County Contracts Come Under Scrutiny

Apr 21, 2016

Credit Leon County Government

Agency contracts will get a closer look during Leon County’s upcoming budget workshop Tuesday. Commissioners want to be efficient without unnecessarily duplicating services.

Staff members have conducted a comprehensive study of the various contracts the county has with community agencies. Commissioner Kristen Dozier says officials want to ensure they’re spending tax payer dollars wisely.

“And as we moved through this there was a recognition that we’ve funded United Partners for Human Services for a long time. They’re an agency that brings together a lot of nonprofits. They offer education, those types of things. But some of those services might be duplicated by the INIE, the nonprofit institute that’s now being housed at the old Brogan Museum,” Dozier says.

A quick look at the website for INIE, or the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence and the website for United Partners for Human Services, shows both organizations share a similar mission—providing support, training and resources for nonprofits in the community. But Dozier says she believes there are cases where it makes sense to have more than one agency performing a similar function.

“So this is a really delicate balance. Sometimes in the nonprofit world people would look and say why do you have four or five agencies offering similar services. I think its two reasons. One, the need can’t be addressed by any one agency. But also, different agencies work for different people. So, if you’re trying to get back on your feet after a hardship, one agency that’s faith based might work for you and another agency that’s not faith based might work for someone else. So there is a need to have multiple agencies," Dozier says.

In the case of INIE and UPHS, Dozier says there are spaces where the two agencies appear to overlap. But she says a deeper look could show the services they offer are similar, but different, and the county might need to continue working with both. Dozier says she’s looking forward to a conversation on the subject with both community members and commissioners.