POPLAR BLUFF – As was reported in the SEMO TIMES today, the City’s grant writer, Raynesha Hudnell, has secured two grants totaling $424,750 for city projects:

$400k to connect city parks, and
nearly $25k for Home Repair Opportunity (HERO) Program.

From the front page, above the fold, of the DAR on September 5, 2914: City Manager's Hiring Questioned

From the front page, above the fold, of the Daily American Republic newspaper on September 5, 2014:   City Manager’s Hiring Questioned

Let’s go back to early September when former councilwoman Susan McVey grandstanded during a council meeting questioning City Manager Kaplan, “How do you justify hiring a grant writer?”  And then in the DAR a few days later she was boldly quoted, “The grant writer’s position was not in this year’s budget. It was not advertised and it was not offered to a capable local person.”

Had the city not hired their own grant writer, one can first assume we’d never had gotten these funds. After all, these funds have been available for years and they had not made it to the city’s coffers.

Of course a grant writing firm could have been employed to write these grants. However, the city would have ended up paying that firm an estimated $20,000 for their time and effort in securing the grant.

Raynesha Hudnell has been the city’s grant writer for 3 months and five days which would be approximately $15,000 salary to date and her assistant has in no way accumulated $5,000 in hourly wages. So Kaplan saved the city money by hiring a grant writer on staff.

In his own words, Kaplan said:

If a grants coordinator is doing their job properly, they will bring in ten-fold over their salary. As long as it’s at market rate, hiring a grants coordinator should be a non-issue.

Heath Kaplan Interview, September 2014

By my calculations, today’s announcement means Hudnell brought in 20-fold over her salary during her first three months.

Without a grant writer actively looking for grants that our city can qualify for, then hundreds of thousands of dollars of grant money goes elsewhere. Thanks to our City Manager hiring a grant writer, we can now pour $400,000 into our local economy and connect our parks together.

McVey’s other complaint, repeated ad nauseam about the grant writer, was that she was hired and brought to the area rather than hired from within the community. SO WHAT!!!! Do we blame the hospitals or other businesses when they bring in talent? No, we welcome it. It makes our community better. And the entire community should have welcomed Raynesha Hudnell, as well.

Once again the truth of sound judgment and reasoning is a “bold witness” to the stupidity, false reporting and shortsightedness of the Daily American Republic newspaper (and to those who believe the lies contained on page 1A and call SpeakOut to regurgitate it again and again on page 4A).

So, the next time you hear someone speaking poorly about our new City Manager or his decision to hire a grant writer, please have the boldness of character to state:

I am glad Kaplan hired a grant writer: Raynesha Hudnell is doing a great job!

P.S. to Raynesha Hudnell:
I’ve been patiently waiting to write this post since the beginning of September. I had no idea it would only take 3 months and never expected your first success to be over $400k. Well done and thank you for accepting the position offered to you by Heath Kaplan!

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After graduating from Mizzou with Computer and Electrical Engineering degrees in 1985, Brian Becker spent a decade singing Christian Rock and being a labeled artist with Benson Music Group of Nashville. In 1995, he and several investors started the area's first Internet Service called PBMO.net and by 2000 the company was serviing Internet access in over 50 communities throughout Southeast Missouri as SEMO.net.