a week ago, Mr. Scott is now TEA’s acting commissioner. That means that, as of Monday, the agency’s chief investigator, Michael Donley, now reports directly to the primary target of his investigation, Mr. Scott. […]