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New Pa. education secretary has her own troubles

HARRISBURG - Less than 24 hours on the job, acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq is already under fire.

HARRISBURG - Less than 24 hours on the job, acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq is already under fire.

Dumaresq, named to the state's top education job Monday after her predecessor abruptly stepped down, did not report a source of outside income on her financial disclosure forms for 2009 and 2010. During that time, Dumaresq worked as a consultant for an out-of-state executive recruitment firm, which paid her just shy of $6,000 for a project.

Spokesman Tim Eller called the omission an oversight and said Dumaresq would amend her forms to include the information.

"It was an honest mistake," Eller said.

The oversight was first reported by PennLive, a website affiliated with the Patriot News of Harrisburg.

Lynn Lawson, Gov. Corbett's spokeswoman, called it "a case of human error" and said it would not affect Dumaresq's standing.

Corbett named Dumaresq to the $140,000-a-year education job Monday, after asking acting Education Secretary William Harner to resign. Corbett did not give a reason for Harner's resignation, but sources familiar with the matter said it was because additional background checks had unearthed a past allegation of inappropriate conduct.

Those sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the matter involved an e-mail Harner sent earlier this year, while in his previous job as the superintendent of a large, suburban Harrisburg school district. The e-mail was to a male administrator, in which Harner allegedly asked how he looked in a Speedo bathing suit. The employee was on vacation at the time and later filed a complaint.

Harner had been on the job for less than three months before he resigned.

Dumaresq, a former superintendent in two suburban Harrisburg school districts, is a former executive director of the Pennsylvania State Education Association and president of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.

She is Corbett's third state education secretary in less than three years. Ron Tomalis, the administration's secretary until he resigned in May, on Tuesday called Dumaresq "extremely capable."

"She is truly committed to educating all children and making sure every child has an opportunity at success," Tomalis said.

Dumaresq is not the first administration official to come under fire for failing to disclose information. Earlier this month, Corbett came under scrutiny after StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration between public radio stations WHYY and witf, reported that the governor and his wife bought a beach house in South Carolina in December but did not disclose it in his 2012 statement of financial interest.