Director of embattled city agency steps down

Director of embattled city agency steps down

DOWNTOWN WEST – Caught up in a controversy over mismanagement of public funds, Dr. Alice Prince has resigned as director of the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment.

Dr. Alice Prince

“I care too much about our community to allow distractions to impede our ability to train and employ our people,” Prince said in a news release from the mayor’s office. “I’m available to answer any questions to ensure a smooth transition because, at the end of the day, it’s about the people.”

Mayor Lyda Krewson accepted Prince’s resignation the afternoon of April 25. But she indicated concerns still may remain. She hasn’t set a date to hire a new director.

“I appreciate the enthusiasm, creativity and engagement that Dr. Prince brought to SLATE,” Krewson said in the news release. “The issues at SLATE pre-date Dr. Prince.”

Krewson spokesman Koran Addo said he was confident any problems could be worked out. “We are confident that issues at SLATE will be resolved and that the agency will continue the important work of connecting St. Louisans with employment and training opportunities.”

Prince was first appointed director in September 2017. Prince was SLATE’s Young Adult Workforce Division director before she was appointed director of SLATE in September 2017.

During the search for a new director, Stephen Conway, the mayor’s chief of staff, will work with SLATE staff to maintain normal business operations.

Questions about SLATE operations arose from an investigation by KMOV News 4.

Bruce Franks

The station specifically questioned 30 timesheets of State Rep. Bruce Franks while he worked as a youth mentor for a SLATE subcontractor for seven months in 2017 and 2018.

In January, Krewson said she was asking Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway to speed up a review of SLATE.

In a news release issued April 24, Galloway said SLATE was one of several city agencies going through a comprehensive audit by her office. She said auditors will review recent allegations of misuse of public dollars.  

Separately, in an April 17 news conference, Krewson said the city is going to make some structural changes at SLATE.

“Quite honestly, we are in the process of figuring out what those changes will be. From the board perhaps to the bylaws to staff to how we operate SLATE. We’re looking at the whole thing,” she said.

The mayor said she didn’t hear of anything possibly criminal going on.

SLATE’s 2017-18 annual report said it had a $9.3 million budget, mainly from grants.