I’ve expressed some reservations about former Indian Education director LuAnn Werdel’s statements about the Department of Education’s failure to take action on the warnings she gave of corruption in the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative’s handling of GEAR UP and other federal grant monies.
However, as more evidence from Werdel becomes public, her story is holding together. The Pierre Capital Journal is taking Werdel’s statements seriously:
It is not all that uncommon for a fired employee to lash out and make wild accusations about how their former employer does things. The problem in this case is that [Werdel] was accusing people of mismanaging public money. That’s never something that should be taken lightly, even if it’s coming from a disgruntled, former employee. Sometimes, the accusations actually have merit.
Werdel’s emails certainly are not a smoking gun. They do not prove that there was corruption at the highest levels of government.. At worst, these emails show a certain amount of carelessness at the DOE when it came to federal dollars and data collection. That’s a pretty big problem in and of itself [editorial, Pierre Capital Journal, 2017.08.30].
Carelessness with public dollars is usually cause for dismissal from public service. Yet the only head that has rolled in Pierre under Governor Dennis Daugaard is the head of the woman who sounded the alarm back in 2011 and perhaps sooner.