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Re: “Shelby County Commission Votes to Defund Office of Early Childhood and Youth

Mike, I tried to answer your questions and provided additional information. I did notice the question marks after each statement. Sorry for not including links. As the sponsor of this measure, I have been defending the office for the last three years and I'm pretty familiar with its original role and continuing purpose.

The post immediately following your original quotes Jones from the article about commissioners being confused. My too lazy or unwilling to listen comment was in reference to her statement. That's because the office has existed for three years, commissioners have voted to accept grant dollars to that office and administrators have met with commissioners and presented many times. Failure of commissioners to understand what the office does falls on them.

As I pointed out earlier the office has grown. Initially it had no grant funding. Once grants were obtained, OEYC as the lead agency in many cases had to administer the grants and hold the agencies providing services accountable. That requires more than a 2 person staff. You are correct that the grant dollars are other government money that would go to other communities with a lesser infant mortality, teen pregnancy or youth violence problem if we did not apply or receive them. If OEYC goes away, then so will a large amount of grant dollars. Then the choice for local government is to find local dollars or ignore the problem. Churches, not-for-profits lack the capacity to deal with the magnitude of these specific problems alone, but can be part of the solution. There are some private dollars involved, but at the moment I don't know the exact amount. The requirements will vary by grant, but most of these do not require a local government match, but do require coordinator (staff) funded by the grant. If OECY remains, but grants expire, then like all other agencies the associated staff and programs will go away as well, unless a new source(s) of funding are found.

The bottomline on OECY is that it has brought accountability, collaboration, efficiency and new grant dollars to these children's initiatives. OECY is helping get the most bang for our buck as indicated by declining (though slightly) infant mortality numbers over the last two years.

Posted by mikecarpenter1 on 06/09/2011 at 5:08 PM

Re: “Shelby County Commission Votes to Defund Office of Early Childhood and Youth

Yes, Mick. I did respond to all of his questions as I said in the previous post. You are 100% correct on that point. The quote about "confusion" was not in his post, comes from the article and is in reference to the commission.

Posted by mikecarpenter1 on 06/09/2011 at 2:31 PM

Re: “Shelby County Commission Votes to Defund Office of Early Childhood and Youth

Mick, I never said anything about Hollihan. I addressed his questions without naming him and I characterized the quote from the article, “There is a lot of confusion about the office and what it does" as from those lazy or unwilling to listen. That quote was not part of Hollihan's post. In fact, it was a reference to the commissioners as the article above indicates. I stand by that characterization since administrators of the office have been before the commission many times and are accessible to those who want to know more about the office. Just as with past exchanges between us, you rarely address the facts, but turn to the Tea Party manual on character attacks and commence assualting. You offered the quote from the CA as proof, which indicates you thought it sufficient to defend your point. I merely showed that your effort was not sufficient and in fact a half truth. Clearly, you are rattled by that. I have the utmost respect for Hollihan and will gladly apologize to him if he took my comments about "lazy" and "unwilling to listen" as directed to him. The only shameful spectacle is how you have twisted a legitimate policy discussion into an online soap opera.

Posted by mikecarpenter1 on 06/09/2011 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Shelby County Commission Votes to Defund Office of Early Childhood and Youth

I won't apologize. Your idea of research is a quote from the Commercial Appeal? Nice try, but here is the excerpt you left out: "Coffey, who spent the last four years as the manager of the City of Memphis' Sexual Assault Resource Center, said she envisions the county's office for children as a network of comprehensive, integrated and effective support and services," which is what I described above. The first year budget for the office was $100,000 and no grant dollars. Now it adminsters more than $6 million in NEW grant dollars since 2008. What's an outrageous insult is your attempt to discredit me and to offer no viable alternative for the thousands of suffering children in the community, many of which are served by the work of this office.

Posted by mikecarpenter1 on 06/09/2011 at 12:33 PM

Re: “Shelby County Commission Votes to Defund Office of Early Childhood and Youth

The budget of the office was never 50,000. The office budget is 391,000, which leverages more than $6 million in federal, state and private grants for children. Specifically, the office administers those grants, holds the vendors providing the services accountable for results and fosters collaboration between agencies to limit competition for grant dollars and reduce duplication of services and realize efficiencies. The grants it adminsiters includes infant mortality, teen pregnancy and child passenger safety. We are one of three communities in the nation invited to apply for Defending Children grant funds that address youth exposure to violence and the long-term affects on children. The reason we have received these funds and the capacity of the office has increased is because of the competency of the staff and the increasing confidence granting entities have in the oversight of their money. Without this office, the Defending Children grant goes away and the liklihood of receiving the same level of funding from other entities decreases dramatically. The office was never sold as anything more or less than what it is today. There is no confusion about what the office does, only people to lazy to ask or unwilling to listen.

Posted by mikecarpenter1 on 06/09/2011 at 9:09 AM


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