It wasn’t included on the agenda, but at the June 1 meeting the City Council received a rare update on the Cure Violence program.
When the Cure Violence Program was being approved for funding by the Greensboro City Council in October 2019 and November 2020, City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson was recused because of a conflict of interest.
Johnson is the executive director of One Step Further, which contracted with the city to run the program for $500,000 in 2019 and $400,000 in 2020. Even though One Step Further is a nonprofit, it was decided that Johnson, as executive director, had a conflict of interest and should not participate in the votes.
Usually, when a councilmember is recused from an item on the agenda, they are recused from the entire item, which includes the discussion. With Cure Violence, Johnson has been recused from the votes, but not the discussions, and as a sitting councilmember has spoken in favor of awarding the contract to One Step Further.
Continuing in that very limited recusal, Johnson in her official capacity as a member of the City Council did give a brief report to the City Council at its June 1 meeting on the Cure Violence program as the executive director of One Step Further.
Also, as a sitting member of the City Council, Johnson directed Assistant City Manager Trey Davis to give a more detailed report on the results of the Cure Violence program that is run by her agency.
Johnson said, “People need more information. They need to know what is happening.”
Also, as a councilmember, or perhaps as executive director of One Step Further, Johnson asked for “a place on the City of Greensboro website where we can keep people abreast of the situation.”
Davis began his presentation by stating that he didn’t have much data because Gate City Coalition, which is the official name of the Greensboro Cure Violence program, had not been able to coordinate the training with Cure Violence Global on how to capture the data and track it more closely.
This is a program that was funded by the City Council in October 2019. It would seem that how to track and store data would have been included in the initial training.
The update by Davis had some interesting data points nonetheless. Davis said that in January there were 46 participants in the program.
He explained that a participant was someone who met four different criteria, which included gang involvement, possession of weapons, known involvement in criminal activity, known involvement in street activity, known as a victim of violence, known to have served jail or prison time and fits within an age range of 16 to 25 years old.
Davis said that in February the number of participants who met the criteria had increased to 56 and in March 57.
In April, the number of participants went down to 48, which is, according to Davis, termed a success because some participants had been discharged, meaning they no longer meet the criteria.
It is however a little hard to understand how you can rate the success of a program if more participants is good, because it means more outreach in the communities, and fewer participants is good, because it means participants have been discharged.
Davis said that according to Cure Violence they had averaged about eight violent interruptions a week. However, there was no definition offered of what constitutes a violent interruption or if there was any corroborating evidence to support this statement.
Davis offered to provide quarterly updates to the City Council that would include more data.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan asked for a report on Cure Violence “if not weekly at very least monthly.”