County Legislature appears to be protecting its own by not
moving forward in contract negotiations
2008, the Albany County Legislature has repeatedly delayed
approval of contracts put forward by the Department for Children,
Youth and Families, leading to operational difficulties for
some of the providers that the agency depends on. At the same
time, A provider that continues to benefit significantly from
this delay, Project Strive, has political ties to the very
legislature that is keeping its funding lines open.
According to Colette Poulin, commissioner of the DCYF, successful
providers such as St. Catherine’s Center for Children and
Parsons Child and Family Center are finding it hard to meet
staffing and costs due to outdated funding amounts. These
providers, Poulin pointed out, are servicing the same number
of families as they were in 2005 and at the same per diem
rate. “And that is the concern of the providers because many
of them are struggling to maintain their staff.”
Conversely, agencies that have been deemed less effective
on multiple occasions are still continuing to receive the
same amount of county dollars. Documents Metroland received
from the Albany County Legislature clearly outline ongoing
concerns about providers LaSalle School and Project Strive
and provide recommendations to fund new providers who have
been deemed more appropriate since early 2008.
According to legislative documents, Project Strive receives
all of its funding from the county. David Bosworth, executive
director of Project Strive, is a Guilderland Democrat who
was, along with Majority Leader Frank Commisso, a co-chairman
of the Albany County Democratic Party in 2007 and 2008.
Project Strive has been receiving more than $1 million a year
from county coffers for more than a decade.
Initial concerns about a conflict of interest with Project
Strive were raised during the 2007 Guilderland elections.
Republican Mark Grimm, who ran against Bosworth for the town
board, cited 2005 IRS forms stating that Bosworth and his
wife took home “nearly $190,000 in pay and benefits from this
nonprofit that is funded nearly entirely by Albany County
taxpayers.” Grimm also stated during a recent phone interview
with Metroland that government documents from 2005
also revealed that Project Strive does no external fundraising,
that 98 percent of its revenues come from the county, and
that Bosworth and his wife are the nonprofit’s highest-paid
There has also been significant overlap between those who
have served on the board of Project Strive and county Democrats,
specifically those sitting on the Albany County Legislature.
Grimm said that he has heard many complaints from Strive employees
and ex-employees about the way that Bosworth runs the organization,
including his own time commitments.
lot of times he’s not there during the day,” Grimm claimed,
“and yet he’s collecting a salary.”
Legislative documents from 2009 seem to underscore these concerns,
stating that “DCYF staff have met numerous times with Project
Strive to discuss on-going concerns with low utilization rates,
understaffing, and frequent days closed. Strive continually
refuses to share information with DCYF staff or answer any
questions about programming.” The same document stated further
that Strive “has also not fulfilled the requirements of the
RFP by obtaining an OCFS facilities certificates,” and recommends
cutting the program by more than $1 million. This would leave
the nonprofit with $300,000 annually.
According to DCYF, the newer contracts are more appropriate
because they put forth a more comprehensive set of needs and
provide a more flexible method of dealing with each provider.
They also would allow for greater oversight and demand more
specific compliances and results. This is the result of the
new RFP process, introduced in 2008 by Poulin, in which potential
providers are scrutinized for the services they provide and
scored according to a series of predetermined standards. They
may receive a contract for all or only some of their services,
and a set amount of cases that they are funded to handle in
a given period. They may also be denied funding altogether,
based on how they score on a scale of 0 to 5 across a series
of evaluation criteria.
Legislature Chairman Dan McCoy has cited concerns about the
effect of the new RFP process on current providers as a reason
for the recurring delays. The same concern has also been mentioned
in the multiple resolutions to table the contracts. While
Poulin has gone before the legislature on several occasions
to explain and clarify the new process, the contracts continue
to be tabled.
In a phone conversation, Bosworth told Metroland, “I
know there’s some discussion of new contracts that’s been
delayed, but people are still doing business. . . . We’ve
submitted proposals for new funding, and we hope we’ll be
Wanted New Members . . .
Save the Y phone-a-thon has brought encouraging results for
the embattled Washington Avenue branch, but some say YMCA
officials still aren’t behind the effort
A press conference was held at Albany’s Washington Avenue
YMCA Tuesday to express community support for the facility.
In December, J. David Brown, the president and CEO of Capital
District YMCA, had announced that the branch was to be shuttered
and that the only way to keep it open would be to increase
its membership from 1,800 to 2,500 by April.
Brown was joined by the Save the Y Task Force, which consists
of members of surrounding neighborhood associations, as well
as city officials and YMCA patrons.
The task force was formed immediately after the announcement
that the Y was in danger of closing. The task force has been
holding a phone-a-thon for weeks, calling new and existing
members of the Y encouraging them to join or renew their membership.
The phone-a-thon yielded more than 400 new members, an effort
that seemed to bring the branch’s total membership up to roughly
2,200, just 300 shy of what was initially set as the goal
to reach in April.
call people all day,” said Julie Maynes, president of the
Park South Neighborhood Association. “People are pretty willing
to bring their friends, which is great.”
And while there is reason for optimism behind these gains
in membership, Brown cautioned against it. According to a
conversation overheard between Brown and Mike Conners, the
Albany County comptroller, while there might be a gain of
400 new members, that doesn’t take into account any recent
When asked by Metroland for clarification, Brown did
According to Conners, who has been invited by Brown to examine
the membership numbers for the Y branch, the YMCA doesn’t
appear very invested in the effort to keep the facility open.
“There’s no real big desire that I can see for the Y, institutionally,
to stay open,” Conners told Metroland. “This group
of people has gotten 400 people to join in six weeks. If the
institution itself put that kind of effort into it, you could
get the members you need.”
real reason, in my opinion, that the Y is in trouble,” said
Conners, “is that somebody, somewhere down the line found
out that the real estate is worth more than the operation.
And if we don’t fight for this place, they’re going to close
it, because the Y is being suburbanized.”
Conners has a meeting scheduled for today with the YMCA to
go over the membership numbers.
Alison Coleman, president of the Washington Square Neighborhood
Association, stressed the importance of the facility’s location:
providing diversity among its members echoing that of the
The convenience of Washington Avenue, according to Coleman,
also allows many members to walk to the Y. If it closes its
doors, this would no longer be an option for many members,
as the next nearest branch is located in North Albany, over
a mile away and separated by I-90.
grew up in YMCAs,” said Leif Engstrom, the chief auditor for
the city of Albany, “and it became a major part of who I am
loose ends this week-