At the November 25 Indianola Board of Aldermen meeting, the city leaders approved a request made by Dr. Adrian Brown (Ph.D) and Municipal Court Judge Kuykendall Horne-Murry to employ Brown & Associates, Inc., to serve as the administrator for the acquired grants associated with the new Indianola Municipal Drug Court.
The decision was made with four of the five aldermen voting yes and Alderman Sam Brock casting an abstention.
The pronouncement was expedited based on an assertion from Brown that the U.S. Department of Justice is requesting additional work be done to the budget and submitted by December 3.
Brown said, “Part of the process, once a grant is awarded and accepted by the city the next step is to retain a grants administrator so that that particular entity can act in an official capacity on behalf of the city.”
Brock asked, “Do we need some kind of document or something stating such conditions as what is needed?” A discussion ensued wherein Mayor Steve Rosenthal alluded to the early December deadline and suggested that they move forward.
He then asked Brown to verbally run through his responsibilities as administrator. Brown responded, “Basically, my role and responsibility will be to serve as the project manager/grants administrator on behalf of the city of Indianola, making sure the city remains compliant with all federal, local and state guidelines.”
Rosenthal then asked that he present the board with his standard contract so it could be reviewed by the attorney and voted on at the next meeting. Rosenthal asked Brown if approving him as grant administrator could be done on a year-by-year basis and Brown said that decision was up to the city.
Citing unfinished business in the form of needing to approve Brown’s contract, Brock asked that the matter be tabled despite Brown’s earlier acknowledgement that the U.S. D.O.J. needed the administrator to submit certain documents by December 3. Brock said making decisions at the last minute creates a problem.
Brown explained that he had only received the email a few days prior and that Rosenthal and the City Clerk were out of town; however, according to him, he did immediately request a place on the agenda.
Rosenthal said, “We’ll approve the contract come our next meeting, our meeting in December. We definitely need a grant administrator and if we want to look elsewhere, which I am not recommending, but we’re going to need a grant administrator and there’d be nobody better than the man who wrote the grant.”
Alderman Marvin Elder made the motion.
Brock also asked about the fee for Brown’s services. “When the proposal was written there was an amount of $20,000 set aside annually for grant administration fee,” Brown said.
That statement prompted Rosenthal to ask if that amount was included in the grant with no extra cost to the city. Brown replied, “It was $10,000 budgeted on the federal side and $10,000 was budgeted as a local match, so that $10,000 would be inclusive of the $25,000.”
Alderman Darrell Simpson asked if that amount was for the four-year term of the grant or annually. Brown responded, “That’s for the term of the grant per year.” Alderman Gary Fratesi then queried, “So, that’s $80,000; we’ve got a $400,000, possibly $350,000 to $400,000 complete budget, am I right, not a year, but for the four years, correct?” Brown affirmed that Fratesi was right.
Fratesi continued, “So, I’d like to get a budget of how y’all plan on doing this because that’s $80,000, now you’re down to about $300,000 for four years, so that’s less than a $100,000.”
At that point, Horne-Murry reminded the aldermen that the drug court has also received confirmation of a $50,000 annual outlay from the state plus the $25,000 match from the city.
Fratesi then clarified that the city leaders only voted to make a one-time match and that is subject to annual renewal. Horne-Murry affirmed and added, “We’ve been in communication about other possible sources.”
Again addressing the mayor and aldermen, Brown said, “I do want to say this to the board, Brown and Associates appreciates the city giving us the opportunity to apply for and subsequently getting this project funded. All of our fees are within compliance of, with grants administrators.”
Fratesi explained that he was not questioning the fees, but wanted to make sure there would be enough money to complete what was begun. He also mentioned the staff and positions for the drug court and Horne-Murry said she would have a better idea of what’s required staff-wise after meeting with the Supreme Court the next day.
She then presented a synopsis of the funds received so far. “We started off with a budget based on $400,000, and then received almost $393,000, received money from the city and then first didn’t get the money from the state, so we tweaked the budget again, then we went to the state in October and got the $50,000.”