Council rejects City Project compromise

Aug. 04, 2014 @ 08:28 PM

Hopes that the City Council might not go forward with a planned shake-up of High Point’s redevelopment efforts may have been dashed for good Monday.
Council rejected a compromise offer from The City Project’s board of directors that called for the nonprofit to reorganize as a public-private 501(c)(4) organization led by its former executive director, Wendy Fuscoe.
The compromise called for the city to contribute $105,593 to the new entity — with an equal amount coming from private sources — that Fuscoe would have led, with a focus on economic development.
Fuscoe’s position with the city was reorganized, and her job title is now core city administrator.
“I think council is missing an opportunity to create a true public-private partnership with citizens to effectuate a true revitalization of the city. We have a huge amount of people very passionate about this, and they look to the organization that is The City Project to lead revitalization of the city,” said Councilman Jay Wagner, who voted in favor of the compromise, along with Mayor Bernita Sims.
Council members Jim Davis, Foster Douglas, Jason Ewing, Jeff Golden, Judy Mendenhall and Becky Smothers voted in the majority. Councilman Britt Moore was absent.
“I don’t think we’ve given this a proper hearing,” Wagner said. “There’s been no real discussion among the entire council as to the pros and cons of what’s been proposed.”
Smothers said the city’s personnel policy mandates that Fuscoe be paid the same amount in annual salary — $103,208 — in her new position as her previous one.
Smothers and other council members initially did not think the new position would command a six-figure salary, which they said would have saved money that could go back into the core city.
Council on Monday officially transferred $176,000 related to the new position into the city manager’s office. The funding had already been approved in the city budget that took effect July 1.
Council voted 7-2 in May to reorganize Fuscoe’s job so that she no longer works directly with the City Project board.
The move, which was opposed by Wagner and Moore, sparked considerable controversy, with critics arguing that it will derail revitalization efforts. Proponents of the change argued that it was needed to allow for more attention to the entire core city.