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JCCEO finance allegations update

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:08 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuesday, the head of the JCCEO board said the future of the organization to help low income residents is in doubt.

Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson said they need to get $3 million dollars from Jefferson County and the city of Birmingham. Birmingham and Jefferson County leaders said they want services to low-income residents to continue, but they are not willing to commit a combined $3 million dollars to bail out the organization just yet.

Without it, there are tough decisions will have to be made that includes jobs and program services.

“The lasting impact is we will lose vital services to the poor and underserved of this community through the action of one person it’s unfortunate,” Richardson said.

Tuesday, some of the JCCEO board met to hear from a new organization to administer the Head Start funds since the federal group pulled the money from the JCCEO due to questions regarding the agency’s finances. The board relinquished control of those funds.

“We simply can’t pay for it. Another company will come in under the direction of Head Start and administer our early Head Start Program,” Richardson said

On Monday, November 22, the JCCEO Board of Directors authorized the board chairman to file an ethics complaint against the former executive director for allegations involving the misuse of state and federal funds. The allegation of financial mismanagement is troubling to Birmingham and Jefferson County leaders. Former Exec. Dir. Sharon Myles has denied any mismanagement of funds.

“The county is more concerned about the services it renders for the citizens,” Jimmie Stephen, Jefferson County Commission President said. “We would be very reluctant to add any money to the JCCEO coffers.”

Stephens added that the commission wants to see those services continue, even if they are not provided by the JCCEO. A Birmingham city councilman agreed.

“There is not going to be a kneejerk reaction to come to JCCEO’s rescue in this incidence,” Darrell O’Quinn said.

Both Jefferson County and Birmingham leaders will tell you there has not been a formal request for the funds just yet. Stephens wants to see how the investigation into the agency’s funding problem plays out.

Last week, JCCEO employees complained about late payroll, but today the chairman of the JCCEO board said just about all employees have gotten their paychecks after they moved some funds around, however, future payments remain uncertain. Richardson said all direct deposits have been made, and those few without direct deposit is taking longer.

The Board of Directors voted Monday to hire a chief financial officer to report directly to them and not the executive director, which has been the practice in the past.

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