Community centers MOU fate unclear

March 29, 2013
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A rough draft of the new operating agreement between the City and community centers was expected to be in place by now, but it’s unclear whether it is finished.

The City had said in December that it anticipated having the document ready early this year. But repeated Gazette phone calls and emails to the Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), the City agency that oversees the community centers, have gone unanswered.

Most community centers are nonprofits that are separate from the City, but they use City’s facilities and staff. The new operating agreement is known as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which is a document that formally describes a relationship.

The issue of an agreement between the City and community centers arose after two groups at the Hennigan Community Center (HCC) complained about rates last year, as the Gazette reported in April. It was unclear at the time whether the City or community centers had the authority to raise rates. The Gazette reported later that the community centers do in fact have that authority.

The partnership is currently governed by a 1974 “Plan of Operations” document. Kerry Costello, chair of the Jamaica Plain Community Centers, which oversees HCC, has expressed concern that the community centers were not involved in drafting the MOU to replace that document.