Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb has appointed a man with a controversial history in state government to lead the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Rob Carter is leaving his job as safety and security director for Ivy Tech Community College to become commissioner of the state's prison system, the Indianapolis Star reported. It's the largest state department with more than 5,900 employees.
"Rob has served Hoosiers as a sheriff, a valued member of the Ivy Tech staff, and the head of Indiana's Department of Natural Resources," Holcomb said. "His unique experiences and capabilities give me every confidence that he will serve Indiana well in this role."
Carter's last stint leading an Indiana agency ended three years ago after lewd emails were revealed and Ivy Tech's one-time board chairman resigned. Carter was cleared of any wrongdoing by an inspector general's investigation, but ethics advocates said his behavior raises serious questions about his judgment and his willingness to bend the rules.
"Rob Carter has the kind of experience we need at the Department of Corrections," Holcomb said in a statement standing by the appointment. "He will be an asset to my administration."
Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, said Carter's record is "certainly checkered." She said his past documented behavior calls into question his judgment regarding ethics and appropriate "on-the-job behavior." Vaughn added she was disappointed to see that his past behavior did not disqualify him for a position in the new administration.
During his time at Ivy Tech, Carter tracked "red flags" in student and staff behavior by creating behavior intervention teams. Carter also standardized health and staff efforts, introduced a mass notification system and established building security standards.
From 2006 to 2013, he led the Indiana Department of Natural Resources under then-Gov. Mitch Daniels.
The newspaper's attempts to reach Carter were unsuccessful.