Fran Lawless, director of the Mayors Office of Health Policy and AIDS Funding, said that her offices monitoring visit to local HIV/AIDS agency, NR Peace, was not in retaliation for their executive director talking to Gambit Weekly for this weeks story, Whats in Their Wallets?
Lawless, in an email sent through the Mayors Office of Communication, writes that the monitoring visit also wasnt retribution for any statements that Demitre Blutcher, NR Peaces executive director, made at Mondays meeting of the New Orleans Regional AIDS Planning Council. At the meeting, according to Lawless, Blutcher said her agency hadnt received any payments from the city this year. Lawless email response states:
"It is unfortunate that Ms. Blutcher viewed this visit as some form of retribution for my response to her misstatement in last nights Planning Council Meeting. Ms. Blutcher stated that she had not received payment from the City of New Orleans in five months. I asked that she refrain from making inaccurate statements because I know that she received payments in late May. As always these payments were made as reimbursements for fees expended, and are based upon accurate, timely invoicing from the vendor.
Blutcher responds that the payment she received this May was for the last fiscal year, 2007-2008.
When I made the statement (at the planning meeting) about not being reimbursed, it was for this fiscal year, 2008-2009. I said Fran, how can I get reimbursed when I dont have a contract?
As of last week, the city had not executed any contracts for the current fiscal year to fund local HIV/AIDS agencies through the federal governments Part A Ryan White program. The fiscal year began in March, five months ago.