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Pittsburgh Public Superintendent Hamlet’s spending violated ethics codes, state commission says

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet violated state ethics codes related to travel expenses, according to the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

According to the commission, Hamlet was reimbursed for travel that had already been paid for by the school district.

One violation mentioned in the ruling said Hamlet was absent for days on personal travel, but he was paid for the days. The commission said he also carried over unused vacation/personal days for district employees, including himself, from one school year to the next despite his contract prohibiting that.

Hamlet released a statement that read, in part: “There were no findings of intent on my part to deceive the families, my staff, and the taxpayers of Pittsburgh. Throughout this fact-finding review, I have cooperated fully with the Ethics Commission in every aspect by providing requested materials, written, verbal statements, and various correspondence.

As I’ve done since my arrival to Pittsburgh, I will continue to push for a transformative district that puts our student outcomes first. With this review behind me now, it feels like a fresh start.”

A trip with The Flying Classroom was brought into question. While Hamlet denies knowing that the trip was not part of the district’s contract with The Flying Classroom, the commission said he agrees that, without admitting any violation, if the matter went to hearing, “the Investigative Division could, by circumstantial evidence, meet the requisite evidentiary standard and convince a fact finder that he violated” a section of the Ethics Act.

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Hamlet, according to the commission, also accepted payment for appearances that were “directly related to his public occupation.”

Because of the violations, Hamlet is being told to make thousands of dollars in payments to PPS, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the ethics commission. He must also forfeit 14 days of vacation time, valued at about $882 per day.