Friday, February 11, 2005


I have often slammed my area Congressman, Adam Putnam (R - Bartow), for often being a lapdog for the Bush Administration, and am not about to apoligize for it. But "Red", as he is known fondly by the POTUS, has actually decided to do some good by filing a bill which would make organizations which operate Head Start programs more accountable. This was done as a result of the almost constant drama occuring at the Polk County Opportunity Council, the local community action agency which runs Head Start here, and looking at other situations across the country.

While there are 1,680 agencies which operate Head Start programs nationwide, 20 are currently under investigation or under government supervision. PCOC is one of them, for reasons I have noted here before.

The idea is good. From today's Lakeland Ledger:

Putnam's bill would:

Give priority in grant competition to high-performing agencies as determined by the Administration of Children and Families. Now there is no priority based on merit.

Require specialists in early education, finance and other specialty areas on the oversight boards to ensure that all interests are properly addressed.

Require those board members to function separately from the agency staff and to be knowledgable of general concepts of accounting, law and business management.

Subject any agency found to be deficient in a program area (such as financial management) to a review, on-site evaluations and possible termination of grant designation by Head Start.

Require agencies to perform an audit by a certified public accountant no later than 60 days following the end of the fiscal year. The accountant must be chosen by the oversight board through a competitive process. No accountant may perform audits of an agency for more than two consecutive years.

"This is the first step in restoring accountability in the delivery of social services to some of our most vulnerable citizens," Putnam said.

Now if Putnam can keep focused on these goals and not be steered by idealogical crap...I'm not holding my breath yet, but he may actually have some promise here...


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