March 30, 2016
WASHINGTON—Charles “Monty” Roessel, the director of the United States Bureau of Education (BIE), was removed from his position today, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, after an inspector general’s report disclosed he used his help get a woman he shared a romantic relationship and a relative jobs, which are in violation of federal hiring policies.
Ann Marie Bledshoe Downes, a deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, was placed as acting director of the BIE on Wednesday.
Roessel was named the BIE director in 2011. Prior to being named the BIE director, he oversaw federally funded schools on the Navajo Nation.
According to the inspector general’s 10-page report, the romantic interest Roessel had was with a woman from the Navajo Nation’s Department of Education. He helped her secure a job as a program analyst in Washington, D.C.
The report provides an overview of an investigation into the allegations against Roessel that began in June 2014. In the report, Roessel and the program analyst first denied having a romantic relationship, but later revealed they were more than friends.
“In addition, Roessel and the BIE program analyst provided inconsistent statements in their responses to our questions and caused us to doubt their overall truthfulness and candor,” the report says.
Roessel also admitted he intervened in a relative’s hiring process to make sure she was hired for a position she wanted within the Navajo school system, which is run by the BIE.
“Roessel felt that he was going to lose his job over this issue,” the report closes. “He said that he did not think he would be effective in his position once this report was issued.”
The director of the BIE reports to the Assistant Secretary and oversees three associate deputy directors who are responsible for education line offices serving 183 BIE-funded elementary, secondary day and boarding schools and peripheral dormitories located on 64 reservations in 23 states. These facilities provide schooling for more than 40,000 American Indian and Alaska Native students from the country’s federally recognized tribes.