Wednesday, May 25, 2011

City of St. Augustine/George Gardner's St. Augustine Report: re: FIRST AMERICA FOUNDATION

City vocal on silent foundation

A city initiative to go into "operational mode" in planning for the upcoming commemoration period, and possible renegotiation of the city's contract with the secretive First America Foundation, were outlined by City Manager John Regan as city commissioners met in workshop Monday to discuss a lack of progress in commemoration planning.
"Ten months ago we had a business model and contract with the (First America) foundation," Regan said. "The foundation has to up their work rate or we have to find someone else."
Commissioners Nancy Sikes-Kline and Bill Leary joined Freeman in criticizing the foundation, designated to manage the city's commemorations last August and given $275,000 in start-up money.
Regan said the city has "space, time, and knowledge" to contribute to the commemoration effort. "I want to engage our staff," he said. "Great ideas are part of the process."
The workshop preceded the regular commission meeting, where a team of consultants reviewed potential exhibit space. Outside of existing facilities, suggestions include temporary structures at $175-$250,000 a year, expansion of the seawall area for small exhibits like art fairs, and GPS programs to tie visitors to locations and events in the city.
"I question whether we should move forward at all with the First America Foundation," City Commissioner Leanna Freeman said. "I can't count the number of times transparency was promised, but now I'm told the board of directors ordered a code of silence."

No comments: