City Council Balks At Approving New $600,000, Two-Year Contract To Father To The Fatherless For VRI Program

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The City Council on Tuesday night declined to approve a two-year $600,000 contract with a local non-profit group for the city's Violence Reduction Initiative.

Father to the Fatherless previously had the contract and was seeking an extension.

Kerry Hayes of the mayor's office asked for a one-week delay, saying the office wanted to make sure that all concerns of the council members were addressed.

Troy Rogers, the Public Safety coordinator for the City of Chattanooga, said, “The mutli-systemic therapy model that supports this work is grounded in years of empirical evidence from across the country — proving how effective it is. We were looking forward to working with the Chattanooga Police Department and our community partners to use this approach to help at-risk youth at the most crucial and dangerous time in their lives. We hope that these important services will be made available to Chattanooga families in the future.”

Councilman Anthony Byrd moved for the one-week deferral, but there was no second.

Then no one on the council made a motion to approve the contract that was recommended by the Berke administration.

Police Chief David Roddy earlier urged approval of the contract, saying the program was effective in helping to cut the rate of shootings and homicides in the city in recent months.

Most of the 10 speakers who addressed the council prior to the resolution being considered praised the work of the group - especially its one-to-one mentoring program with troubled young people.

The principal of Orchard Knob Middle School said students in the mentoring program at her school had experienced a turnaround.

Councilman Russell Gilbert said recently he had been unable to get any reports on the work done by the group.

Councilwoman Carol Berz questioned the credentials of the group.


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