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[SCUTTLEBUTT]

by Eric Ginsburg & Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Scuttlebutt this week is a digest of the YES! Weekly blog. Get the latest, minute to minute, at yesweeklyblog.blogspot.com.

Contract for design of new City Yard in Winston-Salem gets green light

The Winston-Salem City Council voted 4 to 3 on Monday to approve a contract with Charlottebased Morris-Berg Architects to design the new City Yard facility to house the city’s sanitation, engineering, employee medical services and employee training facilities.

The contract was initially rejected when Councilwoman Denise D. Adams joined colleagues Vivian Burke, Derwin Montgomery and James Taylor in opposing it because that the city wasn’t allowed to choose a vendor based on cost and because the firm is not local. But Councilman Dan Besse prevailed on Adams to switch her vote, and the contract went through.

City Attorney Angela Carmon noted that the award was based on a state law, which holds that local governments must select architectural, engineering and surveying firms “on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification for the type of professional services required without regard to fee other than unit price information at this stage, and thereafter to negotiate a contract for those services at a fair and reasonable fee with the best qualified firm.”

Burke criticized staff and Adams for their role in the contract. “They’ve been going along, going along,” she said. “And I think at least they know there’s three of us [that] are concerned that wouldn’t change. Maybe that will help them understand it.”

Chief Miller stays on in Greensboro, with raise

Rumors about Greensboro police Chief Ken Miller’s possible departure circulated when he posted on his LinkedIn profile that he would be eligible for retirement in a couple months and would be available for work. But last week, the city announced that it had reached an agreement with the chief to stay in his position with a $27,200 raise, bringing his salary to $175,500.

A press release issued by the city states that the $27,200 raise offsets a $38,500 separation allowance Miller would have received if he had elected to retire in March.

City Manager Denise Turner Roth touted the arrangement as a good deal for both parties, and said relations between the police and community have improved under Miller’s watch.

“The alternative would have been to allow Chief Miller to retire, pay the separation allowance and start the process of finding a replacement,” Roth said. “In weighing the best decision for the city, I have elected to have Chief Miller remain in his capacity and continue his and the GPD’s effective work.”

UNCG rec center runs into opposition

UNCG’s plans to build a $91 million recreation center as part of its expansion into the Glenwood neighborhood is prompting opposition from within the university community.

Students, alumni and faculty plan to hold a press conference in front of Jackson Library on Wednesday at noon to lay out their concerns.

Sue Dennison, an associate professor of social work, said that initial plans devised in 2006 to pay for the recreation center with student fees no longer make sense five years into the Great Recession during a community forum last week.

“We are in different economic times right now,” she said. “We’re attracting working-class students. It concerns me that this seems to be a train that’s left the station.”

Student Government Association President Crystal Bayne said the project is a much-needed resource for students, while other students such as Juan Miranda, Dillon Tyler and Emma Troxler echoed Dennison’s concern.

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