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INDOT staffer in ethics case seeks new work

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A top Indiana transportation official who is under investigation for land sales that benefited his family is considering taking an executive job at an engineering firm that bids for state work.

Indiana Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff is seeking a formal opinion from the State Ethics Commission on whether he can work at transportation contractor RQAW. The panel is set to meet Thursday, when it will also consider a proposed settlement in the ethics case against former Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

Woodruff wrote to the ethics commission on June 30 asking for approval of a job "screening" procedure designed to eliminate any appearance of impropriety should he accept a job with RQAW.

"At this point in the negotiation process, I am uncertain what all my potential job duties and responsibilities will entail; however, I would generally oversee transportation activities," Woodruff wrote to the panel. A copy of Woodruff's request was given to The Associated Press by staff for the ethics commission.

According to the state's public contracts search, RQAW has won more than $9.3 million in work from the state since 1999. State law requires a one-year "cooling off" period for state workers taking a private sector job doing the same work they do for the state. However, the ethics commission frequently waives the cooling off requirement.

Woodruff is under investigation for land along the Interstate 69 corridor that he and his family sold to the state. The Indianapolis Star reported last year that Woodruff, his father and his brother sold a 3-acre parcel to the state in 2010 for 30 percent more than they paid for it three years earlier. The paper also reported on Woodruff's efforts to get an important grade-change approved along the stretch of I-69 running by his family's property in Daviess County.

Gov. Mike Pence asked for the investigation last year shortly after the Star uncovered the Woodruff family's stake in the sales.

Inspector General David Thomas declined comment Monday on the status of the investigation. INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield also declined comment, saying INDOT would wait until Thursday's ethics hearing.

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  • What's the point of the 1 year cooling off period
    If the ethics commission grants Woodward an exemption from the one year cooling off period, then the General Assembly should repeal this statute -- I mean what's the point of it if the Ethics Commission grant individuals like Woodward (and so many others) this exemption. This is EXACTLY WHY THE STATUTE was put in place.....and yes, I agree with the other poster that Woodward should be in prison -- at the very least, he should have been fired.
  • Still Not in Prison?
    I'm shocked to read that Troy Woodruff is still employed at INDOT after his family's financial gain from the land they bought and sold to INDOT (at a higher price than other landowners were paid) while he was employed there and his wife was the local INDOT official. (If I recall, he claimed it was "coincidence.) That alone is testimony to the non-existence of any semblance of "ethics" in the Daniels and Pence administrations. And, that doesn't even count the taxpayer funds spent to re-do the overpass on the family land when the original version didn't suit them. NOW he wants to go to work for a contractor who received more than $9 million in contracts under his watch? Why isn't this guy in prison?
  • Cleared? What a joke!
    Seems like they're always caught after their pockets are padded. So they're surrounded by the same type of employees. CAN them all. These road contracts are absurd. The pothole situation was hilarious. They refilled the same potholes by our office at least 6 (SIX) times! (yes, city level, but...) There is not material which will last after the first fill? This is 2014 and these contractors are making the government look like (bigger?) idiots.
  • What Ethics Commisssion?
    What Ethics Commission? The alleged commission is similar to the Wizard of Oz. You know, the faceless voice behind the curtain that survives on fluff devoid of substance.
  • Business as Usual
    Yet another standard story about the inside dealings of the highway construction machine.

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