JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Only a day before payday and a week after alerting them of termination, the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity (JCCEO) has informed employees that the wages of workers with HeadStart and the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) can not be paid.

In an email sent Thursday, workers were informed by JCCEO’s Interim Executive Director that HeadStart employees would not be receiving their wages for Nov. 15-22 and CSBG employees would not receive wages for Nov. 15-19 despite payday occurring the next day, Dec. 3.

According to the email, the JCCEO Board of Directors had been seeking additional funding to cover the wages and reached out to the City of Birmingham and Jefferson Co. but did not obtain additional funds.

They also reached out last week to CSBG Region 4 in Etowah Co. about funds solely for HeadStart employees and received the following statement from their office Thursday: “The 2021 program budget had payroll expenses included from January 1, 2021, thru December 31, 2021. Therefore, the office of Head Start cannot provide any additional funding to assist with JCCEO’s December 3, 2021 payroll.”

The email from JCCEO to employees then stated: “Due to not receiving any additional funding, JCCEO is not able to pay these employees on Dec. 3.”

The email also assured workers that they will be paid once the funds become available, but a date was not provided: “Once JCCEO obtains additional funding, payroll will work to pay the Head Start employees as well as the CSGB staff all wages due.”

“The Board is truly sorry for this inconvenience,” it concluded.

On Nov. 23, JCCEO sent a letter to HeadStart employees saying they would be receiving a termination letter as JCCEO had relinquished control of the program. While the letter stated they could reapply for their jobs, it did not clarify how many jobs would be available or give any additional details. Employees were also told in the letter they could file for unemployment.

Just two days ago JCCEO was told to surrender the state and federal grants funding due to concerns of financial inconsistencies. JCCEO board chairman Gary Richardson said JCCEO would be closing its doors, but the next day he announced that JCCEO would continue to operate with a smaller staff and plans to reapply for funding in the future.

The JCCEO provides assistance to low-income residents in Jefferson County and is in its 56th year.