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Nonprofits may face scrutiny on grants, after $800,000 went to groups with City Council ties

Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond
Sky Lebron
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Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond says he'll introduce legislation adding additional guardrails to the city's grant process for non-profits.

Grants to nonprofits could receive more scrutiny from the city of Jacksonville after more than $800,000 was awarded to four organizations with ties to City Council members.

City Councilman Rory Diamond, who represents District 13, filed legislation that would require all nonprofits to go through a competitive bidding process to obtain city grants.

During the City Council's regular meeting last week, three $100,000 reimbursement grants and one $500,000 COVID-relief grant were approved for nonprofits that employ or are overseen by members of City Council.

City Council Vice President Terrance Freeman, District 8 Councilwoman Ju-Coby Pittman and District 4 Councilman Kevin Carrico each received a $100,000 grant for organizations they either lead or hold a leadership position in.

District 7 Councilman Reggie Gaffney, who announced in July he is running for State Senate, secured a $500,000 COVID relief payment for his organization, Community Rehabilitation Center.

City Council approved all four grants unanimously and voted to waive requirements that other nonprofits be given a chance to compete for the money.

Diamond's legislation would require a competitive bidding process and add an additional, separate public hearing for nonprofits with ties to City Council members.

A news release from Diamond said the bill would be filed Wednesday and introduced during the council's regular meeting Oct. 12, with a final vote planned for early November.

The legislation appeared on the city of Jacksonville website Thursday and is co-sponsored by District 2 Councilman Al Ferraro. A draft of the bill was also sent to WJCT News: