UPDATED: Travelers Rest, Rolling Fork end grant management contract amid community concerns

Published 12:58 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023

Travelers Rest Baptist Church and its non-profit wing have ended the grant management agreement with the City of Rolling Fork.

In a meeting with city officials earlier this week, Travelers Rest representatives voiced concern and delivered a cease-and-desist letter seeking to cancel all contractual agreements with Travelers Rest and its ministries.

In August, the Mayor and Board of Alderpersons voted unanimously to contract with Travelers Rest Ministries, CDC, to serve as the official grant management entity with Dr. General Bryant Jr. as the representative of Travelers Rest.

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According to reports by WLBT’s Maggie Wade, the now-defunct contract stated Travelers Rest Ministries was given the Grant Management Master Services Agreement for Public Assistance.

Under the contract, an engineer would’ve been paid $9,400 a week plus expenses, which included more than $1,900 for lodging. An administrative assistant with Travelers Rest Ministries will be paid $4,000 a week — approximately $16,000 a month.

Bryant, as the program manager, would have been paid $8,400 a week — more than $33,000 a month.

Earlier this month, residents in Rolling Fork questioned the terms of the agreement, which would’ve paid both the pastor of Travelers Rest and other ministry members to manage grants and disburse aid, while many residents of the community have yet to receive relief more than six months after a deadly tornado.

It is unclear as of Thursday at 4 p.m. whether any funds had been paid through the contract.

The mayor and city board held a special called meeting on Wednesday to accept the letter.

“I applaud Travelers Rest and these fine gentlemen for their willingness to engage in this constructive dialogue,” Mayor Eldridge Walker said in a statement. “By accepting the termination of the grant management agreement between Travelers Rest and the City, we can focus on improving the efficiency of the grant management process, allocating funds effectively, and having the greatest possible beneficial impact on our beloved city.”

This is a developing story.