Board of County Commissioners
Gadsden County, Florida
Special Meeting to Discuss Non-Profit Senior Programs
February 20, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.
Present:†††††††††††††† Kimblin NeSmith, Chair, District 3
Eric Hinson, Vice Chair, District 1
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ronterious ďRonĒ Green, Vice Chair, District 5
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Alonzetta Simpkins, District 2††††††††††††††††††††
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Brenda Holt, District 4
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Edward J. Dixon, County Administrator
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Clayton Knowles, County Attorney
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Marcella Blocker, Deputy Clerk
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Crystal Jimenez, Deputy Clerk
Invocation, Pledge of Allegiance
††Chair Nesmith welcomed everyone to the meeting at 4:03 pm. Commissioner Simpkins did invocation. Pledge of allegiance.
Amendments and Approval of Agenda
Citizens Requesting to be Heard on Non-Agenda Items (3-minute limit)
Anyone wishing to speak on agenda items or non-agenda items should schedule or notify the County Administrator's Office before attending the meeting and will be asked to follow the Gadsden County Public Meetings Citizens Access Guidelines. Also, Public comment for Commission meetings can be submitted via email to CitizensToBeHeard@gadsdencountyfl.gov †until noon on February 20, 2023.† Comments submitted after the deadline, but prior to the meeting, will be added to the official record; however, the County cannot guarantee that Commissioners and staff will have adequate time to review comments prior to the meeting.
††Chair Nesmith read the above statement aloud.
Commissioner Green in at 4:06 pm.
††Chair Nesmith said this is a special meeting to discuss additional funding for non-profit senior programs.†
Discussion of Additional Funding for Non-Profit Senior Programs
††Mr. Dixon said been in discussion about the relationship of county with foundation. Simpkins wanted to discuss funding for additional programs with senior citizens. Have given programs $10,000 each. This conversation is to discuss funding for additional.
††Green asked how many in additions as it relates to the senior programs and pertaining to the stipends. Are they increasing those?
††Nesmith said the end of last year they were re-organizing. Mr. Dixon said every non-profit is caught up. Includes Quincy, Havana and Chattahoochee. Did not anticipate giving those $10,000. Would be covered in budget they passed. Heard convo from Wellness in their participation. Have not been funded prior to now but providing services. Midway have received $10,000 for 2 years. Have shared emails between them and the clerk about them not requesting the money.
Hinson in at 4:13 pm.† †
At what level they will fund Wellness, Gretna and Midway. With Wellness, they are in competition. About a million dollars on the line in terms of grants they are going after. To be provider of services throughout the county. Seems intuitive to give funding to someone who will compete against them. If they win grant, not obligated. Those two things are at odds with each other about how they move forward. For that situation they are in competition with, it is a problem.
†Green said Gretna is not under the funding they approved. Why? City chose to have their own program. Workshop should have happened first before this meeting. Whats the budget for non-profits? When will they know to when they can expect to know who will be allotted the funding they are in competition with?
††Mr. Dixon asked Ms. Fryson, they have not released information on when they are going to release RFP. No timeframe. Mr. Dixon said the budget would have shown all seniors funded, $100,000. Shows GSS being funded as well.
††Green said if they donít get this funding, they are back to trying to fund the program they are taking under their umbrella. Question they would have to ask other non-profits. Thatís what sustained the program prior to transition. Higher priority of funding that they are connected to were accustomed.
††Simpkins said she requested this meeting because they stated in the last meeting there was a req for 475 for req for senior foundation. She came in in the tail end of it, she did her own research to find out what happened. Gadsden Wellness is providing services to about the same amount of seniors that .. is serving. GSS was receiving funding from that grant source. $60,000 to them. GSS was an independent non-profit. She had a conversation. she was told that the RFP would probably come out in March for this funding. Foundation would not be able to apply, would be able to apply for the older American grant. Do not qualify for both of the grants. What they have on the table, they will not receive the funding. Plan does not line up. Need to have funders to the table with them. If they want the money, need to bring area agency at the table. Need a workshop with them. Yes, they need to fund the additional senior services because they are providing services. She agrees with Green, if Gadsden Wellness receives funding, area agency will ask how will they provide. Canít look at just GSS, something went wrong. Still reading to see what happened. Why those funds were not made available to senior services. Put a bandaid on it right now. Whatís the plan? Have a long term goal. Scope of services, deliverables expected. Not addressing it. No guarantee GW is going to get the funding. Lets give them some funding. As a board they decide how much because they are servicing seniors at this point. They may be their competition.
††Mr. Dixon said he disagrees. What you see is their plan. Plan is to survive this situation. Lost money because they lost their capability to build. Had to take steps because they have deliverables as well. Their plan is laid out anticipating that just as pragmatic that they would not get the grant. Laid out for 2 years to give opportunity to move in that direction. Ms. Washington is a grant writer. Minimize regularity of board support. Understand how money incitive. They pay a minimal amount for food. Not just a one stop situation, next 3 years in 5 locations. Did make the concession that they may not get the grant. Wellness is no different than Midway or Gretna. If they are providing the services, they ought to be funded. What they donít know is how the RFP. Believe they have an RFP. If there is something that can help the countyís plan, bring it up. At no point do they want to defund anyone providing services. May not be the time for that.
††Holt said have Dixon look at organization. Would have someone on staff until clerk said no. It was so that they could be aware. Other non-profits have not been able to apply. Simpkins said any non-profit. Gadsden Wellness center. When she met with them, area agency sent an email to Cunningham they were doing well. Training to do accounting. Area agency knew what they were doing. Why was it an emergency. There was money left on the table they could have applied for. Can not take from one program to go run your program. They said they didnít have to notify them. Did you ask the seniors you were approving these funds. they said no. Very public meeting they had. People complaining about the non-profit. Did background check? So that they can be comfortable, they said no. If they are above, they can work things out. Need to audit programs but other programs as well. This board asked for that organization to be set up and they voted on it. If going to look at funding, still wants to see background check but need to give other organizations a chance to apply.
††Nesmith said they are talking about wellness center. He visited the organization in action. His position he expressed is the same now as it was then. He saw great work. Residents were engaged and he informed them that he supports them. He informed them that they are created a process that is going to out live this board. For non-profits and excited for them to apply to be a part of that process. They are serving seniors. Between seniors and young people, no one else is more important. Echoed Green, this is not a competition. Organization they have to stabilize. Not to exclude anyone. The foundation they are creating is important. He received a call asking is he is going to support them. Just 2 weeks ago he received a call from an organization and they have a reading program for children. He req. X number of dollars from the board. The process for entities for non-profits to receive money. Not enough money. Not going to fund dollars outside of any other area. In support of wellness center. until process is in place to get everyone to apply. Have to stabilize something first.
††Simpkins said need to take non-profit off the table. Putting something in place for non-profits and GW GSS is a non-profit. Unless they are creating a dept. under elderly affairs and saying GCS will fall under their elderly affairs dept. Funding GS which is a non profit. Canít continue to say that they are putting something in place for non-profits and not funding GS. She is for seniors, and when she said plan, plan needs to include a scope of services and deliverables. She spoke to the same person they spoke with, the way that it is set up right now, they will not receive the funding if the RFP came out today. Needs to be expanded. Need to come to the table with the organization that provides the funding. Part of the problem with the previous organization is, yes they followed the directive, however, have they addressed the problem Senior services had? Conflict based on what clerk told them. Problem area agency had was the turn overs. Lack of training. All for Gadsden county senior services but with the foundation, they are bringing over the same employees. So they have the same problems. Ms. Washington will be a great asset. The issue why the funding was taken, problem started back in 2020 and it was never rectified. So then it goes to them changing the name, is that going to correct the problem?
††Mr. Dixon said turnover is at the base of GSS problems. Ability for anybody to hold on to staff is serious. They kept losing the staff. No diff. than the clerks who have a specialized job. Their building problems were the same. Area agency got tired of training someone every 5 min because people kept leaving. Had a fixed budget. Couldnít raise salaries without cutting services to seniors. The area agency said they canít go into the fiscal year with all of the money on their books. Create someone that can do it. AA resolved their problem and created a problem with them. GSS had a problem that was not communicated. To fix, fund them, donít let them go. To stabilize people that are there and not let them go. County will take over most services. Services in Midway are very different. Certain programs will only donate to non-profits. County will absorb most of the cost.
††Simpkins said to help her understand. Wasnít supposed to be about GSS. GCSS will be ran by GC? Dixon said the service centers will be operated by the BOCC. Majority of the services will be only.. GCSS will be ran by the BOCC? Services for the seniors of GC will be provided by BOCC. Dixon said majority, only thing done by the foundation is the program. Simpkins said the program is the problem. The building.
††Blackshear wanted to clear up. With the employees that was GSS are no longer there. Hired people that are competent to deliver. Not going in with the same individuals that area agency had a problem with. Have a very qualified staff now to take care of those concerns. Simpkins asked if executive officer, county employee or senior foundation? Dixon said first model anticipated following leon county model, which has director of elder affairs also serves as ED of the non-profit. Only person didnít like that model was the clerk. Attorney presented second model. Looking for models that work. Simpkins said so .. will have executive officer and will work with Ms Fryson. Make sure funding is complementary. Simpkins said when they look at leon countyís model, there is a list. There is a checklist when it comes to grant. Do they have that set up? $475,000 to a new foundation. Dixon said yes they have it. Will provide it to the board.
†† Green never got answer why they couldnít follow leon county model. Clerk stated otherwise, was a personal preference. That county is getting the funds, why canít they set up in the same format? Knowles spoke to leon county. Leon count does it diff. Similar to the model with GCSF. Fund directly into the Tallahassee senior foundation inc. $179,000, they have a contract w/ deliverables. Have its own board, city staffs the center. ED is employed by city of Tallahassee. He would add that they are careful with money, if misspent, its coming back to the board. Hashing out the details where the non profit receives the funding. If the board wants to. if its that way, its just a contract. Will need to be in that contract. Contractor will be their guide. Nesmith asked for the name, a private non-profit, receives funding from city of Tallahassee and leon county. Have copy of agreement. Green said thatís a good model. Also conversation that the city of quincy said they would buy into the foundation. Not created something that has not already been done.
††Holt said they need that before. They own the building, prosecutors office.. donít run the program. Need to look through the contract. Look at what funding could be used for.
††Nesmith asked.. works for the city of tallahassee. Sheilia Salier. Doesnít work for organization. Sheila is the manager for the center and ED for foundation. Simpkins asked if she oversees those employees for the organization. She does, nothing financial.
††Hinson said that happens. With school board is the same. Few heartburns, their urgency last week was people losing their jobs. Now, the BOCC hired new people. Fryson clarified prior to herself and ms Washington being hired throughout the county, there were 16 employees at GSS that was in place. GSS hired those individuals. To be fair, just accounting issues was the reason why GSS lost contract. Simpkins noticed they had turnover due to lack of training. Dixon said have turnover due to COVID, but he does training for people like this. Look at organization that has their own business, they have opera money and cares dollars. The board has not determine who should be on the board. Need to know what happened to opera money. May be a huge reason why. Fair for the board to figure out what is the why? Want to make sure no one takes advantage of the seniors.
††Simpkins said the initial was the funding for the other senior programs. Are they going to provide funding for the additional senior programs or are they waiting until they have total clarification only GSS and voting at the same time? Nesmith said they have to get their house in order. Its important they establish a good foundation with program they create. Can look at other programs that impact the seniors. GSF is a non profit, the difference is that they are helping to create. Simpkins said look at the services currently and she thinks that older American grant that provides the food. Currently they have food for some of the seniors, she believes they need to req proof of deliverables but services are currently being provided for those.
††Ms. Fryson said GSS is still operating under the assumption that they have OAA. Using same services. Providing transportation. Also providing home services and companionship services by healthcare providers. Nothing changed except they donít have the dollars. Simpkins said she was referring to services provided to other seniors. For the other seniors, when GSS was getting OAA dollars, BOCC was still providing additional funding.
††Holt asked a chart with everything. Asked attorney for legal opinion. Which programs, how theyíre being provided. Asked attorney for opinions that they may or may not provide. He already sent contract to Dixon. What was said was that they donít know if they applied for or not. They should not do that unless they had something in place. Didnít need clarification. Gets evidence in hand.
††Green said the subject matter was for. should have been funding for additional non-profit programs. same words but different meaning. Have gone almost 2 hours and no answer. This should have taken place after the non-profit program or should have just stated that they were going to ask for funds for organizations. He believes that if the services are being provided and they have funds, they should do that. Director did come in and gave req for funding. Other programs may not have same services and may not be the same amount of money.
††Simpkins said he was right. She should have just said what she wanted. Prior to her comments, listening to everyone else, she thought maybe she read wrong. Make a motion that they provide $45,000 in funding to GW./Hinson as long as GSS gets funding as well. In addition to GSS. They voted to fund the elder affairs office and foundation $475,000.
††Green said for clarity, where would funding come from? Amend something. Dixon said they can tell them. Holt said what if they donít get funding are they going to give money back? Green said he doesnít see where $45,000 if they donít get grant, that should not put them in the rate of the county should not expect anything back. Dixon said they wonít expect to get it back unless they say so. Nesmith said they are doing great work. Canít support it because there is not a process. It is setting them up to establish a precedent for special meeting. Holt said they have not given other non profits opportunity thatís why she wonít vote for it. Donít have a process in place.
††Green is in agreement with a process. The funding they given in the pass was $10,000 was other organizations aside from $60000 to senior services. Have to have category rating. Wellness center will need more than $10,000. Donít know how often other centers are meeting. Have to take that into effect when they decide on the process. Every non profit may not get same amount of money in pot. Wants to make sure there is a purpose for the meetings. Wants a workshop for non-profits. Nesmith said just to add, he gave a scenario earlier. Board can always change the amount. $50 and $100 thousand for non-profits. Could change to $150,000.
††Hinson said he thought in funding non-profits. Instead of putting money into programs, they need to build buildings. Put community centers. In the past, board established that senior centers are not a part of the non-profit conversation. Since they did not give funding to GSS, it changed agencies, the money had to go with the agency the state funded. Not giving them anything. Money should go as well. Let the state know they are playing fair. Need to continue to fund them.
††Simpkins assumed that when they receive grants, they do background checks etc.. they can do that. Identify what they want that funding to be used for.
††Dixon said it is important how they do it.
††Holt said that was the reason they set up the foundation. Still donít have anything in place, go to foundation.
††Hinson said someone brought up the idea that they should have a GC foundation, not just senior citizen, they have student needs. They fund things without having a process. Like the parade last year. Big bend, coming from Chattahoochee. Inconsistent now, have yet to fund them. Money is ear marked in the budget. Why take it away. Nesmith said no one is saying they are not going to fund them. Included in non-profit but excluded. Automatically fund them. Dixon said at the req of the board voted not to fund any non-profits. In the budget as receivers but have not moved for funding. Any services been interrupted? No. Hinson said have to be because they are not traveling. Money is for outreach. Dixon said thatís why it was brought to them and they asked for the contract. Approved funding for the center and foundation but need contract. Dixon said have not allowed any invoices to go through. Knowles said funding was approved, next step was to ascertain how the board wanted the operation to work. Contract with Gadsden senior services inc.
††Holt said the chair wonít give her the floor. Nesmith said he is not ignoring her, he is bringing clarity. Hinson said he did not get clarity. GSS got $190,000 PPP Loan. Do audit so they know what they are dealing with.
††Holt asked Ms Fryson how they got PPP. Ms. Fryson isnít sure. Dixon said not able to answer that. Green said the PPP, CARES Act is a non factor. If they got $190000, they have bills. He wished they would have had a system put in place because there are needs that need to be met. Nesmith asked Dixon to schedule a workshop for non-profits asap.
2-3 fails †††††
Motion to Adjourn
Adjourned at 6:27 pm.