Workforce Alliance Expenditures Questioned

02/03/10 Kate Bradshaw
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Late last year, it was reported that the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance, which works under contract for Hillsborough County, may have misused tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

In response, a number of state legislators called on the office of the Inspector General to look into the nonprofit’s spending practices. County Commissioner Mark Sharpe called the resulting report “damning.”

Sharpe serves on the boards for both the regional and state workforce alliances. He said that he will call for regional alliance’s executive director to step down at the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance board’s next meeting, which is scheduled for March.

Jean Grey of the Economic Development Department said that the list of questionable – if not completely disallowed – use of taxpayer money is long.

The total amount of misused funds spent over a 13-month period is more than $24,000, and questioned costs during that same time totaled more than $81,000, which the alliance must explain. But it may not stop there. Sharpe said that one alliance employee interviewed in the report said that the alliance has operated the same way for years.

The commission unanimously elected to explore the issue further before taking any drastic measures against the nonprofit, which is charged with helping Tampa Bay’s unemployed residents find work.

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If these folks worked as hard to find people jobs as they did to use their perks, maybe some of us would be better off than we are.