Neighborhoods, Community Investments and Services Committee

Special Meeting Minutes


May 15, 2017



Location:  City Council Chamber, 1st floor, City Hall – St. James Building; 117 West Duval Street


In attendance: Council Members Scott Wilson (Chair), Reggie Brown (Vice Chair), Doyle Carter, Garrett Dennis, Joyce Morgan, Bill Gulliford


Also: Council President Boyer; Kim Taylor – Council Auditor’s Office; Peggy Sidman  – Office of General Counsel;  Jeff Clements  – Council Research Division; Staci Lopez, Juliette Williams and Adri Segui – Legislative Services Division; Jordan Elsbury – Mayor’s Office


Meeting Convened: 9:59 A.M.


The topic for the special meeting was The Parent Help Center and Camp Consequence. Parent Help Center founder Glenn Ellison made the presentation


Mr. Ellison described the 16- year history of his program which is aimed at restoring balance and respect within families by teaching parents strategies to effectively motivate and train their children in positive behaviors, respect, and accountability for their actions. The program was founded in part because he believes that society places too much emphasis on reacting to behavior problems, often after involvement with the criminal justice system, and not enough on helping parents to instill good habits of behavior and respect for authority when children are young and impressionable. His Operation Empowered Parent works is based on the fundamental concept that parents are the key to a family’s success. The three major functions are: 1) teach parents proper parenting skills in the classroom; 2) show parents how to implement those strategies in the context of a weekend camp experience; and 3) reinforce parents with weekly support group meetings. Parents must make their children accountable for their actions by enforcing consequences for undesirable behavior.


Mr. Ellison’s hope is to grow Operation Empowered Parent into a citywide initiative involving the City, Sheriff’s Office, schools, churches, and other civic groups in bringing these fundamental principles to parents in all geographical areas, all socio-economic strata, and all walks of life. Problems in dealing with youth behavior are universal and all parents everywhere could benefit from learning the principles of empowered parenting. He envisions a multi-pronged approach: a citywide dissemination of Operation Empowered Parent, increased use of the juvenile civil citation mechanism, and weekly sessions of Camp Consequences for children and parents. In response to a question about how the City could help, Mr. Ellison indicated that his biggest need, should the project grow substantially, is for full-time paid staff to teach the programs in place of the current weekend volunteers. Council Member Gulliford said that he would coordinate with PHS Committee Chairman Sam Newby to explore having that committee pursue the idea further.


Council President Boyer gave a brief overview of Ordinance 2017-352 (Creating a New Trust Fund to Enhance City Parks; Create a New Part 7 (Parks Partnership Program), Chapter 664 (Parks & Rec Areas, Facilities & Activities); Approving & Adopting a Partnership Program). The ordinance is intended to create a vehicle by which the Parks and Recreation Department can receive and expend donated funds and to provide for departmental operating procedures and regulations. The bill provides for receipt and expenditure of three kinds and levels of donations: 1) cash donations under $100,000 for one park or program (expendable administratively); 2) cash donations of $100,000 or more (require Council approval); and 3) in-kind donations. The Parks and Recreation Department will develop a catalog of items available for donation and their prices from which donors may choose; the costs for each item must include the cost of installation and maintenance. The regulations will provide for a standard size and style of recognition plaque based on the amount of the donation. Council Member Wilson asked about the possibility of retroactivity for recognition of donors who have recently made donations to the City before this ordinance becomes effective.


Council Member Reggie Brown expressed a desire for the City to provide increased safety in City parks, either by means of hiring more police officers to patrol parks or by installing video surveillance cameras at parks.


There being no further business, the Special Meeting was adjourned at 10:50 a.m.



John J. Jackson, Council Research Division (904) 630-1729



Posted: 2:30 p.m.