Troubled Alabama Antipoverty Group Reverses Closure Plan

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An antipoverty agency that planned to close because of financial problems linked to alleged mismanagement reversed itself will remain open with a smaller staff, a leader said.

Gary Richardson, board chairman for the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity, announced the new plan Wednesday less than a day after he said the organization would shut down, news outlets reported.

The organization provides home weatherization, rental assistance, adult day care and other services for the needy in Alabama's most populous area. It used to run Head Start programs but lost the contract amid claims of financial improprieties.

The board complied with a state request to return some $1.3 million in grant money, but Richardson said it would continue to operate. Most of the remaining 58 employees will lose their jobs, he said.

"We are not going to dissolve. We keep hope alive. This agency has been around since 1964,” Richardson said.

The agency fired executive eirector Sharon Myles on Nov. 1 after a report alleged financial inconsistencies in contracts.