For years PAL was run by CMPD as is the case in most cities. A combination of police staff and unpaid volunteers much like the YMCA, have provided sports related activities for under privileged youth in Charlotte since 1968. Currently according to the PAL web site the organization serves more than 1000 children.
The Charlotte police athletic league changed names last year with little fanfare or public input, but the name change was just the start and the least of PAL's troubles.
The CMPD web site now states "The new Police Activities League is now under new direction. The new site is now available to support more corporate sponsors, award PAL Grants and Scholarships as well as take donations."
By removing PAL from the CMPD Chief Monroe has taken the charity out from under the control of the department's budget and audit process. So much the better to compensate your cronies and thugs.
Chief Monroe decided to replace the PAL CMPD staff with outsiders, enter Jeff Hood. Mr. Hood came to PAL via Dell Curry's Athletes United for Youth and unfortunately a lot of untidy baggage came along for the ride.
Seems Jeff Hood and Dell Curry are not as good as friends as people have been led to believe. Cedar Posts has learned through sources that Curry was pretty unhappy with the way Jeff Hood handled the finances of the Athletes United for Youth.
Rumors abound that countless audit questions surfaced last year and Jeff Hood has either paid or agreed to pay substantial amount of money back to Dell and AUFY.
Hood and Chief Monroe along with Captain Bruce Bellamy can often be found on the golf course together so it is not surprise that Monroe tapped Hood to run PAL.
Another one of Monroe's circle of friends is PAL Board Chair Aaron Means who did an end run on the rest of the board to install Jeff Hood as executive director. Other board members could not be reached for comment.
Since Hood took over, several paid staff have left PAL due to issues with Hood and his team. Most of the staff Hood brought over supposedly do not meet the background requirements to work with kids and the police.
Jeff Hood's management style may not be to Chief Monroe's liking either. Monroe assigned several of CMPD's school resource officers to work at PAL and Hood said he didn't want them and promptly hired his own people. Even though the SRO's were free and Hood spent thousands hiring his own staff from AUFY.
Also dozens of longtime volunteers have left the PAL organization, in a reported dispute with director Hood.
It has also been reported that the new PAL Van Drivers (all volunteers) are driving city owned vans without the required city permit. The city has a policy of all city vehicle users must take a driving class called the Smith System and then apply for a city permit from the city's Insurance and Risk Management department.
Cedar Posts sources report that the majority of PAL drivers have been replaced by friends of Jeff Hood, it is unknown if any have the proper city permit or have attended the Smith System class.
Seems that Mr. Hood has turned the PAL into his own little fiefdom with little oversight from the appointed board. Expect budget over runs and requests for massive amounts of taxpayer money to bail out PAL as the next budget process gets underway.
Note: Cedar Posts attempted to reach several PAL board members and Charlotte City Council via email and telephone regarding the above allegations. Councilwoman Nancy Carter forwarded our questions to Chief Monroe and is awaiting his response. No other members of council or the PAL Board have responed to our requests for comments or answers.