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Council Approves BARC Contract

After weeks of wrangling — Houston Councilmembers finally approved a contract to pay the city’s turnaround agent for BARC. The unanimous vote officially puts the city’s pound under new leadership through the end of the year. Laurie Johnson has more.

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“All in favor signify by saying aye, opposed no, that item carries.”

It was almost anti-climactic. The BARC contract with consultant Gerry Fusco has been at the center of debate for more than a month.

But the council quietly approved the contract with just a handful of comments. Councilmember Mike Sullivan started things off by addressing Gerry Fusco, who wasn’t actually at the meeting.

“And I’d like to just publicly apologize to him from the District E council office for all that he’s been put through the last few weeks. We have apparently a problem over at BARC, you’ve identified it, you’re on top of it, you’ve hired this guy and we’ve lost a lot of time and expended a lot of—oh, it has been a lot of drama.”

Councilmember Jolanda Jones, one of the most vocal detractors of the contract, voted yes along with the rest of the council. But she says it was a hard decision to make.

“Personally I think we need to level that building. I mean, it emanates death and morbidity to me.”

The mayor acknowledges they do need new facilities for BARC, but says that will have to wait for a time when the budget is more flexible.

The $135,000 contract will keep turnaround agent Gerry Fusco at the helm of BARC through the end of the year.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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