The issues involved in awarding the $200,000 housing counseling contract are more complicated than indicated in the Rhino Times article headlined, “Controversial Housing Counseling Contract To Be Considered March 1,” according to Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan.

Vaughan said that a number of councilmembers had questions about awarding the contract to Family Services of the Piedmont, not only Councilmember Sharon Hightower, and that was why the item was taken off the agenda for the City Council meeting in December.

Vaughan was somewhat sketchy about the reason that the three respondents to the request for proposals (RFP) were called back for additional oral presentations, but said that she and Hightower were not the only members of the City Council to view those virtual presentations.  Vaughan said that councilmembers Hugh Holston, Tammi Thurm and Nancy Hoffmann also viewed at least some of the presentations.  Vaughan said that none of the councilmembers asked any questions and all city councilmembers were invited to view the presentations.

Vaughan said that she had concerns about the recommendation to award the two-year $200,000 contract to Family Services of the Piedmont rather than the Housing Consultants Group.  Vaughan said, “I had some questions because I had worked with the Housing Consultants Group and knew how effective they were.”

Vaughan also said that she had no idea why the city panel charged with making a recommendation on the contract rated Housing Consultants Group third out of the three organizations that responded to the RFP.

But she noted that it is a recommendation and that the City Council doesn’t always follow the recommendations made by such panels.

Vaughan said, “The issue is that all three of these are really good companies, but for the Housing Consultants Group this is really their niche.”

Vaughan said that she thought this was a good opportunity to look at expanding the program and that she wasn’t sure what motion would be made at the Tuesday, March 1 meeting but that it could be to start over and issue another RFP for an expanded program.