COCAA/COTS, SEFF, Shawnee Forward contracts approved

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee Forward, at 231 N. Bell Ave. in Shawnee.

Some contracts were up for review this week as the city gears up for its new fiscal year, which begins in July.

Contracts with three organizations — Central Oklahoma Community Action Agency/Central Oklahoma Transit System (COCAA/COTS), Safe Events for Families (SEFF) and Shawnee Forward — were all renewed unanimously Monday through votes by the Shawnee City Commission.

COCAA/COTS

This year COCAA/COTS requested $79,000 for drivers to expand its transportation services. In May, the Community Service Contract Review committee recommended approval with an adjustment of awarding $75,000 instead. City commissioners agreed with the recommendation.

The organization received $63,000 last year, due to city revenues being down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEFF

There have been resident complaints about the lack of detailed audits from SEFF, as it is a requirement for contract review. The situation between the city and SEFF has been a little different than most. In previous years, the city has directly paid invoices tied to SEFF events — up to a set amount each year. Since SEFF did not actually receive money, audit requirements have not been enforced.

This year, the contract review board determined it couldn't make a recommendation unless more information was offered. Another meeting was slated and some adjustments were made to their request.

SEFF originally requested $73,000 for use with next year's events, $10,000 more than it received last year.

Later, it was determined that $65,000 would be recommended for a full year — or an option of $40,000 for a six-month contract, instead.

“I don't think a contract for six months is feasible,” Ward 4 City Commissioner Darren Rutherford said Monday.

Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a full-year contract for $65,000.

Trail Days, Boo on Bell and the Christmas Parade are among annual festivals SEFF puts on each year.

Shawnee Forward

Shawnee Forward asked for $325,000 for economic development work, plus $102,000 for a proposed incentive plan, as well as a change in how its business is conducted — more specifically, informing the city of its operations in private, through executive sessions.

“We would like to recommend this be changed to a bi-annual executive session at a City Commission meeting to keep the commissioners informed without risking the release of confidential recruitment and retention details to the public,” May's contract review agenda reads.

Contract review members chose to reject the change for the time-being — striking the item until a final interpretation of the request could be assessed to determine if it violates any Open Meeting and Open Records laws.

In May, Shawnee Assistant City Manager Ashley Neel advised the city is currently able to offer $295,000 toward a contract, but anything more than that would be extra funds that would have to be pulled from somewhere else. So, the contract review committee unanimously recommended that amount be considered.

On Monday, city commissioners approved the $295K contract, but denied the request to keep Shawnee Forward's required reports private through executive session.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.