MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - At the Meridian Township Board meeting on Tuesday night the Board voted 6-1 to approve a consulting agreement with Brianne Randall-Gay, Nassar Survivor, in the amount of $30,000 to develop a community wide sexual assault prevention program.
Clerk Brett Dreyfus was the lone no vote.
One of the major outcomes of the newly-formed relationship was the concept to create a community-wide sexual assault prevention program to better assist children and young adults in preventing and reporting criminal sexual assaults. The idea to create the program came from Brianne and she offered to be the catalyst to make it happen.
The $30,000 will go towards helping Brianne a as she uses her unique perspective as a victim of Larry Nassar's abuse to help the Township form a program. As the consulting agreement describes, "The services of the Consultant will be used to assist in developing and implementing a community-wide sexual assault program (the “Program”), including advice, recommendations and guidance (the “Services”). As Brianne currently lives in Seattle with her husband and their new baby she will also be compensated separately from $30,000 for the cost of flying to Michigan.
Township Treasurer Julie Brixie approved whole-heartedly. "We're really serious about changing the culture, [because] of what happened and moving forward in a positive way. This consulting agreement and the development of the community wide sexual assault prevention program is consistent with the township's own goals that we modified this year." Many other Board members made statements reflecting this opinion.
Clerk Dreyfus' main issue with the consulting agreement was whether it demonstrated responsible fiscal policy on the Township's part. He saw the agreement more as compensation for previous mistakes than as payment for future services rendered by Brianne. "Our commitment to developing this kind of program does not mean that the Township abandons fiscally responsible spending policies and the way we normally do business in the Township... We have a super important program that we want to develop throughout the township with legal ramifications for delivering a sexual assault training program." Clerk Dreyfus was also up in arms as there was no formal written proposal or request submitted by Brianne regarding the consulting program. "The problem here is, we have a proposal for $30,000 but the person we want to give this contract to hasn't submitted anything. We need to follow our own rules, not engage in a sole source contract with a value of $30,000." He suggested that she submit a Request for Proposal which would allow the Township to compare her submission with those from other consulting firms to ensure that the Township is getting the best value for the tax payer money being spent.
After Dreyfus' call's for an increase in transparency Township Manager Frank Walsh retorted that the Township will seek help with the program from other consulting companies. "This will be a community outpouring, but Brianne Randall, if it's approved by the Board, will be leading this cause."
Township Supervisor Ronald Styka followed by saying, "we're asking Brianne to help us in a unique way, we have a unique sole source where I think it's appropriate to use that unique sole source."
The consulting agreement will be for a duration of one year.
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