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January 29, 2021 - 8:28am

Two organizations submit proposals to provide youth services to the City of Batavia

The City of Batavia has received two responses to its request for proposal for agencies interested in providing youth services to the municipality.

Interim Manager Rachael Tabelski, speaking at Thursday night's City of Batavia Youth Board meeting via Zoom videoconferencing, said one firm scored an average of 90 and the other scored an average of 75. Scoring was done by Tabelski, members of the youth board and other persons named to the selection team.

A third firm responded with a no-bid letter stating that it did not wish to bid.

Tabelski shared this information with Youth Board members David Twichell, Paula Fischer and Lydia Schauf and City Council liaison Al McGinnis before continuing with the RFP discussion in executive session – without The Batavian reporter in attendance.

It was expected that the Youth Board would meet in the next week or so to interview one or both of the organizations that indicated responded favorably.

Tabelski did get back to The Batavian following the meeting last night.

“The plan going forward may include interviews (of one or both of the candidates) and for the measure to be put on a Council agenda to explain why the selection committee has rated a particular firm as the highest,” she said.

She would not disclose the names of the two organizations in the running, but said that the agenda of City Council’s Feb. 22 Conference Meeting “potentially” could include the youth services RFP item.

As an historical note, the Liberty Center for Youth opened in August 2019 as a joint venture of the City Youth Bureau and Genesee Area Family YMCA and the subsequent daily operation (before it was closed due to COVID-19) was being split 50/50 by the City Youth Bureau and YMCA.

The RFP was drafted by Jocelyn Sikorski, the former county/city youth bureau executive director, before she left the position to take the executive director job with Cornell Cooperative Extension. It was sent out on Dec. 1 to local organizations that may wish to contract with the city for the 2021-22 fiscal year that begins on April 1.

The city’s primary youth services are an afterschool program at the Liberty Center for Youth on the City Church St. Anthony’s campus and a summer recreation program, but it does participate in other activities, including those coordinated by Genesee County.

Fischer reiterated the youth board’s position that the city’s agreement with the county to share the cost of an executive director should be dissolved in light of Sikorski’s departure, the city’s budget situation and the county possibly looking to make changes to the way it delivers youth services.

It was noted that the county has not billed the city for youth services during the first quarter of this year and that the city has not requested any services from the county.

Twichell asked McGinnis if City Council understood that the youth board recommended ending the contract with the county, but Tabelski said dissolution of contracts was a responsibility of the city manager’s office, and ultimately it would be decided by City Council.

Fischer mentioned that the reason the city contracted with the county because, at the time, it was required by the state.

“Shared services were a big thing being pushed by the governor and it made sense to share that position and get the state funding – and save the city money in the process,” she said. “But in 2017, we no longer needed to have that position to get the state funding.”

In other developments, the board:

  • Welcomed Schauf, a former city youth bureau employee, to the committee for a term extending to Dec. 31, 2023. Schauf said she would be contacting Chelsea Elliott, the county’s deputy youth bureau executive director, about the youth board’s intention to participate in the annual Youth Awards Banquet, usually held in April.
  • Put out a call to enlist other community members to join the committee, noting that its bylaws call for 11 members with no fewer than five seats for adults. Currently, there are only four citizen representatives on the youth board.
  • Scheduled its next regular meeting for 6 p.m. Feb. 16 as long as space at City Hall is available as the consensus was to have an in-person meeting. The agenda for that meeting will include the appointment of officers and a review of the bylaws.

Previously:  Youth Board backs RFP for possible outsourcing, but wants city to keep in-house program 'on the table'

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