Antioch Council changes homeless coordinator position from consultant to city employee

Position still not filled 11 months after creating it.

By Allen Payton

From the Antioch Homeless Encampment Task Force Facebook page.

After approving a resolution 11 months ago to allocate up to $120,000 to hire an Unhoused Resident Coordinator as a consultant, during their meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 25, 2020, the Antioch City Council approved changing the position to a part-time city employee, instead. The change allows City Manager Ron Bernal to hire someone to fill the position, rather than send out another request for proposal (RFP).

The city had put out an RFP last fall, but only received one response, which was from Focus Strategies. The council awarded them the contract on January 28, 2020 in the amount of $73,500.

But the organization’s president, Megan Kurteff-Schatz, said they don’t do the hands-on work that the city was looking for in a coordinator.

“They won’t be able to do everything in the RFP. But they’re very capable,” said Nickie Mastay, City Finance Director, during the January 28th meeting.

So, one of the tasks assigned to Focus Strategies by the City Council was to work with staff on the Unhoused Resident Coordinator class specification. The salary range and part-time annual cost of the position was reduced by $20,000 to $100,000 maximum, but at the same rate of $50-$60 per hour. The coordinator will be under the general direction of the City Manager or the City Manager’s designee.

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts said, “as homelessness continues to be a problem in our community…I just think, I want to make a comment, how important this is to have a person on staff, even part time…helping people to transitional housing.”

Councilman Lamar Thorpe then made the motion to approve the motion.

Far too much of our city manager’s time has been spent…this position will have someone specifically focused on this…I think this is well worth the investment,” Mayor Sean Wright said.

The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.

Asked if he had someone in mind for the position or if it will be advertised, and if so when he hoped to have the person on staff, Bernal responded, “This will be advertised and go through the normal hiring process. I don’t have a time frame at this time but want to move on this as quickly as HR can facilitate.”

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