While recently appointed City Commissioner Dr. Elaine Bryant was relatively unknown to many observers of local government, new information obtained by Tallahassee Reports indicates she was a frequent visitor to city hall.
Public records indicate that Dr. Elaine Bryant had significant financial ties with the City of Tallahassee that began in 2002. These ties were not revealed during the process which ended with the her selection to fill a vacancy on the city commission on December 31st, 2018.
Also, the records show the only consulting contract the City of Tallahassee had on file for Dr. Bryant was approved by the City Commission in October, 2002. The contract indicates a maximum five-year term.
However, City staff told TR the contract was never renewed. Despite the non-renewal, EW Bryant Associates continued to consult with the City of Tallahassee.
Records indicate that approximately 120 invoices were submitted by EW Bryant Associates and paid by the City of Tallahassee from 2004 to 2018. The amounts of the invoices ranged from $175 to $22,500.
Records show Bryant was paid as much as $1,800 per day to provide “Leadership Training/Seminars” for city employees.
Also, at times, Bryant was paid $900 for half-day sessions.
For example, in 2017 documents show Dr. Bryant provided three seminars entitled “8 Habits of Highly Effective People” for $900 each. Each session was scheduled for 3.5 hours. Each seminar was limited to 30 people. Attendance records show as few as 13 people attended some seminars.
The training seminars addressed various topics which included “Building Trust”, “Communications”, “Balancing Priorities”, “How to Solve Problems”, and “Emotional Intelligence.”
The seminars were provided to various city departments, however it appears most of the billing over the last eight years was approved by Angela Hendrieth with the city’s Equity & Workforce Development department.
Ms. Hendrieth is currently listed as the Manager of Talent Development with the City of Tallahassee.
More recently, in July 2018, EW Bryant Associates was paid $2,500 for consulting services by the Office of Economic Opportunity which is a City-County office financed by Blueprint tax dollars.
Please check to see if any of these ‘classes’ by Bryant were offered exclusively to the NFBPA (City of Tallahassee’s Employees) group – in exclusion of all other City employees – with Angela Hendrieth being the Vice President of the Tallahassee Chapter of the NFBPA and Cynthia Barber the President; and Anita Favor Thompson the former National President; and all of the meeting held exclusively at City Buildings on City time – this information may be highly encrypted in the invoice. And it would be important to know. The sign in sheets would have that info; or Dr. Bryant could simply tell us?
Looks like we agree that Hendieth’s actions warrant a forensic audit. Who should we ask? The Ethics Department….; ha! How about the FBI?
“A forensic audit can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims.”
So here’s the real question which Dr. Erwin Jackson is helping to address: How did Bryant rise to the level of being unanimously appointed with all this baggage? Simply done Illegally and in haste without TRANSPARENT. Answers.. Certainly AKA SOROR sister Commisioner Cox knew of this history? Mayor Dailey did your AKA appointee have any bearing on your vote (as she is your Director of External Affairs, correct) appointment? Richardson knew. But did Richardson take any of Bryant’s classes? So did Jeremy just go with the majority vote?
City Commissioners – if you are to gain any validity in the citizen’s eyes – start acting the part. You certainly completely blew this decision/action – now didn’t you?
Come on Gov. DeSantis – help our tattered City get back on track, please?
I didn’t comment on the validity of specific seminars. I commented on the price, which is certainly within market range, and the fact that there is enough disparate treatment in our region and within government services to make clear a continuing need to educate city employees and managers in inclusion and equity, and for those who already support that to figure out how to help the rest get there. (If you want to complain about the value of seminars, then it is the Equity person’s decisions that are and should be under scrutiny, not the fact that someone is hired to give them.
I don’t know anything about AKA. But I do know that all of TLH (this time I hit the right key)’s social clubs that are based on work (Kiwanis, Rotary, NEBA, etc. —all historically more white than black, even though none have any exclusionary policies— suggest and refer people they know for opportunities because they know them in that organization.
Indeed, given TLH’s legal mandate to eliminate/prevent all discrimination, if it didn’t get the word out to organizations focused on minorities, that they know about, that would be wrong both morally and legally. And I’d wager that most employers find that applicants recommended by another of their employees are more likely than ones off the street to become good employees for the business.
It is NOT bad management to hire someone who is also in a social club with you. (I agree that it would be wrong to hire someone who was less qualified for a position, because you knew them personally, but as that is career suicide in most cases, I doubt that accounts for what is complained about above (not to mention that TLH hires professionals in HR to review all that stuff so that such favoritism doesn’t happen).
Perfectly valid questions have been raised especially regarding the legitimacy of the funding for the Bryant seminars.
I disagree with you referring to people questioning the validity of the seminars as “complainers”.
Two words … Forensic Audit!
I have never seen a more corrupt culture before in my life. Tallahassee continues to be a continuing bed of corruption. Now the corruption is actually more acutely defined as Racist and Corrupt. The question is how in the world could it be allowed to continually be done over and over is beyond imagination. Please, please F.B.I. come get these idiots so that we can start over with a clean slate.
Rosemary – let’s look a little closer at your question:
To give City contracts to an AKA Sorority sisters (Hendrieth to Bryant) one has to ask: was there fair/open procurement processes followed; if not this is simply illegal. It is also racially based, in the nature of that organization.
Having the City pay for a select City few (Black) NFBPA members (who are City employees) who conduct NFBPA [National Forum for Black Professional Administrators] meetings in City Hall; then travel nationally while getting paid their professional wages and then being preferentially promoted with pay raises – while the City pays for their NFBPA membership, travel, conferences while being paid their professional wages (and overtime) – is not only wrong; it is also racist and it is also misuse of Public Funds and it is also illegal.
How long has this been going on and what cost to the tax payers? What benefits do the citizens of Tallahassee obtain? NONE.
So FBI – look at the targeted misuse of these City Funds and who ‘authorized’ the use of them, when, the presented City justifications, the time invested that these people were paid and the overall cost incurred and the salaries and promotions given to the AKAs and the NFBPAs? Good question – Rosemary.
Those are not unreasonable costs for such seminars, and there remains a good reason in TLJ for working with employees to be more inclusive and effective.
Of course black professionals join and/or have come from college and professional organizations that support black women. How is that any different from any other professional organization? And why are we begrudging that people who know other qualified people want to help those qualified people to get jobs and believe that they can contribute to government.
They are possible unreasonable and even inappropriate and unethical aspects venturing into malfeasance if the funds to be used for these seminars were not properly or legally allocated such as continuing after the contract had ended.
Also, citizens had a right to be informed of this information and due to the process could not be informed of relevant information.
Usually, I have seen you give Sound Advice, but how can you blindly defend this without knowing what the seminars were for, were they successful, how was the success charted? Or if they were appropriately and legally funded?
If all this criteria is cleared up perhaps your questions then would come into play, but there are some critical questions that need to be answered regarding these expenditures.
Perhaps, they can start by revealing the text message between Curtis Richardson and Ms Bryant.
Rosemary, as a member of a sorority back in college, I can tell you they are not “professional” organizations. They are social clubs for young people and have no place in conducting government business. Its not “help” being given by sisters, its favoritism purely based on a college relationship. And to say it doesn’t hurt people/citizens would be wrong.
Congrats TR, half of $1800 is $900! Yay math!
So you will find that Angela Hendrieth, Anita FavorsThimpson, Cynthia Barber, and Elaine Bryant (and many more) are all AKA sorority sisters, And many are also NFBPA members (National Forum for Black Public Administrators) which have been extremely well paid by City tax dollars to travel and attend NFBPA meetings all over the US. What about Cox and Dailey’s new Assistant- are they AKA sorors? Yep. Will City Hall still be sponsoring AkA gatherings, photo shoots and Marches from WITHIN City Hall – as before – Mayor Dailey AND Cassandra Jackson? Just stating fact; FBI. Mark – please add something about Rocky Hannah?
Another AKA – DISGRACED former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
The school board attorney is AKA. It is worth reviewing who received (large) settlements or otherwise had their issues resolved without acrimony since she came on board.
The commission’s responsibility is to make decisions that are in the best interest of the city and its citizens. If she thinks her exorbitant fees were reasonable and fair it will be a long two years.
For a bigger surprise check out/ask Rocky Hanna why he brought highly paid consultant Mark Roleweski back to the district. Uncover the facts about the construction contracts Hanna gave his campaign contributors and buddy Casey Weldon.
“It’s good to be the king” — Line stolen from Richardson by Mel Brooks for his use in the movie; History of the World Part 1
I think I’m going to be sick.
Another liberal payoff. Nothing new here.
When will Commissioner Richardson provide the text message between himself and Ms Bryant?
The process failed the citizens of Tallahassee once again and political operatives took advantage of this to advance their agendas.
An honest public servent would have already voluntarily released the text.
Regardless of what the City Attorney told an honest public servent that text would have been made public.
Curtis Richardson are you honest?