Updated, 4:23 p.m.:
The Indiana Department of Transportation’s chief of staff is leaving his post in conjunction with the release of an inspector general‘s report on conflict of interest allegations.
Troy Woodruff, a former Republican state representative, had been chief of staff for four years, overseeing several departments within the agency, and acted as a liaison with legislators, local governments, and state economic development officials. He‘d previously announced his intention to leave for the private sector.
But the Indianapolis Star had raised questions about INDOT land purchases along the I-69 corridor from Woodruff‘s family members, which caused Indiana Inspector General David Thomas to investigate the transactions involving Woodruff’s relatives for the last year and a half.
Inspector General David Thomas’ report, released Friday, clears Woodruff of all wrongdoing. Thomas said Woodruff bordered the line of unethical behavior but did not violate any rules or crimes.
He also recommended that Woodruff be barred from working with the state for one year, according to an Associated Press report.
All prosecutors consulted about the case – including Marion County, Daviess County and the U-S Attorney – opted not to file charges. But Thomas says if Woodruff had publicly disclosed the land deal like INDOT’s ethics officer advised him to, the whole investigation might have been avoided.
“It affects so many people,” Thomas says. “I’m sure the many employees at INDOT who will not have a voice to speak out were frustrated that they had to ensure four years of an investigation.”
Thomas recommends a legislative change to ethics rules that would require state agencies to publicly disclose deals in which the agency acquires a state employee’s property. He also recommends INDOT set up a screening policy stricter than what’s required by state law for its employees to avoid conflict of interest.
INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said he didn‘t know whether a replacement for Woodruff had been selected. Wingfield adds that Woodruff stepped down on his own, not at anyone‘s request.
Indiana Public Broadcasting contributed to this report.