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AG: Privately Paid Ed. Workers Have No Authority (May 27, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office says Department of Education workers who were paid by a private foundation were actually not state employees and had no authority at the agency.

At least two of Superintendent of Schools Janet Barresi's top administrators were paid by a private foundation after the Board of Education rejected their hiring. Barresi chief of staff Jennifer Carter and communications director Damon Gardenhire were placed on the state payroll earlier this month when the board transferred some of its power to Barresi.

Pruitt's office said in a legal opinion handed down Friday that state law does not allow an employee or officer to be directly compensated by a private entity or person. It says such workers are usurpers who have no authority to carry out official duties.

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