Leader of First 5 LA education agency resigns after heavy criticism
Evelyn V. Martinez, executive director of the First 5 LA education program, has resigned after heavy criticism from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, a spokesman confirmed Friday.
Days earlier, the supervisors expressed deep disappointment in the independent voter-approved agency that uses cigarette taxes to fund health, safety and educational programs for children.
Auditors had found that the agency accumulated more than $800 million of unspent funds and that it was overstaffed considering the paltry number of programs it had underway.
Additionally, auditors faulted the agency for a lack of record-keeping for the more than $200 million in contract and grant awards received in the last fiscal year.
A call Friday to Martinez's office was not immediately returned.
"She did submit her resignation late yesterday," said Francisco Oaxaca, the spokesman for First 5 LA. But he declined to elaborate.
Tony Bell, a spokesman for Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who chairs the First 5 LA commission, issued a statement also confirming Martinez's resignation, effective Saturday. He said the agency's board would meet next week to appoint an interim director.
-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Garrett Therolf
Image: Screen shot of the First 5 LA website