Williams placed on leave

Published 12:10 am Saturday, April 4, 2009

John W. Williams, executive director of the Dallas-Selma Community Action and Community Development Corporation, Inc., agreed with the agency’s board to be placed on leave March 30. Board chairperson Cheryl McGrew said Williams retains his position, and she would not specify why he was placed on leave.

“It’s for the betterment right now,” McGrew said.

Williams could not be reached for comment.

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The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Department of Human Resources are performing an assessment of the agency’s finances and programs, A.D.E.C.A. assistant director Doni Ingram said.

“There is an interim management team in place,” Ingram said. “The agency is operational and providing services.”

Ingram said she could not comment on Williams’ status. However, former employee Diane Lee said Williams has been fired due to misuse of funds. Lee, an employee for 25 years, said she spoke with an unnamed person with A.D.E.C.A. who confirmed this.

“He has been terminated from his employment for his misuse of funds,” Lee said. “It is a known fact that he is no longer there at the agency.”

Board member Johnny Moss could not confirm Williams’ termination either, but he said Williams did not steal or misuse money. Moss said concerns were raised about the whereabouts of funds for the agency’s weatherization program, which led to the joint assessment between A.D.E.C.A. and D.H.R.

“At this point, I can say this, he’s not in his office at this time,” Moss said. “He did not steal money from the agency. He is on leave at this point.”

The agency, located at 713 Jeff Davis Ave., serves disadvantaged citizens in Choctaw, Dallas, Marengo, Perry, Sumter and Wilcox counties through funds provided by Community Services Block grants. Ingram said the important thing was to continue serving area residents.

“The citizens that are eligible in those counties are going to be provided the services,” Ingram said.