Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, July 19, 2010

'Incubator' contract renews question of missing $97,000

Original Community Services grant was awarded for $267,000
(or $267,909?), per screenshot from August 2009 ARRA update.

Missing from the Robinson-Briggs administration's resolution (R298-10) to the Council tonight is any mention of the approximately $97,000 from this grant that it could not account for when pressed by the Plainfield Action Services (PAS) board last October (see my full post here) --

...[i]f you check the secret City web pages on the Stimulus (see here), you will see on Page 5 a 'Community Development Block Grant' for an unspecified amount on which the City was 'awaiting agency guidance'. Was that the grant in question? Could be, but since the City has never updated those web pages, you would be taking a shot in the dark ...

Maybe we'll have better luck checking the ARRA update posted by the Robinson-Briggs administration in early August (see here, in PDF). If you check slide 6 of the 9-slide show, you will find an item entitled 'Community Services Block Grant', which at $267,000 is the closest in any city documentation to the actual grant in question. The City does not list its purpose, only that it was a formula-based grant, and has been awarded. I'm guessing that this is the grant in question."
The original ARRA (President Obama's 'Stimulus' program) grant was for $267,909 for a jobs-training program.

Plainfield's City Council has before it a resolution to award a contract for nearly $185,000 tonight to 'The Incubator' for job training (including the acquisition of a $70,000 van).

This is presumably the rump of the PAS grant which Robinson-Briggs withdrew last fall after questions about the unaccounted-for $97,000 were raised publicly.

So here we are, nine months later, and the Robinson-Briggs administration is now proposing to outsource the execution of this grant. (I won't mention that whoever was out of work then, has most likely been out of work for the intervening nine months, hopefully not waiting for a sign of the Mayor's sense of urgency.)

Questions the Council may want to consider before any decision is made include --

  • What became of the approximately $97,000 from the original grant unaccounted for?

  • On what basis is this contract being given out? Was there an open public bidding process?

  • What about that pesky $70,000 van? Will the City have title to it? Who will drive it? Who will pay the driver? What will happen to the van once the program's funding runs out?

  • When the grant runs out, will the program fold, or will the City be asked to take it on permanently?
More financial mumbo-jumbo from the Robinson-Briggs administration?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Tn addition to the "who will own/pay for the van" questions, mine is, "Why a van at all?" If those to be trained can't even get a ride to their own training how can we expect them to be successful in their employment?

For a pretty negative view on training for the un- or under-employed

Anonymous said...

The whole process was misleading from the start. There was another contractor, who received funding under CDBG to provide the same services from a municipality other than Plainfield and submitted the proposal to Plainfield three days before the due date. The Counsel was mislead when it was told that no one else submitted. This training center is located in Plainfield and did not send a cover letter with the Incubator attached to an old grant from PAC. Thanks for trying to shed light on the darkness of Plainfield's backroom bidding!

Bob said...

I hope someone is paying attention. The voters and certainly the City Council needs to take notice. I didn't vote for her, but a small majority did and I hope they're happy with what they got. I know I am not happy with this mayor, and neither are most people I talk to. Thank you Plainfield today for keeping on top of this.