published Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Four groups vying to run Chattanooga’s crime-fighting initiative

BIDDERS

Four organizations that bid:

Hope for the Inner City — $270,000

Tennessee Community Counseling Services — $264,400

Impact1 — $138,725

Altruistic ADR Services — $300,000

Four organizations are vying for the position to lead the community piece of Mayor Andy Berke’s crime fighting plan to reduce shootings and killings in Chattanooga.

Those organizations — Hope of the Inner City, Tennessee Community Counseling Services, Impact1 and Altruistic ADR Services — submitted a bid by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline to head the support services for the Chattanooga Violence Reduction Initiative.

The mayor’s office resubmitted a request for proposals after the city cut ties with A Better Tomorrow’s director Richard Bennett when he was arrested June 6 in a park with drugs, an open beer, a woman and his pants unzipped.

Bennett was the face of a second chance in VRI to the gang members and felons that were at the city’s call-in offering job opportunities and education and his number was passed out throughout the city. He was set to expand his role this month as the only one who bid to head the social services and case management of the criminals.

Monday’s bids ranged from nearly $140,000 to $300,000 and at least two of the organizations are local in Chattanooga. Lacie Stone, the mayor’s spokeswoman, didn’t release any more details on the organizations Monday afternoon and Stone said that Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith wasn’t available.

The mayor’s office will already start paying Hope for the Inner City in this coming year’s fiscal budget. Director Paul Green was given $75,000 of taxpayer funds to head an ex-offender program. Then days after Bennett was ousted, Green met with Smith to discuss expanding his role in VRI, which he is now asking for $270,000 for this job.

The Tennessee Community Counseling Services, located in Eastgate, is asking for $264,400. The organization has offered family counseling, substance abuse, anger management and treatment for the last 12 years.

A group of public safety employees and the mayor’s office will choose an organization, but the city doesn’t have a time line in mind. One of the requirements is for the organization to have three years experience providing services and monitoring criminals.

Councilman Moses Freeman, head of the council’s public safety committee, said he hopes the mayor’s office chooses a local group that understands the needs of this community.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

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about Joy Lukachick...

Joy Lukachick is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press Since 2009, she's covered breaking news, high-profile trials, stories of lost lives and of regained hope and done investigative work. Raised near the Bayou, Joy’s hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Joy was a staff writer for the Daily Reveille. When Joy isn't chasing ...

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