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Despite money problems, JCCEO still alive

24 hours after Board Chairman Gary Richardson announced that the agency funds assistance...
24 hours after Board Chairman Gary Richardson announced that the agency funds assistance programs for low-income residents was dead, on Wednesday, Richardson and the board decided to keep the agency going after allegations of financial mismanagement.(WBRC)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 7:47 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The JCCEO is still alive.

24 hours after Board Chairman Gary Richardson announced that the agency funds assistance programs for low-income residents was dead, on Wednesday, Richardson and the board decided to keep the agency going after allegations of financial mismanagement.

Richardson was frustrated with the allegations of mismanagement and the inability to get financial backing from Jefferson County and the City of Birmingham. He believed it was better to end the agency, but after meeting with board members for over an hour in a closed door executive session, he now believes they could survive.

The JCCEO board open session members voted to relinquish about $1.3 million dollars to ADECA for low-income energy assistance program. ADECA demanded the return of the funds because of allegations of mismanagement. “I understand that. I recognize that. We didn’t have much of choice. There was negligence on behalf of this agency in management,” Richardson said.

Richardson again blamed former Executive Director Sharon Myles for the mismanagement of the agency funding. Richardson says the money must be spent on this program by the end of December. He has been told by ADECA an outside agency will be coming to Jefferson County to do just that. “I’m told there are four agencies, community action agencies around Jefferson County from one of those agencies,” Richardson said.

Why the change of heart? Richardson as of Wednesday believes its possible for the agency to now survive. “I’m not going to five up till the bell rings or the flatline on the monitor. We are not going to dissolve. We keep hope alive. This agency has been around since 1964,” Richardson said.

Richardson said most of the remaining 58 employees will lose their jobs. He hopes they will get work with the new agencies coming to the county. Richardson says it’s up to the Ethics Commission and the Attorney General to investigate the allegations of corruption.

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