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Greene County hired Big Momma’s Coffee and Espresso Bar LLC CEO and community activist Lyle Foster to administer more than $34 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Starting today, Foster is slated to work for the county through year's end as its Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act fund grants administrator, according to a news release.
“It is because the impact of the novel coronavirus is far from being fully realized, I appreciate how important and needed the CARES Act funds are for our area’s ongoing recovery and mitigation processes,” Foster said in the release. “The Greene County Commission has a tremendous task in front of them and one they are taking extremely seriously as is evidenced by the establishment of this role.
"I look forward to being a part of making the management of these funds as equitable and transparent as possible.”
The $34.4 million in Greene County funding was part of $2.3 billion in federal stimulus funds received by the state in April. Counties have until Dec. 30 to disburse the money throughout the community before the funds have to be returned to the federal government. Last month, the commission heard a proposal on the funds, approving a resolution to hire an administrator to oversee the process, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Foster will work with county officials to determine the best use of the funds, according to the release. County spokesperson Donna Barton said Foster would be paid monthly through the CARES Act funds and that his maximum contract salary would not exceed $58,000.
SBJ previously reported the funds may be used to cover COVID-19-related expenses of public hospitals, clinics, testing and emergency medical response, as well as communication of public health orders, acquisition and distribution of personal protective equipment, disinfection of public areas, the issuance of paid sick leave to public employees, and payroll expenses for public employees who responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is an enormous task to do appropriately,” Greene County Budget Officer Jeff Scott told county commissioners May 12. “We want to stress greatly … we need to know the problems of the community [and] the impact of COVID-19 on the community.”
Beyond his work leading Big Momma’s on Commercial Street, Foster has more than 40 years of experience in grant writing, reviewing and management, as well as more than 20 years of working in nonprofit administration, according to the release.
He's been active in advocating for Springfield’s black residents, working as curator for the city’s African American community through a Missouri State University oral history project called The Journey Continues.
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