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Center Point pastor defends receiving thousands of dollars from JCCEO after being accused of not fulfilling the contract

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 10:11 AM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More fallout connected to JCCEO’s financial troubles as the organization terminates its leader, hundreds of employees, and calls for an investigation.

Center Point pastor, Rev. Lawrence Jackson, spoke out to defend himself after an internal review of the organization, accused him of receiving thousands of dollars from JCCEO and not doing the work he was hired for.

The JCCEO board provided a copy of the internal review of payroll prepared by attorney Thomas W. Scrogins of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLC.

The report which was conducted in October 2021 examines five independent contracts with JCCEO established under the leadership of former executive directors Sharon Myles.

Myles was fired in November and accused by the board of mismanaging funds.

Myles told WBRC she denied all accusations against her.

One of the contracts scrutinized in the internal review was with Pastor Lawrence Jackson of Greater Grace Church in Center Point.

According to the review, Jackson was contracted to serve as a Behavioral or Health specialist at a rate of $5000 per month for a total of $50,000 over the 10-month contract.

Jackson said he is qualified for the job because he holds a master’s degree in social work.

“I’m not somebody who was not qualified, and they just tried to sneak me around the corner,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he applied for the job after getting a contract to host a Head Start program at the church.

According to the review, Jackson was to perform services at the Head Start programs at Greater Grace Baptist Church and the Craig Pouncey Center. He was assigned to report to Parent Family Community Engagement Manager Lashae Paige and the leaders of the two centers,  Manager Catherine Paulk and  Christopher Evans.

All three supervisors, according to the internal report, told JCCEO HR that Jackson was not performing the duties he was contracted for.

“The job is for a behavioral specialist, independent contractor, which means you don’t go every day. You go on the basis of whether there’s a problem with a child, you go do the intervention necessary to help the child. To this date I have never received a call from anybody at JCCEO that said there was a problem with a child,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he went to the Pouncey location at least once. In the review, the director of that location, Evans, claimed he’d never seen Jackson at the center.

The internal report also states Paige told HR she never gave Jackson directives.

“Don’t make it seem like I’m doing something erroneous or fake when you know I’m qualified for this job. No one called me and said, do this job,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s contract was signed by him and Myles only, according to the review. Payroll records show Jackson was paid $2500 on  September 20, 2021, and another $2,500 on September 24, 2021.

Jackson said he was paid once in August and twice in September.

“I only got paid about three times from JCCEO,” he added.

The report also states a Head Start program that was based at Jackson’s church for $10,000 per month, paid by JCCEO, had no children assigned to the location.

“Greater Grace doesn’t have any kids in it yet. I want y’all to hear me. This is how lies start. Greater Grace doesn’t have any kids. If there are no kids there, there is no need for me at the present time, because they’re still working on the code and everything they have to do to get the children back in school,” Jackson said.

JCCEO board fired 500 Employees due to a $3 million deficit, according to the board chair. JCCEO asked the city of Birmingham and Jefferson County to help them financially to keep their staff employed.

The city nor Jefferson County had made a decision on that request at the time this article was written.

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