Executive Committee Meeting Minutes February 21, 2019


NYCDOHMH, 42-09 28th Street, Rm 21-12, Long Island City, NY
Thursday, February 21, 2019, 3:05 -5:05PM

Members Participating: Jan Carl Park (Governmental Co-Chair), Matthew Lesieur (Community

Co-Chair), Steve Hemraj (Finance Officer), Matthew Baney (phone), Danielle Beiling, Lisa Best,

Maria Diaz, Claire Simon for Joan Edwards (phone), Billy Fields, Graham Harriman (Recipient),

Amanda Lugg (phone), Saul Reyes (Consumer At Large), Andrea Straus (phone), Marcy Thompson 

Members Absent: Fay Barrett, Jan Hudis, Dorella Walters

DOHMH Staff Present: David Klotz,Amber Casey, Merline Jean Casimir, Melanie Lawrence,

Kimbirly Mack  

WCDOH: Julie Lehane, Ph.D.

PHS Staff Present: Bettina Caroll (phone),Gucci Kaloo

Others Present: Joan Corbisiero (Parliamentarian)

Agenda Item #1: Welcome/Introductions/Approval of Minutes/Public Comment  

Jan Park, Governmental Co-Chair and Matthew Lesieur, Community Co-Chair, opened the meeting, followed by introductions and a moment of silence The minutes from the January 24, 2019 Executive Committee meeting were approved as presented.  There was no public comment.   

Agenda Item #2: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  

David Klotz presented the revised MOU, which the Rules & Membership Committee (RMC) worked on for a year in response to findings from the 2018 HRSA site visit. A draft revised MOU is due to HRSA by February 28th.  It will also be submitted to the DOHMH Law Department.  Comments from those entities will be addressed by the RMC and brought back to the EC and full Council for final ratification.

The purpose of an MOU was described: a legal agreement between the Council and Recipient (new HRSA term for Grantee) that describes the partnership, delineates roles and responsibilities, operationalizes existing Federal, State and Local governances, and is a tool to help stakeholders avert conflict. The Council’s and Recipient’s roles were described in the areas of Setting Priorities,

Allocations (including use of unspent and unobligated funds), Assessing the Administrative Mechanism, Council Operations, Grant Administration, Grant Writing and Reporting, Quality Management, Determining Needs, Comprehensive Planning, Program Evaluation, Communication and Information Sharing, and Settling Disputes. 

The process for revising the original 2011 MOU involved extensive meetings starting in March 2018 led by RMC chair Fay Barrett. RMC members went line-by-line through the MOU making extensive revisions to make the update the document and give it a more collaborative and cooperative tone. The revised document was reviewed by Recipient staff, who then joined RMC for several meetings to negotiate points of disagreement and come to a final draft.

A summary of the revisions include:

  • Technical changes: Terminology (e.g., “Grantee” now “Recipient”, as per new HRSA terminology); RW HATEA language; Changes in reporting (e.g., Council reports to Deputy Commissioner of Disease Control); Comprehensive planning per federal guidelines.
  • Allows Council staff to review draft RFPs to ensure consistency with Council guidance.
  • Clarifies communications: Formalizes procedure for data requests, Communication with HRSA project officer at PO’s discretion.
  • Ensures that Council members can access public information about individual providers, but not use it in the context of the planning process. The Recipient provides provider-level information for planning purposes only (e.g., to invite providers to IOC meetings to discuss service directive revisions).
  • Rationalizes Shared Reports: Quarterly finance reports in a realistic timeframe; Substitutes the annual HRSA Progress Report for the Federal Financial Report; Council produces annual work plan; Recipient responds to data and reporting requests in set, realistic time frames (e.g., within 30 days of finalized formal request)

ACTION: The motion was made to accept the MOU for submission to HRSA. The motion passed unanimously. 

The one unresolved issue concerned the process for determining the Council support budget:  should it be an annual line item negotiation, or a fixed percentage of grant award?  David Klotz referred members to page 11 which addresses the Planning Council support budget.  In the past, there have been discussions about developing a budget based on a fixed percentage of the award.  Historically, the Planning Council support budget has been negotiated on a yearly basis.

Jan Park explained that with a budget based on 1% of the award, because personnel costs are fixed, i.e., union mandated salary increases, there is little latitude in these expenditures, except for personnel vacancies. If the budget were implemented with the 1% ceiling, the resultant shortfall in OTPS funds could result in: the reduction in meetings, combining committees, laying off of staff members, elimination of sound and audio services, real time captioning, limiting meetings to DOHMH where space is provided at no cost and a reduction in food & refreshment costs.  He noted that the NY EMA has been recognized as a best practice, in no small part due to the value added by the range of supportive activities that the Planning Council provides to its committees and members.

Matt Lesieur offered a different view: with likely Federal reductions in the grant in the future, a guarantee of 1% of the award will at least provide a floor for the Planning Council’s support budget.  Graham Harriman noted that the recipient was able to negotiate the NYCDOHMH fringe rate from 50% to 38%, which benefits all parties involved and that the Planning Council also derives benefits from resources provided by the recipient, e,g., epi support and CHAIN. In addition, it was noted that annual negotiations delay the implementation of the larger budget, which affects our contractors.  Amber Casey added that the recipient is obligated to only fund those activities for which the Planning Council is legislatively mandated and nothing more and that in the past, the recipient has paid for “unfunded” activities from its accruals.  Steve Hemraj, Finance Officer, asked what would happen in the case of a large reduction in the award resulting in a shortfall of funds to cover personnel costs.  Saul Reyes reminded the committee that written, supporting documentation is necessary in order to conduct an informed discussion.  Lisa Best suggested that a line by line comparison of OTPS and PS expenses would be helpful.

Amber Casey clarified that the recipient’s proposal is a guaranteed base of 1%, with negotiations for any amounts above the 1%. It was also noted that the Planning Council must approve any significant modifications to the budget.  

Steve Hemraj proposed the following motion:  The Planning Council should accept the 1% base without the need for negotiation with the recipient. The motion was subsequently withdrawn.

Jan Park recommended that the decision be postponed so that all are sufficiently apprised.Billy Fields urged that there not be a vote and that a motion to postpone be made with a timeframe of 30 days.  A vote should be taken on this subsidiary motion to postpone any decisions until the next Executive Committee in March.  This motion did not pass. 

Billy Fields made a motion for the Finance Committee to create a Sub Committee to address this issue within two weeks, with a report to be issued by the Finance Officer to the Executive Committee. The motion did not pass.  A suggestion was made that a conference call be arranged in place of a face to face Sub Committee meeting.  

There be no further comment, the meeting was adjourned.