BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A board that was established to help residents in a six-county region across central Alabama get training and employment has now been disbanded.

On Wednesday, the Alabama State Department of Commerce came in and took over the Central Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment, or CAPTE, amid allegations of misusing millions of dollars.

“They were being misspent on salary and not getting to the people who were supposed to get the funds,” said Allen Williams, a CAPTE board member and member of the Chilton County Commission.

CAPTE was set up as a partnership of several organizations focused on providing employment assistance, training and jobs for residents in Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties. But according to Williams, the board mostly served only one county.

”Jefferson County was calling all the shots,” he said. “The rest of the counties, not just Chilton, you got six other counties, we weren’t included. None of them were included.”

Tom Ellison, vice chair of the board, said efforts were made to take care of all CAPTE’s members.

“I went to Clanton three times trying to make sure they were provided the contract,” Ellison said. “They had never had a contract before. I knew they would need some assistance.”

Williams pointed to a 2021 and 2022 fiscal review of CAPTE, the contents of which were exclusively provided to CBS 42. Read them here.

The findings cited:

  • overage of administrative costs
  • failure to use funds appropriately
  • excessive staff costs
  • failure to adhere to state policies
  • misuse of program funds.

But Ellison said everything cited in the audit has been addressed and the necessary changes have been made.

Ellison said the dust up came down to a lack of understanding how government programs work.

“A lot of this was not knowing how CAPTE worked,” he said. “A lot of the people who were upset were new to the program and thought things should flow smoothly and anybody knows in government you’ve got to do due diligence, checks and balances to make sure everything is fair to everyone participating.”

Danny Cheek with the Alabama Department of Commerce said the department will take over the administrative side of CAPTE’S responsibilities while the Alabama Department of Labor will assume responsibility for staffing.