The Greensboro City Council voted to deny awarding a $200,000 contract to Family Services of the Piedmont for housing counseling at the Tuesday, March 1 City Council meeting.

Councilmember Sharon Hightower made the motion to deny the contract as soon as Mayor Nancy Vaughan finished reading the agenda item.  The vote to deny awarding the contract to Family Service of the Piedmont passed on a 5-to-3 vote with Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter absent.

Those voting in favor of denial were Mayor Vaughan and Councilmembers Hightower, Yvonne Johnson, Goldie Wells and Hugh Holston.  Voting against the denial were Councilmembers Nancy Hoffmann, Justin Outling and Tammi Thurm.

Hightower made the motion to deny and explained that there were some flaws in the process that twice recommended the contract be awarded to Family Service of the Piedmont over the Housing Consultants Group.

Outling asked that Hightower go into more detail about what the flaws were.

Hightower said that the award letter was sent to Family Service of Piedmont before the City Council had voted to award the contract.

Outling noted that sending the letter out early didn’t have anything to do with how the respondents to the request for proposals (RFP) were analyzed and ranked by the panel charged with making a recommendation.

Neighborhood Development Director Michelle Kennedy said the letter was “the standard letter that goes out” from her department and agreed that sending the letter had “nothing to do with the process.”  She added that the letter was being revised to state that council action was required for the contract to be awarded.

Vaughan said that she had worked closely with the Housing Consultants Group and added, “Quite frankly, I was shocked at the ranking.”  The ranking by the Neighborhood Development panel ranked Family Service first and Housing Consultants Group third, even after the panel was told to go back and allow each group to make a second oral presentation.

Thurm said, “I understand the concern over the timing of that letter, however that doesn’t impact the quality of the RFP and I don’t see a reason not to support staff on their recommendation.”

Hightower said, “I’d like to see us redo this again.”

Outling asked if before the rankings were announced if there had been any issues raised about the RFP process.

Kennedy said, “Not to my knowledge.”

Outling then asked if Kennedy saw any defects in the RFP process.

Kennedy said, “On its face it’s appropriate.”

Vaughan said, “There is an issue with the process.  I don’t think it reflects the quality of the application.”