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Ohio education department employee's second job as charter school treasurer was a conflict of interest, state watchdog finds – The Columbus Dispatch



An Ohio Department of Education employee had outside employment that conflicted with his job and misused state resources to do that job, the state’s top watchdog found.
Michael Troper, a former Worthington city councilman, has been an area coordinator for the education department since 2018, a job advising and assisting school districts with policies and guidelines related to state school funding. But the Ohio Inspector General alleges that he maintained his employment as a treasurer for three community schools that he oversaw in his state role.
Troper’s job application to the education department made no mention of his job as a treasurer, said the report. When asked why, Troper was vague with investigators, saying his work with charter school management company Educational Solutions Company was part time, and that he disclosed it during the onboarding process.
Investigators noted that Troper was aware of the department’s policies and procedures on outside employment, as he had done so when running for Worthington City Council. 
“When Troper neglected to engage in the same actions to report to ODE his role as community school treasurer, he knowingly violated ODE’s policies regarding secondary employment,” said the report.
The potential conflict of interest was discovered when the department was about to conduct an enrollment and attendance review for Area 6, which Troper was in charge of.  
He acknowledged in interviews with investigators that doing the review would be a conflict of interest. 
“If I do an FTE review then obviously, I’m biased like you said, like ‘well, you might, you might give them a better review’ which is why I recused myself from the position,” said Troper, according to the report.
But investigators were unable to find any evidence that Troper had proactively recused himself, and Elena Sanders, one of the department’s financial managers, said she had simply refused to let him do the review. 
Later, however, Troper still managed to play a part in the review process, resolving some corrective action plan items issued to one school he was a treasurer of, alleged the inspector general’s office.
But Troper said he didn’t see what he did as a conflict of interest.
In addition, Troper used his Department of Education phone to discuss matters related to his outside job. Investigators totaled 74 calls over nearly four hours that were being compensated by the state.
And a total of 554 emails were discovered as well between his Department of Education email account and the three community schools he was in charge of.
Multiple emails that Troper sent between his personal and work email address contained spreadsheets of Statewide Student Identifiers, numbers linked to individual students. Five of the spreadsheets sent included dates of birth, making students identifiable.
“SSIDs are protected under state and federal statutes, and that student-level information that would allow a student to be identified is considered restricted information,” said the report.
When asked why he sent those to his personal email, Troper answered that it would allow him to access that information using his personal computer. When pressed on the fact that his Department of Education laptop was available for home use due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that he could access the information through the ODE email in a web browser, Troper replied, “Because I made an error in judgment.”
The Inspector General’s Office made multiple recommendations to the Ohio Department of Education to address this issue. It also forwarded the report to the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the City of Columbus Prosecuting Attorney, the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Ohio Auditor of State for further potential action.
The Department of Education has been given 60 days to determine whether any administrative action is warranted.
Titus Wu is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.


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Hi. I am Muhammad Mubeen Hassan. I am SEO Expat and Wordpress Websites Developer &  Blogger. 30 years old. I help entrepreneurs become go-to in their industry. And, I like helping the next one in line. You can follow my journey on my blog, for list Click Here If you need any post so you can email me on my this Email:  

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