Static Greases Wheels For Kids

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Posted July 29, 2009 by Jeff Prince in Blotch

By the time Pastor Kyev Tatum called Fort Worth Weekly yesterday to complain about East Side youngsters getting screwed out of their paychecks during a summer job program, he was frustrated that his calls to Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County and various other social service agencies were being ignored.

The job program’s network of subcontractors, community organizations, and city, county, and state agencies had become so convoluted and complicated that people who weren’t receiving their paychecks didn’t know who to call. Tatum said that no matter who got called, they pointed a finger at some other agency.

So the Weekly jumped into the fray, called around to various agencies, and got pretty much the same runaround as Tatum. Today’s print newspaper includes a Static item that laments how low-income youngsters signed up for a job program and then got stiffed out of their pay and treated like pests for seeking answers.

But as of this afternoon, all the kids were feeling fine.

“That Static really gets things done,” Tatum said. “Less than 10 hours after you all went to press, the kids all left out of here today with smiles on their faces and paychecks in their pockets.”

Chief Financial Officer Denise Howard of Workforce Network showed up to talk to Tatum’s ROOTS Academy students and hand-deliver their paychecks this afternoon, to compensate them for the mentoring and clerical work they’ve been doing since July 10 without getting paid.

“She apologized and said anytime I have a problem to call her,” Tatum said. “Before we spoke with you guys, everyone we called was pointing the fingers at everyone else and no one accepted responsibility for anything that happened.”

When reached for comment, Static said, “Aw shucks, ‘t weren’t nuthin….I’m just a simple column, doing what I can to improve the world.”


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