Candidate has not volunteered for CASA, contrary to repeated claim
"The children" is a key part of the City Council campaign platform for Julie Wallace, but when it comes to her claims of serving the kids of Genesee County, there appears to be inconsistencies in her resume.
In our Oct. 15 candidates' forum in which The Batavian and WBTA interviewed Wallace, Wallace said, "I do a lot for the children. That's basically what I want to do. I want to do more for the children than anything."
"I do a lot of volunteering," Wallace said Oct. 15. "I volunteer for CASA."
After being tipped by a reader, The Batavian called Tara Pariso, executive director of CASA, and Pariso said Wallace has never volunteered for CASA.
CASA stands for "Court Appointed Special Advocates" and the job of volunteers is to help children in foster care.
Pariso said her predecessor, Sara Munger, had started the application process with Wallace, but Wallace never completed the interview process required for all volunteers. Pariso said Wallace was supposed to do one of the two required interviews last week, but missed her appointment. She also said volunteers require an extensive background check, checking for any criminal record, and Wallace has not yet had a background check.
Wallace today had a different story. She didn't explicitly repeat the claim to volunteer for CASA, but she did say that Munger interviewed her and cleared her for training to begin in November.
When asked if she had that in writing, she said she did not.
"I just touched base with Tara last week, since Sara had left," Wallace said. "Everything was all set to go with Sara."
Wallace was adament that she will start training in November.
When we spoke to Pariso yesterday, she was equally adament that Wallace had done no volunteering of any kind for CASA and that she needed to be interviewed and pass a background check before she could start volunteering.
UPDATE Monday, Nov. 2, 9:42 a.m.: We just received this e-mail from Sara Munger:
As the former director for Genesee County CASA for Children I would like to verify some misconceptions that have been shared with your readers. I did in fact interview a Julie Wallace near the end of my service as the Director for CASA for Children. At no time during the interview did I tell Ms. Wallace that she was accepted as a volunteer for CASA, or that she would be going through the training process as a volunteer. When interviewing CASA advocates it was my policy to review all of the materials after our interview, check at least three references (by phone, or through mail) and complete a thorough back round check on all potential candidates. When I interviewed Ms. Wallace I explained to her that after reviewing her application and completing these appropriate steps, I would then contact her to set up a time for training. Shortly after our interview, I stepped down from my position as the Director, and Mrs. Tara Pariso was hired as the new CASA director. At this time Ms. Wallace's application was handed over to Mrs. Pariso, and the application process and background checks had not been completed. Ms. Wallace did contact me to follow up with the interview, and it was explained to her that due to current circumstances, I was not able to move forward with her application, but ensured her that I would hand over her information to the new director. At no time did I indicate to Ms. Wallace that she was accepted as a CASA advocate, or indicate that she would be training in November.