Friday, March 18, 2005


Those words were spoken by Ozell Wilson, chairman of the board for the Polk County Opportunity Council, to a packed meeting Thursday.

Is Mr. Wilson blind, or can he just see what he wants to see?

He made the comments even as it was reported that the Community Action Agency was in jeopardy of losing it's federal grants to run the local Head Start program. The Head Start Review Report from the federal Administration for Children and Families office in Atlanta showed 10 deficiencies in PCOC's operation, and gave it 90 days to correct them or risk losing it's grants.

Among the issues:

--- Saying that it's record keeping procedures "have failed", ACF noted that PCOC "does not have proper internal controls in place to ensure that federal assets can be safeguarded", based on a review of "inaccurate management reports" and the "improper accounting of cash balances".

--- PCOC failed to submit a IRS 990 report for 2003.

--- PCOC failed to submit financial information to the management staff in a timely fashion.

--- PCOC failed to produce accurate financial statements

--- PCOC "failed to determine reasonableness of cost" in leasing a Canon fax/copier/printer on a no-bid contract...which also got the Executive Director a free trip to Las Vegas.

There is plenty of scrutiny to go around, as the FBI has also interviewed at least four former PCOC employees. The State Attorney's office has also conducted interviews. The State Department of Community Affairs is also looking into the agency (PCOC receives some funds from the state), and the federal Inspector General's office has been requested to investigate by Congressman Adam Putnam.


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