Letter: Funding panel procedures not followed

ALBERT SYELESLetter: Funding panel procedures not followed

Albert Syeles, Chairman
Romanza – St Augustine, Inc.

Dear Editor:

On June 19, 2013, Romanza Board Members observed that TDC Funding Panel procedures were not followed during public presentations and funding panel deliberations.

Despite the hard work of the Panelists and the criteria the TDC has put in place, we believe our 2014 application was not graded fairly.

We observed that not all Panelists had done fair and balanced due diligence. During the deliberations, when applicants could no longer speak, Panelists were able to introduce new information about applications, sometimes correct, sometimes erroneous. Furthermore, one Panelist changed her scoring based on allegations presented as “fact” by another. When the same Panelist attempted to change her scoring on a later application, it was not allowed.

The policy of recusal was unevenly applied. A Panelist recused himself from voting on one application, but did not do so after admitting that he was unhappy with his sponsorship of Romanza. The first Romanza heard of his dissatisfaction was when he expressed it in the afternoon Panel session. He then scored a Romanza event with a shockingly low number (17 out of 100}, when his average rating was in the 70’s.

We also observed that the scoring numbers were not applied per TDC guidelines: the only way a group can get 100 is if their event is being held in September or January, the valley months for bed tax collection. Ten scores of 100 were awarded.

The Florida Division of Cultural Affairs provides immediate public feedback on its granting process. We suggest that the TDC adopt these same procedures.

Romanza – St Augustine, Inc.
Albert Syeles, Chairman
John Cunningham
Anne Kraft
Kathleen Vande Berg
Phebe Wehr

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