WSOC is reporting the following:
"Some Mecklenburg County Commissioners raised questions about a grant for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police aimed at helping young people transition out of gangs.
The commissioners wanted to know why four months after the center housing the program opened its doors, the program itself has not started.
CMPD Chief Monroe at the June 2011 ribbon cutting for the Greenville Center.
"It has taken a little longer to get the program up and running than anticipated," County Commission Chairperson Jennifer Roberts said of the Gang of One Culinary Arts program."
Whoa really a "little longer"?
CMPD received a federal grant of $340,000.00 to reopen the shuttered Greenville rec center on Spring Street in January of 2011. But the program to help teens learn job culinary skills hasn't started yet, in fact the only thing that has happened is the spending of the money.
WSOC's report says CMPD has spent $255,000.00 of the grant on transportation, job trainers and a "center coordinator".
The most important piece of the program it seems would be a kitchen. But the center doesn't have a functional kitchen.
According to WSOC "They said the kitchen needs serious upgrades and that an architecture firm has been working on plans since June."
CMPD Major John Diggs added: "As far as the kitchen being built, that's just not a snap your fingers and be done overnight thing," Diggs said.
Roberts said police have updated her and she's satisfied with their response.
"I think the message has gotten through and I think they're going to do everything they can to make sure that it happens quickly now," she said.
And CMPD says that the program will be up and running by next spring. WSOC's full report is here.
Cedar's Take: I am just amazed that Commissioner Roberts thinks this is acceptable. As far as Diggs he's an idiot. I could have opened the doors and had the program up and running inside of six weeks.
This of course is just one grant, Rodney Monroe's trail of grant spending troubles leads from Charlotte to Richmond and all the way back to Macon, Georgia.
There's this from last year:
A couple of sources tell Cedar Posts that Charlotte's Police Chief has been served a Federal Subpoena in the Macon Georgia Police Department investigation and how the department handled a federal grant. Keep in mind that Monroe left Macon in 2005.
That same year a Macon city councilman was at the center of a federal probe into how he funded some of his local youth programs and why he cashed grant checks at a liquor store.
Macon Police Chief Rodney Monroe confirmed the FBI has been investigating for eight months whether Charles Dudley improperly spent $2,000 in checks made out to the Unionville Improvement Association, a nonprofit organization that spearheads various community projects. Monroe declined to comment further, citing a "gag order."
Then there is this 2008 story "Macon's Handling of Federal Grant In Question" from the Macon Telegraph:
The U.S. Department of Justice has warned it could sue the city of Macon for more than $1 million for allegedly misusing money from a federal grant and making false claims about how the money was spent.
The program was operated by the police department under then-Police Chief Rodney Monroe, who left Macon to become chief of police in Richmond, Va. Monroe did not return Telegraph calls Monday, and he has not returned Telegraph calls seeking comment about this grant and the subsequent investigations since he moved to Richmond. He is now a finalist to be Charlotte, N.C.'s police chief, according to a report on the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Web site Monday.
CMPD receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in Federal Grants. If the oversight is left up to people like Commissioner Roberts the citizens of Charlotte are going to get a raw deal.
I'm sure you think CMPD's "Gang of One" is a great and much needs program. The idea of a police department providing an alternative to gangs is commendable. But as the department's pathetic website illustrates it is nothing more than your tax dollars flushed down a hole in the ground.
Cedar Posts Update: The WSOC story is a follow-up of the story Mark Pellin posted to Pundit House back on October 20th. That story is here.