- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - An inquiry into Wyoming schools Superintendent Cindy Hill will not be done before the Legislature meets next month because of the mass of information to be reviewed and new information that might come from a federal audit now being done, House Speak Tom Lubnau said Tuesday.

Lubnau, R-Gillette, had hoped that the Select Investigative Committee would finish its work before the Legislature convened on Feb. 10 for a 20-day session focused primarily on crafting a new two-year state budget.

The panel was formed last year to look into possible misconduct by Hill when she ran the state Department of Education in 2011 and 2012. The House panel could recommend whether she should be impeached by the full House, which is solidly controlled by Republicans.

Hill, a Republican, has denied any wrongdoing, saying she is a victim of a political witch hunt.

Hill was traveling Tuesday and not immediately available for comment.

A new law enacted last year by the Legislature and GOP Gov. Matt Mead removed the superintendent as head of the agency. Hill still retains her state elected office, although with far fewer duties.

The Select Investigative Committee, which consists of 16 members of the House of Representatives, heard three days of testimony two weeks ago from a number of witnesses about various personnel and financial-management issues that occurred under Hill, including misuse of federal funds, nepotism and staff being forced to make questionable contract payments and hide information from the Legislature.

Hill has submitted her own list of an additional 38 witnesses, including the governor, who she wants the panel to take testimony from.

While Lubnau said he’s not sure if he sees any value with Hill’s proposed witnesses addressing questionable financial dealings at the agency, he said the federal audit now being done could provide valuable information for the investigation.

“If we’re going to be diligent and are going to be thorough, it’s something certainly we ought to wait (for) and look at,” he said.

Lubnau said he no information on when the federal audit will be done.

After the audit is released, the committee could discuss whether it should hear more testimony, he said.

Lubnau said lawmakers will need to devote much of their time during the session to budget matters, although he said the select committee could meet if its members find time during the session to discuss how to proceed with the investigation.



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