This story was updated June 15, 3:29 p.m., with more information about when payments were made.
NORWALK, Conn. – Among the NEON employees who were brought up to date on their paychecks before the agency threw in the towel was its last CEO and president, the Rev. Tommie Jackson.
Jackson, who was brought in to lead Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now in November as its “transitional” CEO and president, was initially working as a volunteer. He said at the time he would not take any salary until all the employees who were behind on pay were “made whole.”
In December, the NEON Board of Directors voted to pay Jackson $128,000 a year if the struggling NEON came up with came up with the funds, and if all the employees were brought up to date, NEON board Chairman Mike Berkoff said at the time. That would be less than the reported $160,000 allotted previously for the position, and less than the $135,000 former interim NEON chief Chiquita Stephenson recently said she was accepting before being placed on unpaid leave.
The agency filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Tuesday. Jackson got his money, Berkoff said in a Friday email:
“Reverend Jackson was paid $67,166.00 or thereabouts, roughly in the area of $70,000 for working from November 2013 through June 6, 2014.
“His work continues without pay through completion of the bankruptcy action.
“The Board voted and agreed in December 2013 to pay him $124,000 annually including benefits for health insurance and pension contributions. None of the benefits were paid to him.
“The personnel files are secured and will be in position of the receiver.”
Berkoff did not say when Jackson was paid, other than, “When payroll was being paid.” In December, Berkoff said Jackson had been working 60 to 70 hours a week.
Sunday, Berkoff emailed NoN to say that all employees were brought up to date on their pay in February, and the Jackson began getting paid, retroactively, in late March.
Jackson is involved in an attempt to form a new Community Action Agency as part of a group that is forming a structure so it can apply for the role when the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) puts out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ).
As part of decertifying NEON, DSS agreed to provide NEON $109,000, primarily to pay its staff through their last day on the job, according to the decertification agreement signed by Jackson on April 4.
The decertification was voluntary. If it had been involuntary it could taken up to 18 months, state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) said in April.