Federal File: Rocky Mountain Low; Little Big Man; Factfile

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Thomas G. Tancredo, the Education Department's chief representative in the Rocky Mountain region, has "extensively" mismanaged his office and should resign, said the chairman of the House civil-service subcommittee in a Nov. 14 letter to Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.

The chairman, Representative Patricia Schroeder, Democrat of Colorado, investigated Mr. Tancredo's Denver office in connection with an unusual chain of events:

Mr. Tancredo disseminated another official's speech calling the United States a "Christian nation." Gerald B. Leib, a citizen, wrote to Mr. Tancredo, complaining about the speech. Christopher C. Sundsteth, a Treasury Department employee, heard about Mr. Leib's letter, obtained a copy through the Freedom of Information Act, and wrote to Mr. Leib, calling his letter a "disgrace" and calling him "a pathetic creature."

Ms. Schroeder's investigation of the incident found that Mr. Tancredo's deputy, Gregg Cunningham, obstructed the inquiry--she has also called for his resignation--and that the administrative practices in the Denver regional office are "careless and arbitrary."

Mr. Tancredo and Mr. Cunningham are still on the job. Mr. Sundsteth was recently laid off at Treasury, reportedly because of staff cutbacks and not because of the letter incident.

Undersecretary Gary L. Bauer is a big man around the Education Department.

But at a White House briefing on proposed new bilingual-education regulations, he was brought down to size by Anna Maria Farias, deputy director of the office of bilingual education and minority-languages affairs.

Standing behind a podium covered with long-necked microphones, she joked about her own lack of stature--"I'm sure you can hear me but I'm not sure whether you can see me," she said--then observed that the diminutive Mr. Bauer faces a similar problem.

With a blushing undersecretary sitting behind her, she recalled that at a previous press conference on bilingual education, Mr. Bauer stood on a box at the podium to ensure that he could be both seen and heard.

Ms. Farias, noting that she is an attorney, said, however, that she was standing by with her business card in case he fell off the box and injured himself or others.

Representative Patrick L. Swindall, Republican of Georgia, last week introduced Chapter 1 voucher legislation intended to increase educational choice for poor families.

Chapter 1 supports remedial education for about 5 million "educationally disadvantaged" children.

Mr. Swindall represents Dunwoody, a suburb of Atlanta, and parts of the city where "there is very little, if any, financial deprivation," a local education official said. There are no Chapter 1 students in Dunwoody, according to the official, though there are some in Atlanta.


Vol. 05, Issue 13

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