(Orange, Texas)

July 9, 2013

CDBG funds approved by Council

Gabriel Pruett
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Seven nonprofit organizations were approved to receive over $5,700 from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding by the Orange City Council Tuesday.

A total of $40,000 was approved. The requests will now be sent into United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

There was explanation made before the council’s approval of one of the entities.

Councilmember Mary McKeena serves as the executive director of Southeast Texas Hospice, one of the organizations seeking the funds.

City Manager Shawn Oubre read a three-page disclosure which talked about the conflict of interest. The city responded to seven factors HUD considers when determining whether to grant an exception to the conflict of interest.

One of the facts is the significant cost benefit or essential expertise to project.

The city’s response stated Southeast Texas Hospice is the only hospice in this area providing services to pediatric patients.

“Southeast Texas Hospice is the ‘go to’ for hospice care for complicated cases referred by physicians as well as other Hospice Care providers,” the response said.

The city’s response stated CDBG funding will assist Southeast Texas Hospice in giving some of the best care to indigent patients. It also stated McKeena does not directly care for the patients and is not a boardmember of Southeast Texas Hospice.

“Southeast Texas Hospice was first funded in 1993,” the disclosure said. “CDBG funds are always utilized for patient care, invoiced for patient care and only patient care. Funds have never been for salaries. Mary McKeena receives no direct benefit from CDBG funds, only the doctor or nurse or medical facility that provides the care.”

McKeena abstained from all votes pertaining to the CDBG funds.