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2016 PA CAAP; Raising the Low-Income Voice: Democratic Selection Procedures for the Low-Income Sector of the Tripartite Board

2016 Pennsylvania (CAAP) Conference, April 21, 2016
by

Veronica Zhang

on 20 April 2016

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Transcript of 2016 PA CAAP; Raising the Low-Income Voice: Democratic Selection Procedures for the Low-Income Sector of the Tripartite Board

Issues to Consider
Agenda
Rules Governing Tripartite Board Composition
Election method

Recruitment

Publicity

Engagement and retention

Board succession planning
Discussion
Democratic Selection Procedures
DIRECT ELECTION

Recruitment
Advertising on website, in person, by mail, or via social media
Petitions
Staff interactions with clients
Referrals from individuals or other organizations in the community

Publicity
Disseminate bios on website, social media, or printed flyers

Election Method
Casting ballots at designated polling places/online
Your agency's site
Sites of other organizations serving low-income people
Public forum
Raising the Low-Income Voice:
Democratic Selection Procedures for the Low-Income Sector of the Tripartite Board
2016 CAAP Annual Conference, Harrisburg, PA
April 21, 2016

Christopher Logue, Esq., Staff Attorney
Link to presentation:
http://tinyurl.com/caplaw2016CAAP-board

Common issues with low-income sector board selection and recruitment

Rules of tripartite board composition and selection

Pros and cons of selection processes used

Strategies for improving democratic selection procedures

Board engagement and sustainability

What comes next?

Federal CSBG Act

State CSBG Act

State guidance (e.g., PA DCED CSBG directives)

CSBG Organizational Standards

OCS IM No. 82 - Tripartite Boards
(
62 P.S. §2992.1, et seq.
)
(42 U.S.C. § 9901 et seq.)
Board Size and Composition:
Low-Income Sector
Low-Income Sector - Federal Law
PRIVATE

“not fewer than 1/3 of the members are persons chosen in accordance with

democratic selection procedures adequate to assure that these members are representative of low-income individuals and families in the neighborhood served
;

and … each representative of low-income individuals and families selected to represent a specific neighborhood … resides in the neighborhood represented by the member.”

PUBLIC

Must also


reside in the neighborhood served
"


42 U.S.C. § 9910
Low-Income Sector - State Law
Community Action Agencies must be constituted so that "at least one-third [of the members of the board of directors] are persons chosen in accordance with
departmentally approved
democratic selection procedures adequate to assure that they are representative of the poor in the area served..."


62 P.S. § 2992.4(a)
Low-Income Sector - OCS IM #82
"OCS

does not

recommend

including in this community representation category for either public or private agency boards
individuals who provide services or supports to low-income residents but who are neither low-income or residents of the agency's service area
.
Such individuals may qualify for board membership as representatives of another board category -- 'major groups or interests in the community.'"
Low-Income Sector - CSBG Org. Standards
"By law, Community Action boards are comprised of at least 1/3 low-income consumers (or their representatives), 1/3 elected officials (or their appointees), and the remainder private-sector community members.
To make this structure work as intended, CAAs must recruit board members thoughtfully, work within communities to promote opportunities for board service, and orient, train, and support them in their oversight role.
"

Standard 5.2:

The organization's governing board has written procedures that document a democratic selection process for low-income board members adequate to assure that they are representative of the low-income community (or,
for public CAAs
, use another mechanism specified by the state).
Low-Income Sector - OCS IM #82
“The statute requires that representatives of low-income individuals and families be "chosen in accordance with democratic selection procedures.”
The implicit intent of this requirement is to insure that those who currently live in areas served by the agency are represented
so that they have a strong voice in agency governance and direction and are able to convey to those they represent the presence and significance of community action in their lives.”
Low-Income Sector - OCS IM #82
"Every effort should be made by eligible entities to assure that board members representing low-income individuals and families:

Have been selected on the basis of some form of democratic procedure
either directly through election, public forum, or, if not possible, through a similar democratic process
such as election to a position of responsibility in another significant service or community organization such as a school PTA, a faith-based organization leadership group; or an advisory board/governing council to another low-income service provider;
Low-Income Sector - OCS IM #82
Are truly representative of 
current
 
residents
of the geographic area to be served,
including racial and ethnic composition,
as determined by periodic selection or reselection by the community. Being current should be based on the recent or annual demographics changes as documented in the needs/ community assessment. This does not preclude extended service of low-income community representatives on boards, but does suggest that continued board participation of longer term members be revalidated from and kept current through some form of democratic process and the assessment of community changes.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the State to assure that agencies uphold both the letter and intent of the law governing appointment of low-income community representatives to tripartite boards
."
1. Think about your agency’s current selection process as well as the alternatives shared today. How would you rank these selection processes?
Democratic Selection Procedures
MICRO-DEMOCRATIC ELECTION

Recruitment
Relationships with other organizations or groups predominately made up of low-income individuals

Publicity
Helping other community groups understand Community Action and responsibilities of tripartite board
Targeted towards individuals already involved in other organizations

Election Method
Rely on community groups to elect members from within their group or choose someone from among their elected officers to serve on the tripartite board
In Addition to the Election
ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION

Be clear about board responsibilities and expectations during recruitment

Make use of board member job description and application

Provide orientation and regular training





Form a committee of board members to provide support and mentoring

Check in regularly with board members
In Addition to the Election
SUCCESSION PLANNING

Encourage staff and board members to identify clients who may be able and willing to serve on the board

Invite prospective low-income directors to serve in an
advisory capacity
to the board and/or board committee

Anticipate vacancies and maintain a pipeline of potential board members

Stay on top of board needs (e.g., diversity, experience)

Have a standing Governance Committee that is actively involved in the care and feeding of the board
After the Election
SUCCESSION PLANNING

Encourage staff and board members to identify clients who may be able and willing to serve on the board

Invite prospective low-income directors to serve in an advisory capacity to the board and/or board committee

Anticipate vacancies and consider having an interim board member policy
Standard 5.7:

The organization has a process to provide a structured orientation for governing board members within 6 months of being seated.

Standard 5.8:

Governing board members have been provided with training on their duties and responsibilities within the past 2 years.
Case Studies in Democratic Selection Procedures
http://www.caplaw.org/resources/PublicationDocuments/CAPLAW_RaisingtheLowIncomeVoice_Sept2015.pdf
Common Issues with Low-Income Board Sector
1.
Vacancies/high turnover rate

2.
Small pool of potential board members

3.
Lack of time commitment and/or interest

4.
Low voter turnout at elections

5.
Elections not competitive

6.
Elections time-consuming and not cost-effective

7.
Nominees not representative of community served
Common Issues with Low-Income Board Sector
[]
Common Issues with Low-Income Board Sector
Board Size and Composition:
Low-Income Sector
Laws and Standards
Information Memorandum 82
Small Group
Discussion
1. Share your agency's process for selecting low-income representatives

2. Discuss the pros and cons of each agency's selections process
In Addition to the Election
Filling Vacancies

Federal/state law
: No required timeframe for filling vacancy.

Federal CSBG Act:
"persons chosen in accordance with democratic selection

procedures
..." - implies a
process
to fill seat.
Unique nature and purpose of tripartite board - ensure representation from different parts of the community.

CSBG Org. Standard 5.5 (private):
The organization's governing body...fills board vacancies as set out in its bylaws.

CAPLAW Bylaws Toolkit
: The board shall take steps to ensure that vacant seats are filled in a
timely
manner.

Individual agency circumstances
: Different CAAs have different community makeup/ability to quickly fill vacancies.

Document
good faith effort
to fill vacancies in a
timely manner.

2. Which selection process might your agency consider adopting? Are there any other changes that your agency should consider making?
FEDERAL LAW
Does not address

STATE LAW
PA nonprofit corporation act: at least 1; 3 if none stated in bylaws or articles (15 Pa.C.s. s. 5723)

STRATEGY
Maintain flexibility
Keep it manageable
Must be divisible by 3


Board Size
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