A Mississippi Department of Education executive at the center of questions about the department’s contracting practices is resigning.
Chief of Technology and District Transformation John Porter is leaving the department at the end of November for “personal reasons,” spokeswoman Jean Cook told The Associated Press on Friday. Cook said Porter’s departure had nothing to do with the contracting criticism.
State Superintendent Carey Wright has said she hired Blue Sky Innovative Solutions, a company owned by Porter, because she found the state department’s computing functions in disarray. Blue Sky was paid $99,000 in 2014 and $243,000 in 2015. State agencies at the time were supposed to take bids for service contracts worth more than $100,000, and take quotes from multiple vendors for contracts worth more than $50,000.
Porter once worked with Wright in a Maryland school system, as did another man who got computer work from the state Department of Education, Elton Stokes. Stokes and Data One IT, a company run by his wife, were paid $263,000 for data management work.