Agenda Item # 4
Columbus Consolidated Government
Council Meeting

12/8/2015

Agenda Report # 59


TO: Mayor and Council

SUBJECT: 2015-2016 VOCA Continuation Grant

INITIATED BY: Solicitor General - Victim-Witness Assistance Program


Recommendation: Approval is requested to authorize the Solicitor General/Victim-Witness Assistance Program to submit and, if approved, accept a new additional Federal VOCA Grant of $49,444 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council; and Approval is requested to create a new position of Victim Advocate in the Office of the Solicitor General Victim-Witness Assistance Program, with the salary and benefits of said position to be fully funded pursuant to said grant and said position contingent upon receipt of future grant funding in subsequent federal fiscal years.

Background: The Office of the Solicitor General operates a Crime Victim Assistance Program and has been awarded a Federal Victims of Crime Act Assistance Grant Program (hereinafter referred to as “VOCA”) grant for many years, which has been approved by City Council. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia (PACGA) has recently received a new additional subgrant from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) under VOCA. This new additional VOCA funding is for the 2015-2016 Federal Fiscal Year. (This award is in addition to the VOCA grant monies we currently receive and which we have received for years). Our office has been selected to receive $49,444.00 of this new additional VOCA Grant Funding. (See the attached award letter).

The VOCA Grant Program supports direct services to crime victims, i.e. persons who have suffered physical, sexual, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of a crime. The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) awards annual formula grants, which in turn are subgranted to local organizations for states to ensure crime victims' rights are upheld and play a meaningful role in the criminal justice process. In Georgia, that organization is CJCC, an agency of the Executive Branch of state government. O.C.G.A. 35-6A-1, et. seq.

Effective October 1, 2013, PACGA has been awarded a VOCA subgrant by CJCC to serve as the centralized subgrant recipient on behalf of all prosecuting attorneys in the state. PACGA, in turn, is required to enter into an MOA with participating Counties and the Prosecuting Attorneys for those counties or judicial circuits. The CFDA number for this grant program is 16.575.

Participating Counties and Prosecuting Attorneys are required to fulfill all programmatic and financial reporting requirements by submission through PACGA. PACGA has responsibility for consolidating individual reporting into a single report and submitting to CJCC.

The funding award under the NEW VOCA grant money will consist of a total amount, 80% of which will be reimbursable dollars and 20% of which will be match that can be performed as a cash or an in-kind match, or a combination of the two.

A provision of receiving the “New” VOCA money for the 2015-2016 federal grant year is that the VWAP program initiate contact with victims earlier in the criminal justice process, essentially prior to or at the defendant’s first appearance.

Analysis: For Federal FY16, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, through PACGA, has allocated new additional OCA Grant Funding of $49,444 to support the Solicitor General's Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a 20% match (which in this case is $12,361), which may come in the form of volunteer hours specified as in-kind contributions. The Solicitor General requests Council’s authorization to create a new, full time Victim Advocate position using the said grant money to fund the position at a salary of $36,000 with benefits as follows: FICA $2,754; GG Retirement $4,860; Health $5,650; Life $180; TOTAL $49,444. Volunteer hours will be used to meet the matching requirement of said grant.

Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: There will be no annual fiscal impact as a result of awarding this grant. The Victim Advocate position's salary would be $36,000, plus benefits, which will be fully funded by the grant. Funding in subsequent years will be contingent upon subsequent grant funding.

Legal Considerations: Georgia Law requires the Solicitor General provide extensive services, information, and notification to crime victims pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 17-17-1 (Crime Victims' Bill of Rights). The Solicitor General is solely and directly responsible for complying with this law as mandated by the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. The need for a Victim Advocate to work with crime victims earlier in the criminal justice process, essentially prior to or at the defendant’s first appearance, is greatly needed. Our office is currently understaffed and has one Victim Advocate/Investigator to assist numerous crime victims. The addition of this Victim Advocate position will greatly enhance our ability to serve our community's misdemeanor crime victims.

Recommendations/ Actions: Authorize the Solicitor General/Victim-Witness Assistance Program to submit and, if approved, accept a new additional Federal VOCA Grant for $49,444 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council through PACGA; and approve the creation of a new position of Victim Advocate in the Office of the Solicitor General Victim-Witness Assistance Program, with the salary and benefits of said position to be fully funded pursuant to said grant and said position contingent upon future grant funding in subsequent federal fiscal years.


VOCA MOA 2015-2016 12-1-15.pdfVOCA MOA 2015-2016 12-1-15.pdf

A RESOLUTION
NO. _____

A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION, ON BEHALF OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL AND, IF APPROVED, TO ACCEPT A NEW, ADDITIONAL VOCA GRANT OF $49,444 FROM THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS’ COUNCIL OF GEORGIA, TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR A CRIME VICTIM ADVOCATE IN THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR MUSCOGEE COUNTY FROM OCTOBER 1, 2015 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2016, WITH A $12,372 IN-KIND MATCH, AND AMEND THE MULTI-GOVERNMENTAL FUND BY LIKE AMOUNT.

WHEREAS, the Office of the Solicitor General operates a Crime Victim Assistance Program and has been awarded a Federal Victims of Crime Act Assistance Grant Program (hereinafter referred to as “VOCA”) grant for approximately 20 years. The VOCA Grant Program supports direct services to crime victims, i.e. persons who have suffered physical, sexual, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of a crime; and,

WHEREAS, the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia (PACGA) has recently received a new, additional subgrant from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) under VOCA and the Office of the Solicitor General has been selected to receive $49,444 of this NEW, additional VOCA Grant Funding for the grant year October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016; and,

WHEREAS, the funding award under the NEW, additional VOCA grant money will consist of a total amount, 80% of which will be reimbursable dollars and 20% of which will be match that can be performed as a cash or an in-kind match, or a combination of the two, (which in this case is $12,361), which may come in the form of volunteer hours specified as in-kind contributions; and,

WHEREAS, the funding will be used to create a new position of Victim Advocate who will provide services to crime victims from the time of arrest onward; and,

WHEREAS, the Solicitor General will continue to supervise the operation of the Solicitor General’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program in Muscogee County from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016 and report.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE COUNCIL OF COLUMBUS, GEORGIA, HEREBY RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:

That the City Manager is hereby authorized to submit and, if approved, accept an additional VOCA grant of $49,444 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to fund a new Victim Advocate position in the Solicitor General’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program which will extend over a twelve month period beginning October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016, said position contingent upon future grant funding in subsequent federal fiscal years.


___________

Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia, held the _________ day of _____________ 2015, and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote of _____________ members of said Council.



Councilor Allen voting _______________.
Councilor Baker voting _______________.
Councilor Barnes voting _______________.
Councilor Buck voting _______________.
Councilor Davis voting _______________.
Councilor Henderson voting _______________.
Councilor Huff voting _______________.
Councilor Turner Pugh voting _______________.
Councilor Thomas voting _______________.
Councilor Woodson voting _______________.



_______________________________ _________________________
Tiny B. Washington, Clerk of Council Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor