Executive Committee Meeting Minutes July 19, 2023


By Zoom

3:05 – 4:55pm

Members Present: Graham Harriman (Governmental Co-chair), Dorella Walters (Community Co-chair), Billy Fields (Finance Officer), Ronnie Fortunato, Marya Gilborn, Charmaine Graham, Steve Hemraj, Emma Kaywin, Matthew Lesieur, Freddy Molano, MD, Jeff Natt, Julian Palmer, Guadalupe Dominguez Plummer (ex-officio), Claire Simon (for Joan Edwards), Marcelo Maia Soares

Members Absent: Saqib Altaf, David Martin, Marcy Thompson

Staff Present: NYC DOHMH: David Klotz, Melanie Lawrence, Doienne Saab, Johanna Acosta, Jennifer Sorel, Kimbirly Mack, Patrick Chan, Renee James; Public Health Solutions: Barbara Silver, Arya Shahi; Joan Corbisiero (Parliamentarian)

Closed Session: 2023 Planning Council Appointments

The Committee met in a closed session to review the Rules & Membership Committee’s recommendations for re-appointment and new appointment to the Council for three-terms starting in the autumn.  The slate was approved 14Y-0N and will be forwarded to the Mayor’s Office of Appointments.

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

Mr. Harriman and Ms. Walters opened the meeting followed by a roll call and a moment of silence.  The minutes from the June 22, 2023 meeting were approved with no changes.

Agenda Item #2: GY 2024 Application Spending Plan

Ms. Gilborn explained that the Council must approve a spending request for submission to HRSA with the GY 2024 non-competitive continuation application.  EMAs are allowed to ask for up to 5% more than that previous year’s award.  PSRA traditionally requests the increase in the Base award, as the MAI award is completely formula-driven.  The request can be a road map to plan for an unlikely increase in the FY 2024 grant award.  Planning for the likely scenario of a decrease will take place in the fall-winter.  PSRA used the FY 2022 close-out report presented to the Council last month as the best available proxy for which service categories can absorb additional funds.  Food & Nutrition was the one service category that spent more than 105% of its original allocation and the Committee recommends a targeted increase equal to the amount of funds reprogrammed to that category last year.  The rest of the increase is allocated across the portfolio through an across-the-board weighted increase with the exception of ADAP and all categories that less than 95% of their original allocations (Non-Medical Case Management, Early Intervention, Oral Health, Emergency Financial Assistance).

Mr. Klotz reviewed a spreadsheet showing that a 5% increase would mean an additional $4,268,232.  After administration, quality management and a weighted across-the-board 5% increase to Tri-County programs (approved by the Tri-County Steering Committee and PSRA last month), that would leave $3,618,919 for NYC Base programs.  There is an additional $292,704 in uncommitted funding available due to a contract termination in Health Education and Risk Reduction.  The distribution of the increase was shown as described above.

A motion was made, seconded and approved 14Y-0N to approve the GY 2024 application spending plan as presented.

Agenda Item #3: Assessment of the Administrative Mechanism

Ms. Walters, on behalf of Mr. Fields, introduced the annual assessment of the administrative mechanism, explaining that the assessment is a legislative requirement that planning councils assess whether Ryan White Part A grant funds are being expended according to the Council’s priorities and allocations, and whether funds are being rapidly disbursed to the community.  The assessment is for the 2022-23 grant year and contains findings related to four areas: 1) Executed Contracts/Renewals, 2) Procurement, 3) Subcontractor Payments, and 4) Spending.  The draft assessment is based on information presented to the EC and PC through quarterly spending reports and monthly Recipient reports.  There was also fiscal information provided from the Recipient, as well as preliminary findings from HRSA’s site visit in May.  Overall, the findings are positive, particularly in the area of spending and procurement.  Mr. Klotz reviewed the text of the draft assessment’s findings. 

In response to a finding concerning late contract executions and payments, Ms. Plummer explained that the HIV Care & Treatment Program (CTP) is reviewing tools, metrics and processes with HRSA in fiscal technical assistance sessions later this week.  Ms. Sorel also added that findings on contract executions only apply to four contracts under new solicitations made last year, which is a heavier lift.  Contracts are now three-year contracts and do not require annual executions anymore.  Ms. Silver added that HRSA has not issued its formal findings yet, and that PHS will no longer wait for the notice of grant award and are encouraging renewing programs to request a 25% advance, which will address the issue of late payments. 

Mr. Natt suggested adding additional language to the assessment to strengthen the Council’s concerns, particularly around the large amount of underspending in the Emergency Financial Assistance category.  The language would ask the Recipient to notify the Council early when there is large underspending in a service category, and suggests amending the reprogramming plan to put a limit on the amount that can be taken down from a service category.  It was noted that the Council’s reprogramming plan is meant to maximize spending by authorizing the Recipient to take money from underspending categories and use it to enhance overperforming ones.  The plan has a cap on enhancement, but not on takedowns, as the funds would otherwise go unspent.  A change to the Council’s reprogramming plan is unrelated to the assessment of the administrative mechanism and will be referred to the PSRA Committee.

The Committee agreed to add the following paragraphs to the Summary/Findings section of the assessment:

“The Council is concerned that almost half the funding in the EFA category was redirected without Council input. In the future the Council would like to be informed in a timely manner of major challenges in underspending to better inform the Council in reprogramming underspent funds.

The Council is concerned that some awards were not executed within the required 45-day time frame and that providers were not paid within 30 days of receipt of invoices.  The Council may need to take additional action to monitor spending and ensure resources are received by providers on a timelier basis.”

A motion was made, seconded and approved 13Y-0N to approve the GY 2022-23 assessment of the administrative mechanism as presented with the agreed upon added language.

Agenda Item #4: Co-chairs Update

Mr. Harriman reminded the Committee of the annual member recognition event on August 4th in Riverbank State Park.

Mr. Lesieur reported that a House of Representatives budget bill calls for steep reductions to appropriations for Ryan White programs, but that it is part of an annual budget process and the cuts will not be considered by the Senate or White House.

Mr. Harriman thanked Ms. Walters, whose term ends in August, for her leadership and partnership leading the Council.  He also thanked Mr. Natt for his leadership as co-chair of the PSRA Committee.  Ms. Walters and Mr. Natt thanked the Committee for their commitment and dedication to the work of the Council. 

Agenda Item #5: Public Comment

Mr. Hemraj stressed the importance of following the mandates of the Ryan White legislation, particularly concerning the role of the Council and consumers in the planning for Ryan White funds, as well as the shared mission of improving the lives of PWH.  He also expressed his displeasure that the Recipient staff left the meeting early, which he said was disrespectful to the Council.  Mr. Maia Soares added that it is essential to work together to ensure that the EMA receives as much funding as possible. There being no further comment, the meeting was adjourned.