Thursday, December 11, 2008

There's No Calendar in their Wallets: AIDS Funding Update

Posted by on Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 11:32 PM

They might have moved up the deadlines, but they certainly didn’t look at a calendar.

At a Council committee hearing in October regarding longstanding funding delays for local AIDS agencies (“What’s in Their Wallets?”), an exasperated Council Vice President rhetorically asked Fran Lawless, director the Mayor’s Office of Health Policy and AIDS Funding, why the funding process for these vital services start so late.

     “But don’t you understand the problem when you start a process one month before the fiscal year that the funding begins?” Feilkow asked. “It means that on the backend that by the time you get to award contracting and payment the agencies that are out there doing this service are literally from a cash-flow standpoint, six, seven months before they see their first check.”

     Lawless apparently understood Fielkow’s point — the applications for proposals have already gone out for next year’s funding — but neither she nor her staff seems to have used a calendar when determining deadlines for the application process.

According to Monday’s Times Picayune’s Public Notice section, that is December 8, 2008, “Proposal packages may be obtained from 9: a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday, November 24, 2008 through Friday, December 5, 2008 at the Office of Health Policy and AIDS Funding…”

     There are no instructions for how applicants should travel back in time to get the proposal package.

     But respondents are informed, “The application must be received by 3:00 p.m. Friday, December 15, 2008…” Hmm. The 15th falls on a Monday, and the following Friday is the 19th, so which is it?

     And the best line of all: “These deadlines are firm.”

     The Mayor’s Office of Health Policy and AIDS Funding is compromised of a seven-person staff and oversees distributing $7 million in federal grants to help the 4400 people in the New Orleans area who have HIV/AIDS.    

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