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County scraps contract with counseling firm

New Hope focus of GBI probe

POSTED: September 27, 2013 12:28 a.m.
 

Forsyth County has canceled its contract with New Hope Counseling after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation searched the center’s Cumming office on Wednesday.

According to a report from the GBI, the agency launched its investigation into the counseling center at the request of Enotah Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Raymond George, who stated New Hope bought equipment and supplies not provided to the accountability courts.

“George recognized the accountability courts in Lumpkin and Union counties were operating with minimal supplies and equipment and found information which caused him concern,” the report stated.

The judicial circuit also includes Towns and White counties.

Citing the ongoing investigation, GBI officials reached Thursday declined to provide additional details.

As part of the probe, the GBI searched New Hope’s offices in Cumming, 330 Dahlonega St., and in Gainesville on Tuesday.

Forsyth County last renewed its agreement with New Hope in March to provide counseling services and drug and alcohol testing for the DUI and drug accountability courts.

That contract was “terminated for cause” on Wednesday under a clause stating the county can end the agreement if the agency fails to perform, county spokesman Jodi Gardner explained in an email.

“The county became aware that New Hope, including its Cumming office, is the subject of an investigation that has rendered it impossible for the organization to perform its duties under the agreement, which has necessitated that the court system’s affiliation with the organization immediately end,” she wrote.

Forsyth soon will seek proposals for a new firm to run the program, said Donna Kukarola, Forsyth’s procurement director.

The contract was at no cost to the county, said Kukarola, explaining that participants paid for the services.

Minutes from commission meetings show the county has worked with New Hope since as early as 2007 for the drug and DUI court treatment program.

 

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