William Howatt was hired to boost productivity and improve morale among the department's middle managers - but the department wouldn't say if he even accomplished that much.
Howatt consulted for Bear Stearns and "initiated an ethics curriculum" - before the firm crashed because of shoddy lending practices.
He was hired by the Education Department to save money and was charged with improving employees' "ability to adapt to change."
Howatt, who also promotes his credentials as a certified handwriting analyst and an "advanced" mediator, was based in Nova Scotia while working for the DOE.
Howatt was brought aboard in November 2008 by another Bear Stearns refugee, former Managing Director George Raab 3rd, who was hired by Chancellor Joel Klein after the firm crashed. Howatt was paid about $68,000 from November 2008 through January 2009.
Beginning in January, Howatt no longer collected checks directly. The DOE wired him an additional $306,000 through a fast-track contract.
The DOE got around a more rigorous bidding process by listing him as an employee of a company that provides the department with computer techs.
"There needs to be a performance evaluation. Did the dollars buy the results? We can then see if that was an appropriate use of public money. Right now, we know nothing."
Raab left suddenly last month, and Photo Anagnostopoulos - the Education Department's chief operating officer - axed Howatt's contract the next week. Howatt did not respond to several attempts to contact him.
Anagnostopoulos said that the DOE followed legal contracting rules by considering several other applicants for the work.
She said Howatt had made useful recommendations for how to streamline the financial operations at the agency and that she had begun to implement some of them.