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Mayor Responds to Council Concerns about Proposed Mentorship Program

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Rochester: Mayor Responds to Council Concerns about Proposed Mentorship Program
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A male mentorship and empowerment program proposed by Mayor Lovely Warren has been met with opposition by council members.

The pilot program aimed at males 13 to 18-years-old went before the Youth and Recreation Committee Thursday, but the committee president Adam McFadden decided to put the vote on hold.

“The proposal needs some work and we'll give them an opportunity to improve the proposal," said Councilman McFadden.

The city department of recreation and youth services is set to partner with Super Bowl Champ and Rochester native Roland Williams for the mentorship and empowerment program that’s expected to kick off this summer.

"I like the intention of the proposal, but in terms of the process and how the proposal was written it left a lot of questions,” continued McFadden.

The $250,000 price tag associated with the program isn't a concern for McFadden, but it’s the primary concern for council member Carolee Conklin. The program budget allocation shows $53,000 going towards the Champion Academy and another $45,000 going towards year long mentorship initiatives.

Seventy-six thousand dollars will be used for administration and consulting fees. That's about 30 percent of the program's budget.

"That's extremely high administrative costs that aren't documented,” said Conklin. “It doesn't really give us the information we need to make an informed decision on spending that kind of money."

The program will extend throughout the year with internship opportunities for the youth, mentorships, as well as regional sports opportunities. The academy will be headed by Williams, a former East High graduate.

“The program appears to be contingent on having 100 adult male mentors. Are they going to be paid any stipends are they going to be volunteer? What's the process, how are you going to do intake,” asked Conklin.

The city awarded Williams a contract for a football program in 2001 for $10,000. The pilot program calls for a $250,000 investment.

Mayor Warren said Williams brings national recognition and it comes at a higher cost.

“We’re not talking about a local representative here. This is a person that's nationally recognized so we may pay a higher cost, but ultimately its council decision on whatever they choose to do. "

Warren said the program could give young males opportunities they may not have, while also shining light on Rochester.

“When I look at the challenges that we face and also the opportunities that we have to bring in national recognition to our issues and also possibly support is something I think is warranted."

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