FORMER CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT TELLS ALL ABOUT THE DISCRETIONARY FUND

by ivan | July 29, 2017 3:04 AM

Theo Gregory Sr. told DETV his side of the story about the oversight for the Wilmington City Council discretionary fund.

 

This was Theo’s response to the News Journal…

There is accountability and transparency with respect to City Council’s discretionary funds. It is a process that my administration inherited. I have personal knowledge that it had been in place under three Presidents before my administration. The core process has always been the same with slight variation.
The process is straight forward. Each Councilperson is awarded a fund that they manage. This has only been under the previous two Presidents. Before that each Councilperson approached the President if he or she had a public policy initiative or institution they wanted to support. That fund over the years has ranged from approximately $7,000 to $10,000. The protocol has always required that a percentage of the funds be used for scholarships. Councilpersons use the balance to support policy initiatives or institutions they view as sustaining and advancing Wilmington. Staff persons, in conjunction with the President, ensure the appropriateness of the expenditures within the rules. In doing so, we do not judge the matter’s value.
Secondly, the City Council has an operating budget. There are two discretionary funds. I shall call these funds A and B. Fund A is an administrative fund for items such as travel, fixed grants such as parades as well as purchasing tickets and ads. All councilpersons have access to Fund A. It’s managed by staff and the President. This fund is approximately $55,000.
Next, is Fund B. For all Presidents it has ranged from approximately $250,000-$500,000. Yes, the President and staff manages this fund. However, all of councilpersons participate. Each President pushes his or her major policy initiative, as we are elected to do. My initiative of ensuring that special needs youth have advocacy did not consume any more funds than the previous Presidents, in fact, it may have been less. Therefore, yes, I am one of the architects for Education Voices, Inc. (EVI). There was no city based entity before EVI. EVI made presentations before the Education Youth & Families Committee yearly. They received the annual report containing financials, budgets, mission statement, metrics, benchmarks and client testimonials. There has been a feeble suggestion that I remained connected to EVI. My policy position was that EVI, as a stand-alone nonprofit, should not be micro managed or have government interference. We provided accountability oversight by requiring detailed reports. Each grant over $5,000 is audited by the City Auditor. Yes, as Council President, we rightfully partnered with EVI to do an education forum. And yes, I noted with pride while campaigning that it was a major policy initiative. No regrets!
The balance of Fund B is accessible to all councilpersons. They all participate in the awarding of the funds relating to policy and institutional initiatives they believed worthy, e.g. painting overpass railroad bridge over I95 and Conaty Park. Further, tickets and ads supporting events are purchased using this fund. Staff ensures that all purchases are appropriate. The President gives the final approval. Councilpersons cannot use funds they manage for this purpose.
Let’s chat about my usage of discretionary funds. My life of public service has focused on educating, developing and training our young folk. To advance a people we must educate, develop and train them. They must be given access to opportunities to be able to compete. Economic development, without human development is for somebody else, other than the poor and disadvantaged of all races. So what have I done? Let’s see, I lead the creation of The Eden Park athletic field costing 370,000; P.S. DuPont Field renovation 2 times, allocated 2 million dollars for renovation of Hicks Anderson Community Center; architect for Greater Wilmington Youth Athletic Association (GWYAA), 20 year, a urban youth athletic association; Police Athletic League of Wilmington’s birth and development, secured initial 1.2 Million City dollars; architect of Moyer Academy; Education Voice Inc. etc.. And, yes I served on PALW’s board and chaired it at one time. No regrets, proud to be a Wilmingtonian.
Now, let’s chat about Student Disabilities Advocate, Inc. Thanks PALW for partnering as SDA secured its 501 (c)(3) status. Thanks for taking SDA in as a pilot program as SDA proved itself. We expanded the EVI concept to include homeless and bullied students. SDA is consistent with the policy recommendations of the CDC report as to what is needed for our community. We are advocating for special needs, homeless and bullied public school children ensuring that they get, as required by law, a free and appropriate public education. As Always, blessed I am. Visit Lawsda.org
Theopalis K. Gregory, Sr. Esq.

 

 

 

Source URL: http://detvch.com/video/former-city-council-president-tells-all-about-the-discretionary-fund/07/2017/