Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Community Action Board Meeting Turns Intense

The monthly board meeting of the Southeast Arkansas Community Action Agency turned  tense, once the floor was opened for public comments.  Issues have been brewing for several years and individuals in attendance on February, 16th strongly voiced their concerns about alleged misconduct and mismanagement.

Most of the board time was spent hearing reports from the various programs administered by the agency and a review of the organization's finances.  Executive Director Charles Killion informed the members that there are vacancies that need to be filled on the board and on standing committees of the board.  He also stated that the Inspector General's office has visited the agency and there is ongoing communication with the Inspector's office. There was discussion concerning the need to raise private funds to help with various programs.  It was also stated that the most recent audit listed no major findings.  

Prior to allowing public comments, the board went into executive session.  Upon returning, no action was taken.  Responding to a question by salineriverchronicle.com, the board indicated that the purpose of the executive session was to discuss personnel, but no action was to be taken.

During the public comment period the board was asked the status of money for a food pantry in Desha County.  The response was, that total funding was yet to be received by the agency.  Mr. Darryl Johnson of Crossett addressed the board and made several pointed comments alleging that minutes are not being kept accurately and are being altered.  He asked a number of questions and the exchanges with the director and board chairman were sometimes heated.  Angela Meeks of Bradley County tried to address the board and as she spoke efforts were made to adjourn the meeting.  She spoke briefly and handed out a letter, addressed to the board, urging them to pay closer attention to the board minutes.  The meeting was then adjourned.

Southeast Community Action serves five counties in Southeast Arkansas.  It is headquartered in Warren and operates a number of programs including head start.  The primary goal of the agency is to assist low income citizens. 

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