UPDATE: To The Candle story about claims of misuse of federal funds and intimidation of parents by Region 9 Executive Director.

On Saturday The Candle published a story (click here for link to that story) regarding allegations that Bryan Dooley, the Executive Director of Region 9 Education Cooperative, had misused funds intended for Head Start operations in the Ruidoso area. 

In that story The Candle reported of seeking a response from Mr. Dooley at Region 9, as well as contacting the regional and national offices of Head Start. As of the end of business on Monday, Mr. Dooley and Region 9, have not responded.

The regional and the national offices of Head Start did respond to The Candle’s inquiries answering two questions concerning, among other things, claims that the Executive Director of Region 9 Education Cooperative had misused federal funds and had harassed and intimidated parent advisory council members when they would not rubber stamp his grant request.

Yesterday The Candle received the following response to those questions in an email from Pat Fisher, Public Affairs Specialist, with the Office of Communications of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families in the Washington, D.C.:

[The Candle’s Question # 1]:

Has HHS- Office of Head Start received the email?

[HHS – Head Start Response]:

Yes, this email was received last week.

[The Candle’s Question # 2]: 

What actions would be taken by HHS in investigating the claims?

[HHS – Head Start Response]:

HHS takes these allegations seriously. HHS, through the Office of Head Start, has been in dialogue with the grantee agency and the board in regard to the allegations. 

According to the Head Start Act the board, as the governing body, has legal and fiscal responsibility for the Head Start agency.  Federal regulations, i.e. the Head Start Program Performance Standards, require the facilitation of meaningful consultation and collaboration between the governing board and the policy council which is to include procedures for resolving internal disputes between both parties to include impasse procedures.

After the Office of Head Start has an opportunity to assess the claims, the regional office will determine an appropriate course of action.

The communication also stated that HHS’ Head Start administrators regularly assess the performance of Head Start programs and directed The Candle to recent reviews of the program in Ruidoso, which we are currently reviewing and will soon report about to our readers.