City Cancels Mission Society Contract to Manage Anti-Violence Programs

Discussion in 'The Bar' started by newcastlefan, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. newcastlefan

    newcastlefan Banned VIP Gold

    Dec 31, 2011
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    This story couldn't be any better if it appeared in The Onion.

    Operation SNUG is a program that pays former gang members in Harlem to promote non-violence in the "inner city".

    Mayor DiBlasio just spent $13 million to expand the program to all parts of the city with a high violent crime rate because as the mayor is fond of saying "these are just isolated incidents of gang-related violence", and "the overall crime rate is down 12-16%".

    I guess what DiBlasio means is that a majority of the city population is in gangs, and the crime rate has dropped because the gangs killed 12-16% of the other gang members?

    NYC pulled its $1.4 million in funding after one of the program supervisors was arrested for threatening to cut an employee's husband.

    The Rev. Vernon Williams, a gang expert who works with teens and young adults to help them avoid gangs, said the city needs to restore the effort quickly.

    "The model works," he said.


    Operation SNUG says its new headquarters will better help prevent episodes of violence in Harlem.

    HARLEM — The city pulled $1.4 million in funding to an anti-violence program that employs former gang members in Harlem and The Bronx Thursday after a program supervisor was arrested for threatening an employee's husband with a knife, according to the mayor's office.

    The 200-year-old New York City Mission Society has been under scrutiny recently over allegations that those overseeing the program have retained their gang affiliations.

    Elizabeth Glazer, director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, said the termination of the three city contracts was due to "significant management problems" with the program.

    "This decision was made following reports of current gang involvement by Mission’s staff, the recent arrest of a Mission employee for assaulting another employee and a lack of confidence among staff in the Cure Violence management at Mission Society," said Glazer.

    New York City Mission Society is headed up by Elsie McCabe Thompson, former head of the Museum for African Art and wife of former comptroller and mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.

    On Thursday, Frank Horton, 54, manager of Harlem SNUG, was arrested on charges of menacing and possession of a weapon after he allegedly pulled a knife on Seson Adams, 35, on April 9.

    Adams, a community organizer who is married to a SNUG community outreach worker, told DNAinfo New York that Horton pulled the knife on him after he tried to calmly speak with him about his wife's work situation.

    Members of the program such as Adams' wife were afraid that there was going to be retaliation against Harlem SNUG following the shooting of a former employee who was also an ex-gang member.

    "If the first thing the supervisor of an anti-violence program does when you try to speak to them is prepare for an act of violence, then you are in the wrong profession," said Adams.

    The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is investigating allegations that the program, which uses ex-gang members to stop shootings, was actually staffed by active gang members who may have been dealing drugs.

    The DA is also investigating the shooting of a former SNUG employee and whether active employees may have been involved in the incident.

    The Bronx District Attorney's office is handling the recent arrest of a supervisor at New York City Mission Society's Bronx site for domestic violence for beating his former girlfriend, also a SNUG employee.

    Contracts with the city Department of Health to fund three sites in the North Bronx, East Harlem and Central Harlem were terminated because of the various allegation and will take effect in 30 days.

    City officials said Thursday that they will work to "ensure a smooth transfer" to a new provider.

    Harlem SNUG is a part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Gun Violence Crisis Management System, on which the mayor and the City Council recently spent $13 million to expand citywide to a total of 14 neighborhoods with high levels of gun violence.

    De Blasio said last week that he was unaware of the problems at New York City Mission Society but supported the Cure Violence model the city-wide program uses which treats violence as a disease that can be treated with community support.

    City officials told DNAinfo New York that protocols will be strengthened at all 14 city Cure Violence sites, including stronger vetting, stricter oversight and better reporting procedures.

    One example is that background checks will now be conducted by the NYPD.

    The program's troubles come as the city is experiencing an uptick in shootings. The summer months in the city often correlate with an increase in gun violence.

    The most recent statistics available from the NYPD show a 3.3 percent increase in shooting victims and a 5.3 increase in shooting incidents from this time last year.

    The number of shooting victims is up 6 percent from this time two years ago while the number of shooting incidents has climbed almost 8 percent.

    The Rev. Vernon Williams, a gang expert who works with teens and young adults to help them avoid gangs, said the city needs to restore the effort quickly.

    "The model works," he said.

    Charlie King, a spokesman for New York City Mission Society said earlier Thursday they were unaware of Horton's arrest but that he had been placed on administrative leave.

    King did not respond to requests for comment later Thursday after the city canceled New York City Mission Society's contracts.