ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Since January, News 4 Investigates has been exposing concerns about mismanagement at SLATE, the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment.
Now, a dozen people have lost their jobs, with more on the way and they tell News 4, it's no fault of their own.
“I feel like I am being punished for what they did. They hired too many people, way too many people,” one now-former employee said. She asked News 4 for anonymity, since she is having to search for a new job.
She and others were told to pack their things. Friday was their last day at SLATE.
“I am livid, I'm livid,” she said.
For months, News 4 has been telling you about employees' concerns about how the jobs agency was being run under then-Executive Director Alice Prince: allegations of financial mismanagement, ghost employees and even timesheet discrepancies.
“She destroyed our office, she destroyed our reputation, we've lost many grants, and there is a lot of money left on the table that could have helped out customers,” the former employee said.
Prince resigned from the position in April. She received more than $37,000 from the city in a separation agreement.
Now-laid off employees say they're getting next to nothing.
“I think it is complete garbage that Alice got away Scott-free and she was able to get paid to quit, she would have been fired,” said the former employee.
Steve Conway, the mayor's chief of staff and interim director of SLATE says Friday's layoffs weren't about mismanagement, but new regulations from the state which are requiring more funding to go toward programs instead of staffing.
“The state of Missouri has a significant interest in making sure more funds go straight to training,” Conway said.
"It’s sad and it's awful and it’s just a sad day,” said Hilar Wagner with MERS-Goodwill.
All the employees laid off Friday were subcontractors with MERS-Goodwill. Wagner also denied that the layoffs had anything to do with mismanagement.
“I don't think so, no," she said. "This is just about what funding we had for this year."
But employees News 4 talked to disagree.
“It’s nothing but mismanagement. I know a lot of people tried to step up and do the best they could with what they have, but a lot of people have been thrown under the bus today,” said the former employee.
More people will be losing their jobs at the end of August.
The city says they will try to assist those laid off in finding new jobs.
Meanwhile, there are still on-going audits and reviews at the jobs agency.