One day I saw this notice on the bulletin board downstairs ... I was sure that change was coming.
Then again I could be wrong. We have the same TCHC staff running the community engagement within the organization that have been doing it for over thirty years. Now what did I say in my Manifesto? Oh yeah ... TCHC should "Take a page from the tech industry. No employee stays at a tech company until they retire. Innovation breeds change. Change breeds innovation."
Basically, the two choices presented at the meeting were a) having delegates decide at an allocation day & b) tenant council members decide at council meetings. These two choices were apparently developed by the PB Monitoring Committee. These tenant reps and leaders were involved in Participatory Budget over the last several years.
This whole outreach began because the TCHC Board of Directors put the Participatory Budget process on hold for 2017 so that a new process can be created. Previously these decisions were made by the Tenant Councils. Technically, that means that the delegate option is the only "new" option. Otherwise, the board could decide to cancel PB for another year, or permanently, until a delegate system of community engagement is created.
Within these meetings it became obvious early on that there was a division between Tenant Reps and other tenants (the self appointed community delegates).. It led up to an outburst from one Tenant Rep during the fourth session talking about tenants that "Bitch" and complain but never do anything to improve their communities. Therefore, as a Tenant Rep she feels that decisions about PB should continue to only be at the discretion of the Tenant Councils. Sounds a tad bit territorial to me.
At one point during the first session the facilitator indicated that - "Sometimes things shouldn't be complicated."
Yeah, right. We're talking about TCHC here. There is an option that the two original processes can include "Once every three years, ... all communities receive funding for projects instead of tenants deciding." Honestly, if communities have not had funding in year one and two then they should have a priority on funding in year three. An automatic payout in year three seems like overkill. That will still lead to inequities in how the funding is distributed. Some communities will get money in all three years and some will only get money in year three.
Oh did I forget to mention that TCHC is reconsidering the whole Tenant Rep/Council form of community engagement which could potentially invalidate this whole process? I'm not really concerned though. I opted for the delegate option. :D
Another piece of the Participatory Budget that needs to be looked into is the vendor's side. Maybe as I suggested during the first session TCHC should seek new vendors to add to their approved vendors list. Eliminate the potential for cost overruns. Given that the items communities will be voting on, or for, in the new process will be prefab, store bought, it shouldn't be that much of a stretch for TCHC to create a catalogue. The sections could break down as follows. - Indoor Furniture, Outdoor Furniture, Exercise Equipment, Electronics and Miscellaneous..
So, maybe it's not so much that I'm wrong. It's just that nobody at TCHC retired and made me boss.