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David Archie returns as Citizens Alliance for Progress director in Tarpon Springs

TARPON SPRINGS — David Archie is back at the helm of the nonprofit Citizens Alliance for Progress, a neighborhood family center.

A new board of directors, elected in February, voted unanimously to reinstate Archie as executive director. He came back to work last Tuesday, said new board president Maggie Miles.

Miles said she was glad to see an end to the three-month ordeal that began when Archie was fired unexpectedly by another board in December.

"We've lost so much," Miles said. "But we didn't miss a beat and now we can continue to move forward."

Archie, 55, director of the social services agency for 15 years, was relieved of his duties after a hastily called meeting a week before Christmas in which board members voted 4-3 to remove him and two other staffers.

Some board members, including former president Annie Dabbs and former treasurer Ed Cole, said then that Archie was terminated for a lack of confidence regarding his leadership abilities. The two were ousted in February by the newly elected board.

Archie's firing caused a stir in Tarpon Springs, where he served many years on the City Commission, most recently as vice mayor. Archie supporters said Cole and Dabbs manipulated some board members into voting for the firing by saying that Archie's agency would lose its Juvenile Welfare Board funding if he were not dismissed.

But officials with JWB and Pinellas Core Management Services, which manages small nonprofits that receive funding from JWB, said they never made those threats. Dabbs resigned as a board member for Pinellas Core Management Services when she was confronted with statements she made during Archie's termination hearing that attributed his firing to those agencies.

Dabbs and Cole also had alleged that Archie was responsible for the "misuse" of $40,000. But a JWB site visit in late December did not uncover any misappropriated funds.

CAP is a nonprofit community organization in the city's Union Academy neighborhood that offers tutoring, counseling and job placement. It is headquartered at the Union Academy Family Center, an old segregated school that was renovated by CAP in the 1980s. The building belongs to the city, which leases it to the organization for $1 a year.

Archie said he was ready to "move forward" and wanted to focus on healing the "polarization" of the past few months.

"I'm a man of faith, so I look at it like 'What man meant for evil, God meant for good,' " Archie said. "Not that I wanted to go through all this, but there are some good things coming out of it, like involvement by the community."

Archie was rehired at the same salary, $52,000 a year, that he was making when he was fired. The two staffers who were fired along with Archie — administrative services manager Leah Johnson and program director Frances Serrano-Lux — also have been rehired, Miles said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at (727) 445-4157 or farlow@sptimes.com.

David Archie returns as Citizens Alliance for Progress director in Tarpon Springs 03/30/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 8:20pm]
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