by George Rush and WIZS News Staff
The Head Start Board has held two special meetings, the most recent being on September 10. The two meetings have been described as “Mass Chaos,” with those in attendance challenging the Board and Staff with comments such as: don’t you dare look at me or I will get up in your face. Those in attendance have openly stated that they felt threatened by a vocal and hostile environment exhibited at the two special meetings.
The next chapter in the saga of the FVW Opportunity took place at Thursday’s meeting where the board voted to remove Sara Coffey as the Board Chair. Ms. Coffey was not at the meeting because she was in the hospital. Now the only remaining question is, how long will the CEO of Head Start remain now that the Head Start Board Chair is no longer?
The Franklin-Vance-Warren Board of Directors and Administration are under attack by local activists who have alleged many areas of misconduct by the Board and Administration, including the following:
- Deplorable Conditions at Head Start Facilities
- Bullying by the Administration of Certain Employees
- Spoiled food, Rat droppings in FVW Facilities
- Wrongful Termination of Employees
- Mismanagement of Federal Funding
Current and former employees picketed local facilities for about three weeks carrying signs saying CEO Must Go, this as a part of the public display that organizers believe will result in major changes at FVW, such as getting rid of the CEO. There are also questions about who is the attorney for the organization, and whether the Board approved the appointment of a new attorney in late April.
The local activists also claim that they were not able to get a meeting with the Board on two different occasions and have filed complaints with the EEOC, State Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Board has agreed to hire an outside investigator who will look into all the allegations that have been voiced by the protesters. The Board also agreed to contact the State Auditors and discuss the protesters’ concerns about how agency funds were spent. At a recent meeting, a motion was made to suspend the CEO, Sara Rudolph, with pay until the results of the investigation were available. The motion did not pass by a vote of 11 to 5.
Head Start works to address the needs of at-risk children in the community. Their charge is to provide additional schooling for children to promote language, literacy, math and science concepts and social and emotional development. Children receive health screening, nutritional meals and mental health services. These are very important services for rural, Tier 1 and 2 communities.