Nashville leaders are at an impasse over whether to accept a payment from the company that runs the city’s juvenile detention center, where four teens escaped in November.
The city’s law department, backed by the mayor, negotiated a $140,000 settlement with Youth Opportunity Investments.
The operator is willing to reimburse the city for police overtime related to the 14-day search for the escapees. The company has accepted partial blame for employee mistakes — and fired four staffers — but has also faulted Metro for an outdated video system.
But members of the Metro Council have been much more critical. Councilmember Emily Benedict calls the payment insufficient after “egregious” mistakes allowed for the escape.
“Nashvillians should expect more from us in how we manage our detention centers. Not only better results, but better accountability,” she said during a Metro Council meeting Tuesday night.
Benedict was the only member to speak during the meeting. She noted she previously supported the settlement but changed her mind after comparing the overall value of Metro’s detention center contract against the settlement amount.
Other members didn’t speak, but dissatisfaction surfaced when it came time to vote. A volley of “no” votes cascaded over the conference call software that the council has been using for meetings and votes.
The settlement failed 17-18, with some abstentions.
The outcome leaves the next steps for the city and the company unclear.