…and today the entire BRAVE program, or at least the parts of it at issue in the media investigations into what Baton Rouge mayor-president Sharon Weston Broome has done to what had been a promising crime-fighting initiative, has been frozen stiff.
Specifically, Broome’s office announced this afternoon that it was suspending all BRAVE program contracts until a “review” could be done of them, which is entertaining given that “review” is currently taking place here and in the local Baton Rouge media without a whole lot of input from the mayor-president’s office other than to respond to public records requests.
The big takeaway from Chawla’s segment is the Youth Empowerment Solutions program, which we covered to a decent extent on Friday…
The Youth Empowerment Solutions Program must be a big deal. Because the Louisiana Center For Health Equity picked up $16,000 for their 30 kids, as did the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Baptist Builders International got $12,000 for their 30 kids – they need better negotiating skills, it appears – and Assisi House, Inc. is on the list for $16,000 as well, though no minimum number of recruits is specified.
The YES program is a pretty sweet honey pot, from the looks of it. A line item…
“THE SERVICE PROVIDER WILL SERVE AS GROUP LEADER FOR THE BR BCJI/YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SOLUTIONS (YES) PROGRAM AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH. THEY WILL RECRUIT STUDENTS, SCHOOLS AND ORGANIZE YOUTH LED LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITY.”
Sounds like fun, no? And rewarding as well. Lionel Franklin, Jr., was to be paid $5,000 as a group leader. As was Kadeidra Willis. Letitia Bowman was only on the list for $4,111 for that job, but Patricia Woods is on for $5,000. Ditto for Tremaine Sterling, Karmyce Chisley, Durell Hamilton and Jane Loraine Brown. Additionally, Dawn Chanet Collins is catching $6,000 to…
“PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: PROVIDER WILL SERVE AS OUTREACH PROGRAM MONITOR FOR THE BCJI/YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SOLUTIONS (YES) PROGRAM AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH. TERM:APRIL 17, 2017 THRU SEPTEMBER 30, 2017.”
In addition, Evelyn Stewart and Adell Brown, Jr. were each listed for $4,500 to…
“REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES FOR THE YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SOLUTION (YES) PROGRAM. DEVELOP AN EVALUATION TOOL OR INSTRUMENT TO ASSESS THE PROGRAMS OFFERED THROUGH THE YES PROGRAM BASED ON THE IMPLEMENTATION GUIDELINES. CONDUCT A SITE”
Chawla’s investigation proved something we expected, which was that the YES program was up and running through a different funding source and had been “beefed up” by BRAVE money Broome or her people essentially looted from LSU. The mayor’s office
What seems pretty clear is something Broome’s mayoral primary rival, state representative C. Denise Marcelle, bashed her for late last week – namely, that Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Dr. James Gilmore is going to be made the scapegoat for the BRAVE scandal. That might be just, as Chawla’s report has documentation of communications between Gilmore and Arther “Silky Slim” Reed, whose BRAVE contract was the bomb that went off and caused this scandal, in which Gilmore advised Reed to keep the contract confidential. He might have needed to tell Reed to keep his mouth shut altogether, because had he not set upon the Baton Rouge Metro Council last week and told them “I piss on your confederacy” and described the mass murder of Baton Rouge law enforcement officers by domestic terrorist Gavin Long last year as “justice,” it’s likely no one would have connected all these dots.
Gilmore might be a fairly just fall guy regardless of Marcelle’s protests, but this scandal doesn’t stop until it reaches Broome’s feet. Maladministration of tax dollars at this level can’t be put off on the failures of employees. Broome is responsible either for being hip deep in the bad decisions made which ultimately killed the program, or for being an absentee landlord of a derelict fire hazard of a mayor’s office which destroyed one of the rare quality programs the city-parish actually ran.
In any event, there is no way to see this mess but as a shockingly poor example of public-sector administration, and a terrible omen for what damage the Broome administration is capable of inflicting on East Baton Rouge Parish.