NewsPublic Affairs / September 2, 2016

Republican Challenger Calls For Investigation Of Education Dept. App Deal

The contracts, which totaled $573,000, weren’t put up for a competitive process. Indiana Department of Education, Glenda Ritz, Jennifer McCormick, AT&T, N2N, Indiana Inspector General2016-09-02T00:00:00-04:00
Republican Challenger Calls For Investigation Of Education Dept. App Deal

State superintendent Glenda Ritz has come under fire for an education department contract that was awarded to AT&T. The mobile company worked with a software developer that later hired one of Ritz’s aides in an executive position.

Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — The Republican challenger of Indiana schools superintendent Glenda Ritz wants authorities to investigate a contract benefiting a company that later hired a Ritz aide in an executive position.

Candidate Jennifer McCormick is calling on the inspector general to investigate a series of 2015 contracts to develop a mobile app for the education department.

The contracts, which totaled $573,000, weren’t put up for a competitive process. Instead they were awarded directly to AT&T and its Georgia-based software developer N2N. As the Associated Press reports:

Ritz had hailed the mobile app as a novel new way to communicate with school districts. If adopted by even a fraction of Indiana’s roughly 300 school districts it could yield a large pay day for AT&T and N2N Services because each district would pay over $100,000 in startup costs, according to an estimate from AT&T.

Former Ritz aide David Galvin helped orchestrate the deal and later took a job with N2N Services.

Tim Phelps, spokesperson for Jennifer McCormick, says the inspector general should investigate the fact that N2N stood to profit and later hired an education department official involved in the deal.

“It’s very important that all state contracts go through this transparent process and that no department should be able to go around the rules,” Phelps said. “They exist for a good reason.”

Ritz’s office maintains there was no wrongdoing, saying their deal is with AT&T, not the software developer.

The two contracts in the deal were approved by the Indiana Office of Technology, Indiana Department of Administration and the State Budget agency, all of which report to Republican Gov. Pence.

“Simply put, the Pence administration has already determined that these projects were done appropriately,” said Samantha Hart, Ritz spokesperson, in an email. “We have every confidence that all parties acted appropriately.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

 

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