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Community Center Study Ordered

January 30, 1986

PASADENA — The board of directors of the Foothill Area Community Services (FACS) agency has appointed a special committee to investigate community complaints stemming from the anticipated closure of the Consumer and Community Action Center.

Bill Galloway, a director of FACS, said the five-member panel has the authority to order a financial audit of the agency and to inspect its records. Galloway said he requested formation of the committee after meeting this month with members of the Concerned Citizens Committee, a community group that has opposed the center's closure.

Housed in Jackie Robinson Center in the predominantly low-income northwest area of the city, the center has provided free services such as income tax preparation, legal advice and help with consumer complaints for about 600 people a month. But because of cuts in funding from the state, FACS--the regional agency that administers the center--has reduced the program's budget from $104,270 in 1985 to $13,066 this year.

As a result of the cutbacks, two of the center's five staff members were laid off Jan. 1. The center's director will continue in his position until the center's remaining funds run out at the end of March. The two other staff members have been hired by other FACS programs.

Norman Myart, a community member appointed to the FACS committee, said the panel will look into several allegations made by the Concerned Citizens, including charges that Raymond Loftin, FACS executive director, has mismanaged agency funds and that he receives an excessively high salary.

Loftin has denied the allegations, blaming the center's financial problems on cuts in funding FACS receives from the state. Last year, he said, FACS received $354,274. This year it will receive only $254,807.

The cuts, he said, have forced FACS to choose between funding the center or paying FACS' rising administrative costs. He added that his salary--$47,016 a year--has been increased at the same rate as those of other agency employees.

In a related development, the Concerned Citizens and four northwest-area residents filed a lawsuit against FACS in Pasadena Superior Court last week in an attempt to prevent the agency from closing the center.

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