City Extends Contract for Community Centers

Ann Arbor’s Northside and Bryant community centers will be operated for another five years by the Community Action Network (CAN) as a result of city council action on June 2, 2014. The partnership between the city and CAN had been recommended for approval by the Ann Arbor park advisory commission at its May 20, 2014 meeting.

The agreement is for CAN to continue operating the city’s Bryant and Northside community centers, which the nonprofit has been managing since 2008. The proposed amount is not to exceed $130,000 annually – an increase of $25,000 from the current agreement. The higher amount is included in the FY 2015 general fund budget for parks and recreation that the city council approved on May 19. According to a staff memo, the higher amount will address increases in fixed costs and “assist in retaining quality staff that is at the core of the services that CAN provides.” [.pdf of staff memo]

The staff memo also noted that a request for proposals (RFP) was not issued for this work, because CAN has been the sole respondent to the previous two RFPs and the city is satisfied with its work.

During the May 20 PAC meeting, CAN received praise for its work from several commissioners and Colin Smith, the city’s parks and recreation manager. CAN executive director Joan Doughty and deputy director Derrick Miller were on hand to answer questions. Part of the discussion focused on CAN’s exemption from the city’s living wage requirement, which the city council granted in 2012 for a three-year period through Nov. 8, 2015. Doughty noted that the exemption was sought in part because CAN was paying a living wage to part-time employees who were high school or university students, which limited the nonprofit from paying higher wages to full-time workers. She also pointed out that the city parks and recreation unit isn’t required to pay the living wage to its seasonal workers.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.