Good Morning –
Attached is the proposed RFP submitted by the community members for review at this Thursday’s Selectboard meeting. This document has been posted in the section of the Town’s website where Selectboard meeting backup materials are posted. Also posted there for easy reference are the related documents that the Selectboard has reviewed at its meetings on July 7 and July 21.
Please assist us in advising the public that these documents are all available for review in advance of the August 6 Selectboard meeting.
Table of Contents:
Scope of the Study (deleted)
Assumptions of the Study
Proposal Guidelines and Eval Criteria
Request for Proposals (RFP) Scope of Work
Town of Brattleboro – Assessment on Community Safety
Issue date: August 7 , 2020
Consistent with Selectboard action on July 21st, and public discussions on June 16, July 7th and July 21st of this year, Brattleboro will begin a focused examination of how Town resources are currently utilized and can be best utilized to ensure equitable and optimal community health, wellness, and safety. The review will examine (but is not limited to): the Brattleboro Police Department, Town support for non-profit organizations, social service agencies, and other community resources, as well as identifying currently unmet community needs. This open process will invite in the wealth of knowledge and life experiences that our community holds about police, social services, racism, oppression, and alternatives to punishment and violence. We are working toward a community that is free of white supremacy in all of its manifestations.
This RFP is a call for one or more paid facilitators who will design and facilitate a community-focused process to conduct this study, and provide recommendations on policies, organizational structures, redistribution of resources, and/or further studies needed based on gathered input. This assessment and recommendation will be due by November 2020. In your budget and proposal, please include stipends for those community members involved in the study that are also heavily-impacted by police, policing, and involuntary hospitalization.
We acknowledge the original stewards of this land, the Abenaki peopleThis land is the land . We acknowledge their name for this area, Wantastegok. We acknowledge their land was stolen in 1753.
We further acknowledge the centuries where people in power explicitly (and implicitly) have used incarceration, policing, law-making, court orders, and other tools of public safety to prioritize white lives and safety over the lives of black, indigenous, and people of color. As we bear witness in recent times, this oppression persists. These same tools have been used to control and oppress other marginalized groups of people: people with unmet mental health needs, people who are homeless, people who use or have used drugs, people whose identity challenges currently accepted gender roles and/or sexual relationships, and the list goes on.
Under this context, we acknowledge the many concerns community members proclaimed in several recent public forums. Causes for their concern run much deeper than can be addressed by police training. We – a conglomerate of community members who have/continue to experience(d) unsafe situations, and/or those who have and continue to uplift the voices of those who feel unsafe – submit this RFP in acknowledgement that something must be done with the way our town of Brattleboro provides public (community) safety.
During the Brattleboro Selectboard meeting on June 16, numerous community members called for the Selectboard to reject the proposed budget and direct police funding to other community safety initiatives, local nonprofits, and social service organizations. The Selectboard passed the budget, but agreed to enter into a process of examining community safety, policing, and the budget.
In response, a group of Brattleboro town and area residents involved in diverse and collective movements for liberation and social justice put forward a Proposal (Community Proposal ) on June 30, requesting a process that would take a real, deep, equitable, accountable look into policing and community safety. Many community members, social justice organizations, and people from groups especially affected by policing expressed a desire to enter this work together with the Town and Selectboard. (Over 150 individuals and 14 organizations signed on to this Community Proposal before the July 7 meeting!) A Selectboard member, Elizabeth McLoughlin, also put forward a proposal on this date (McLoughlin Proposal).
At the next Selectboard meeting on July 7, community members highlighted key points of overlap and divergence between the Community Proposal and the McLoughlin Proposal. After a lengthy discussion, agreement about the community safety process was not reached. Continued conversation to discuss the process for examining community safety, policing, and the budget was scheduled for the Selectboard Meeting on July 21.
Prior to this meeting, Selectboard Member McLoughlin submitted a Request for Proposals (RFP). Community members involved in submitting the original Community Proposal met to discuss creating an addendum with more specifics, and instead submitted a response to the McLoughlin RFP which included an elaboration upon the Community Proposal
At the July 21 Selectboard Meeting, discussion focused on the McLoughlin RFP and the recently submitted collaborative community response to this document. After a long discussion involving many community members, The Selectboard voted unanimously to accept the community submission in full, and empower the group of community members to take the existing language they had worked on, turn it into an RFP, and submit it for discussion and voting.
The numbered list below outlines the expected chronological process by which the study will be conducted.
1. The Town of Brattleboro seeks one or more individuals to serve as paid facilitators for a comprehensive examination of community safety within the Town of Brattleboro. The scope will include community desires, needs, and reports of harm experienced and outline how to utilize our Town resources to ensure equitable community health, wellness, and safety .
2. Applicants will submit a detailed scope, schedule, measures of success, along with a budget. See below for a full list of facilitator qualifications.
3. The Selectboard will make the applications public and will choose the facilitator(s) based on the criteria in this document and recommendation(s) from the community leaders who proposed this process
4. In conjunction with interested community members, the facilitator(s) will bottom-line creating a Review Committee made up of a cross-section of Brattleboro-area residents.
Particular prioritization will be given to the inclusion of individuals from groups who experience more frequent police interactions, are more likely to be harmed in those interactions, and have been engaged in advocacy or activism on these issues. This includes Black, Indigenous and People of Color as well as other community members who are especially impacted: those who use drugs, psychiatrically labelled people, people with disabilities, domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, poor people, homeless people, LGBTQ+ folks, and more. Participation in this Committee is compensated and should be included in the overall budget for this project.
5. In order to form the Committee, the Facilitator will reach out to the drafters of this proposal to invite them to participate and to help with outreach to impacted communities.
6. The Committee advises the facilitator on gathering input from the community, provides guidance on areas to explore, participates in the interviews and data analysis (as relevant), and jointly with the facilitator, crafts reports and recommendations.
7. The Facilitator will lead the Committee through a process that meets the expectations laid out in the Assumptions section below.
8. By November 2020, prior to the Selectboard review of the FY2022 Annual Budget, the facilitator and Committee will together make initial recommendations on reallocation of BPD funding and other budget considerations. All new initiatives will be reviewed for compliance with newly adopted State and Federal laws. This report will be presented to the Selectboard and released to the public, particularly to organizations led by and/or serving directly-impacted communities.
9. By March 2021, the facilitator and Committee will together produce a more complete report to present at Representative Town Meeting with more comprehensive recommendations for initiatives and next steps, including future phases of this process.
All new initiatives will be reviewed for compliance with newly adopted State and Federal laws. This report will be presented to the Selectboard and released to the public, particularly to organizations led by and/or serving directly-impacted communities.
10. The Town will act upon the recommendations received in a public forum and provide quarterly updates at Selectboard meetings about the Implementation process.
Assumptions of the Study
The following is a list of considerations, as requested by both Selectboard and Brattleboro community members, to provide a legal, open, accessible and affirmative process.
1. Meetings that are open, accessible and that affirmatively engage public participation
2. Virtual options for participation, during the pandemic and beyond
3. Childcare for participants, as necessary, for in-person meetings
4. Interpretation and translation for those who are Deaf/Hard-of-hearing
5. Thoughtful inclusion of those who may not speak English
6. Opportunities for public feedback without police present
7. A forum and process to collect community members’ experiences with police and other emergency responders, including mental health crisis services, anonymously, without fear of retribution by police or the State
8. Prioritizing holding any in-person meetings in spaces where POC have built trust, comfort, and power – such as The Root Social Justice Center. These can be identified with input from the committee and/or the public.
9. Meetings happening at times that are accessible to people – especially those most impacted by this system
10. Use anti-racist frameworks to identify and challenge white supremacy in examining policing and community safety. This should include, but is not limited to:
a. Ways in which town emergency response (such as police and other non-profit collaboratives) may cause harm rather than equitably cultivate safety and support.
b. Community safety needs that are unmet by these systems/programs
11. Facilitators or committee members cannot not be part of the Citizen Police Communication Committee (CPCC), the police, any individual that works in the police department or police union, or any Selectboard member
12. Any individual who is involved in the committee who is also an employee of an agency that potentially may receive funding in this process must be transparent about that possible conflict of interest.
The subsections below identify the different parts of the RFP we expect to be submitted. You may use the “Assumptions of the Study” section as a starting point for your proposal.
In this section, provide a brief biography and description of the individual facilitator(s) which include a philosophy and qualifications to execute the scope of work. You may include prior experience with qualitative research, social justice work, providing this type of meeting facilitation in a public setting, or other work deemed relevant.
Scope of Study
The proposal must include a scope detailing the items below.
● An anticipated definition of community safety that aligns with anti-racist principles, and identifies how current policing practices and criminilization policies affect community safety.
● A methodology to include public opinion in a way that is safe, legal, ethical, and thoughtful.
● A preliminary list of potential participants, including organizations, groups of people, and/or individuals to be considered.
● A list of potential risks to be addressed in conducting the study.
● A brief description of the possible end products of the process.
Please provide a list of milestones and corresponding dates by which you will measure progress in this process, keeping in mind the following dates with regard to the FY2022 Brattleboro Town Budget
● Beginning of Selectboard budget deliberations in November
● Representative Town Meeting final vote on FY2022 budget on March 20th, 2021
Measures of Success
Identify, in your opinion, how success should be measured regarding public participation/involvement and the end products requested in this proposal. Feel free to use the section “Assumptions of this Study” as a starting point.
Include a budget with all anticipated costs. This must include, but is not limited to, the payment for your services and stipends for participants – especially for those most heavily impacted by policing, unwanted crisis interventions, and lack of community safety.
Format & Supplemental Documents
Proposals should be comprehensive, yet concise. Include proposed budget, timeline, resumes of all on the team, your qualifications and approach.
Qualities we are seeking in a facilitator:
● Anti-racist. A helpful way to think of this is a person experienced in “identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.” [NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity]
● Experienced in creating spaces and processes where many voices are included and power differences do not result in less privileged people being excluded.
● Experienced in qualitative research methods (i.e. semi-structured, interviews, focus groups, community forums, ethnographic observations, participatory research).
● Familiar with and open to creating new/decolonized systems instead of only looking for solutions within currently operating systems (i.e familiar with restorative and transformative models).
● Ability to handle sensitive data in an ethical, legal, and culturally-appropriate way.
● Incorporates processes for transformative and liberated work that includes somatics (body-based practices). Uses these processes to “get” information from our community that is not traditional and in a way that is easy for people to interpret and participate in.
○ For example, creating art, movement or other initiatives where our community can express their experiences in a way that feels accessible to them. This will include people who have been harmed or alienated by prevailing processes (i.e. the “sit for 3 hours and respond to questions by an authority figure” scenario).
● Experienced in working with groups that have been historically marginalized by police and social services (i.e. BIPOC, LGBTQ+, low-income, psychiatrically-labelled people, those in recovery and/or actively using).
● Experienced in rural communities.
Meets Facilitator Qualifications
Comprehensive and Achievable Scope
Thoughtful Measures of Success
Total Points 100
Delivery of Proposal
Electronic submissions should be sent to: email@example.com
Via U.S. mail: Town Manager Town of Brattleboro 230 Main Street Suite 208 Brattleboro, Vermont 05301.
Questions concerning Proposal
If you have any questions concerning this bid please submit them via email to the following individuals:
● Peter Elwell, Town Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
● HB Lozito, Executive Director of Out in the Open, email@example.com
Proposals should be received by 23h59m August 30th, 2020.