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First 5 board punts on Reyes dismissal, probe of agency continues

Fresno County

First 5 board punts on Reyes dismissal, probe of agency continues

The County investigation continues as the agency’s board postponed the dismissal of its executive director following CVObserver’s initial report.

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A Friday morning special meeting of First 5 Fresno County’s board of commissioners last week was meant to serve as a radio-silent starting gun for a deep probe into the agency’s operations and finances by the County of Fresno.

Instead, the carefully-orchestrated plans quickly went array following an story by CVObserver late Thursday.

Following CVObserver’s initial report that the agency’s executive director Emilia Reyes was to be dismissed amid allegations of financial impropriety, the meeting came and went with no dismissal action taken by the board, despite the fact it was the only agenda item listed.

SEE ALSO: County begins deep dive into First 5 Fresno County improprieties

Sources told CVObserver following the Friday morning meeting that the agency’s board decided to delay the action in light of the untoward scrutiny driven by CVObserver’s reporting.

Despite the fact that the Board opted to postpone the dismissal, County officials are still in the midst of investigating communications between First 5 staff along with financial documents to form a clearer picture of alleged financial impropriety leveled at the child welfare agency.

Meanwhile, County watchers have their eyes on Pacheco, who faces the prospect of a challenged reelection in 2018, and his handling of the investigation.

The underlying exit of Reyes, either through dismissal or resignation, appears to be inevitable, sources say.

Sources told CVObserver last week that the decision to force Reyes’ exit arises from financial improprieties following a cursory internal review of the agency’s financials by the County of Fresno.

Reyes was named to the top job at the children’s agency in 2014 following the ouster of Kendra Rogers after a falling out with both Supervisors Henry R. Perea and Debbie Poochigian. She served as interim director following Rogers’ exit before being named the permanent replacement at the head of the agency.

The financial improprieties at the center of the agency’s controversy, and Reyes’ exit, may have been made at the direction of Perea in his final year as chair of the agency, prior to his exit from the Board of Supervisors, sources told CVObserver.

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Alex Tavlian

Alex Tavlian is the owner of Sultana Media. Views expressed reflect those of the author only. He can be reached at alex@sultanamedia.com

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