HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – First Stop, Inc.’s Board of Directors say they didn’t feel the organization was headed in “the right direction.”
That led to an audit of services and finances two weeks ago.
“All it really was was an assessment and they learned a lot from that assessment,” said Clete Wetli, former chair of the Madison County Democratic Party, and now the newly elected Executive Director for First Stop. “We learned some ways we can improve the organization and improve its effectiveness in the community. “
As a result of the internal review, the former Executive Director Tashaunda Weeks, as well as several case managers, and some staff were let go.
Weeks tells WHNT News 19 she is “disappointed in the way the board dealt with the matter”, but she “hopes the change doesn’t negatively affect the clients”.
First Stop’s doors have been locked until Monday, as they transition to new leadership.
“I think the organization had shifted focus over a number of years, where the focus became more on securing housing than making sure the people had case management and community resources they needed,” said Wetli. “What we want to do is just make sure the organization gets back to its root focus to do community outreach, identify homeless people ,and make sure their needs are met.”
The community’s homeless advocates have long criticized what they’ve perceived as First Stop’s mismanagement of resources.
However, Wetli says as a member of the Board of Directors, he doesn’t believe there was “mismanagement”, but rather -
“There were areas where we felt like we could do a better job. So I think that’s the main thing,” said Wetli.
Wetli worked as a substance abuse counselor and holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Alabama A&M University.