The Oregon Government Ethics Commission will proceed with an investigation into whether Logos Public Charter School's former director, Joe VonDoloski, violated state law when he won a $1.5 million consulting contract with the school a month after he resigned.
The commission decided Friday to move to a formal investigation following a preliminary review of a complaint made by the Medford School District in early October. The commission had 30 days to complete the review, which it said was not enough time to eliminate the possibility that statutes were violated.
"The information available was sufficient to provide a substantial, objective basis for the belief that Joe VonDoloski may have violated one or more provisions of Oregon Government Ethics law and an investigation is warranted," the commission stated in its preliminary review.
Medford's complaint alleges a potential conflict of interest in Logos' decision to contract with VonDoloski's consulting company, Western Collegiate Consulting, for staff services such as salary distribution. Logos' board approved the contract a month after VonDoloski announced his resignation in June. The contract was a five-year, $1.5 million agreement that then-incoming director Sheryl Zimmerer called innovative.
"The Board ultimately undertook this path because continuing under the status quo would affect the feasibility of Logos reaching its administrative and legal goals,” Zimmerer wrote in an email to the district after it began inquiring about the board's decision to contract with Western Collegiate.
VonDoloski was still director during the months the school's board considered whether contracting out services was financially beneficial, but meeting minutes show that he was absent when the board discussed its plans to put out a call for bids. His resignation was announced at a meeting on June 26, the day before the bidding period for the consulting contract closed. Emails show that Western Collegiate was the only company to submit a bid out of seven that submitted letters of interest. On July 24, the board approved a contract with VonDoloski's company.
Logos has since canceled its contract with Western Collegiate. The board in a release said that its members "never want there to be any doubt that Logos operates in full compliance with the law and Medford School District policies.”
VonDoloski has maintained that the contract was formed in compliance with the law. He said late Tuesday he wasn't aware of what comes next and had no further comment on the investigation.