NEON to re-issue paychecks Friday afternoon

Updated 11:56 p.m. Thursday with comments from board Chaairman Michael Berkoff.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) employees who were issued paychecks that failed to clear earlier this month will be given new checks Friday afternoon.

Employees who received checks Nov. 2-5 that could not be cashed should go to NEON’s Norwalk office at 98 S. Main St. after 4 p.m. Friday to be issued new checks, according a statement released via email Thursday afternoon.

NEON Board Chairman Michael Berkoff said that only those employees who come to the office with their uncashed paychecks will receive salary for the noted pay period when earlier checks were issued.

“This effort is part of the NEON Board and new administration’s effort to make employees whole, restore public confidence and demonstrate the good will toward persons who worked to provide valuable services to our community,” he said.

Berkoff said NEON was able to find money because some payments owed the agency came in, and a review of the books showed some funds due that were never billed.

He also said NEON is working to resolve the issue of the $15,000 worth of bad checks cashed by Cash-A-Check on West Avenue.

“We are doing our best to make everybody is whole based on the issue of the checks that were handed out that had no funds. We will be working with all parties to make them whole.”

NEON also announced its agenda for a board meeting planned for 6 p.m. Monday at the Norwalk headquarters at 98 S. Main St. The agenda includes discussion about the dismissal of former Interim CEO/President Chiquita Stephenson and a resolution ratifying the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Tommie Jackson as interim CEO/President.

Jackson was appointed Nov. 7 during a board executive session held in Stamford amidst confusion when a board member who had resigned earlier in the day was talked into rejoining to give the body a quorum and allow a vote to be taken. After Elizabeth Dukes rejoined the board, she voted by email to give Jackson a 15-0 vote to become the new NEON interim leader.

Berkoff said the ratification resolution is necessary to prove to funders that everything is on the up and up.

“The resolution is entered into the NEON minutes,” he said. “Most neon funders require a resolution, and we made the appointment without a resolution.”


19 responses to “NEON to re-issue paychecks Friday afternoon”

  1. dawn

    where is the money comming from. I want to know exactly what money has been recouped from which agency and for what service.
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Mark Chapman


      According to Board Chairman Mike Berkkoff, the interim CEO, the Rev. Tommie Jackson, has been leading an effort to scrub the books and find funds promised to NEON that were not earmarked for specific programs were not collected. The funds, from the federal government, were to be used for general expenses. We have a call in to Mr. Berkoff, but what we do know is that NEON is collecting money that it could have collected previously if the finances were being properly managed.


    Transparency would go a long way to restore public confidence in this agency. Not knowing where the money to pay the employees is coming from is not a confidence builder. Indeed with past history of 3 card monte the board should be crystal clear with all financial information

  3. M Allen

    What about the checks that were cashed at the check cashing joint in SoNo? The employees got their money there, but the business is out the money.
    What about employees that cashed or deposited their check at a bank and didn’t get the bounced check back. Many banks only provide facsimile images of returned checks, not the actual checks.

  4. LR

    Not just the employees who received blank checks Nov 2-5 should get paid. It should be the entire teaching staff who have gone without pay for a month now. That would be considered restoring confidence to make NEON whole again…don’t you think???

  5. Tim T

    I don’t believe the statement that the books are being scrubbed to find money. This sounds like BS to me. I sure hope Rilling is not throwing my tax dollars to NEON

  6. Don’t Panic

    Mayor Rilling does not have indiscriminate use of the city’s checkbook. NEON needs to be forthcoming about these owed monies, so people can assess the fiscal and safety issues before placing children or further salaries at risk.

  7. “Mayor Rilling does not have indiscriminate use of the city’s checkbook. NEON needs to be forthcoming about these owed monies, so people can assess the fiscal and safety issues before placing children or further salaries at risk.”
    I have to say something is not right about Rilling and the use of the city’s checkbook — something tells me that somehow Norwalk taxpayers will get a surprise..I hope I’m wrong.
    As for NEON “needing” to be forthcoming – yeah, well THAT ship is again leaving port with Jackson “scrubbing” the books. I’m with Tim T – this sounds just as bad as before.
    I guess we just don’t learn…

  8. ECE Teacher

    “NEON Board Chairman Michael Berkoff said that only those employees who come to the office with their uncashed paychecks will receive salary for the noted pay period when earlier checks were issued”

    That is bull… Everyone should get paid at the same time. Why pick and choose. And I hope they have a list of those people who cashed their checks illegally already.

    All I am concerned about is how they are going to pay the rest of the staff. I don’t care where they get the money from. As long as the checks are valid. Take it and run. They are playing with people’s hard earned money and job. I am just done.

    “Who don’t learn, will feel.”

    Well too late for that. The programs are gone and more will follow with more layoffs. NEON is marked and it will take a long time for them to fix their reputation.

  9. @ECE Teacher,
    Who said “Who don’t learn, will feel.” ?? *** Are you saying that the taxpayers of Norwalk, who are the mercy of bleeding heart liberals who (may) give away money to support this failure of an agency will “feel” it out of spite?
    Everyone should NOT get paid because SOME have ALREADY cashed their checks (now to make good on those checks with the SoNo business is in order). Those people, should go without saying, should not get paid twice.
    As far as not caring where they get the money from, yeah, that’s responsible. Sounds like you are a bitter woman.

  10. tired of negative b.s.

    @ Tim T, please note if NEON employees are being paid with the tax payers money I say bravo, after all they are tax paying citizens of Norwalk too!!

  11. malcolm

    NEON issued another set of phony check today. Employees were told to pick up checks at 4:00. They did. The checks were post dated and can’t be cashed until December. What happens in December? What excuse will they use to stop payment. Not only should Stephenson and her cheating gang go to jail, but her new ally, Berkoff and Rev Tommie need to join her and her son in the adjacent cell.

    There are no excuses left for this band of thieves. NEON has no creditability, nor do they deserve any future help or support. STOP the bleeding now.

    It is the holiday season and these employees are being toyed with to save the reputation of an organization. STOP now. NCDP there is nothing left to save. Move on before things get worse. You are being used.

  12. Oldtimer

    They are now issuing post dated checks for prior pay periods ?
    Those are, at best, promissory notes and probably a clear violation of labor law. Don’t they have benefit of any legal counsel ? Who signed them ?

  13. Island Girl

    Malcom, get your fact straight employees were able to cash the checks today and no one was told to wait until December to cash the checks.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Island Girl, Malcolm, M Allen

      We checked with Mike Berkoff tonight after we saw these posts. Mr. Berkoff said all checks carried the current date.

  14. M Allen

    There is no such thing as a post-dated check. Any check is live from the moment it is issued. Banks are under no obligation to resist negotiating a check because of it being post dated. NEON is absolutely insane if they issued checks that are post dated and do not have the funds behind them. If one of those checks is deposited, it will in all likelihood be processed through the system. No funds? Boing

  15. M Allen

    Yeah that seemed a bit crazy for them to do. But given the history, you can’t quite discount anything these days. Thanks for checking that Mark. Bad info is bad.

  16. ECE Teacher

    Irish girl how am I bitter. If I am bitter what does that make you? Who don’t hear will feel is a saying in my country. It has nothing to do with tax payers feeling anything out of spite. If Neon continue to do wrong (which seems like they are little by little trying to move in the right direction) they will feel it at the end. That is what happened when Joe was CEO then Chaquita who didn’t learn from his mistakes now both are feeling the heat. Chaquita is feeling more. I am sure the new CEO will not let this happen again.

  17. Don’t Panic

    It is possible to issue a post-dated check. If the teller is doing their job, it can only be processed if the individual guarantees it when they endorse. .
    Curious as to why someone believes they received post dated checks.
    Also, it is still unclear where these funds have come from and their sufficiency to the amounts owed. It is also unclear as to whether safety issues cited in the Head Start suspension have been addressed.

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