BATON ROUGE, LA (PPN)- Today, former Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden responded to a report that Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome released on Monday that informed the parish that the BRAVE grant was suspended due to reporting and compliance deficiencies occurring in 2016 during the administration of Mayor Holden.
“It’s a sad day to watch a city advance so far over 12 years and in less than one year, you’re watching somebody who doesn’t understand exactly what’s going on in some of these programs making decisions without being equipped with the knowledge to make the right decision,” said former East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden.
In the report released by the Mayor-President, it stated that the suspension for the BRAVE program was lifted and that the $1.7 million dollars remaining had to be used by Sept. 30 or the money would be returned back to the Federal Government.
Due to the tight deadline, BRAVE Administrator James Gilmore gave small contracts to organizations that had missions which promoted positive interactions with law enforcement.
Former Councilman John Delgado and current Councilman Buddy Amoroso were very critical of the BRAVE contracts that were given by Dr. James Gilmore to local activists, which both of them requested that the Broome administration be audited.
After the audit was conducted, there were no violations reported.
Several community activists believe that the audit was conducted because of their disapproval of her as Mayor.
Holden went on to further criticize Broome’s administration.
“She’s no better than he is because neither of them are applying the grant as it’s intended by the federal government but yet they’re quick to place blame on myself and others as to why this program is not running full speed ahead,” said Holden.
Mayor Broome was very specific as to why the BRAVE contract was not renewed. Holden disputed her comments and stated that he followed proper protocol going before a committee and council and opening it up to public comments regarding the contracts that were approved under his administration.
“We, therefore, made sure there was a lot of transparency. The work was done. It was on time and we got a lot of things accomplished. Yet they are basically taking the public input out and she’s making decisions. It’s not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship,” said Holden.
To ensure the transparency of the remaining BRAVE funds, Mayor Broome has requested that all contracts come across her desk for final approval.
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