Section 11-96-3

Community action agency; defined; governing board; biannual audit; delegation of responsibility; service area; consultation with neighborhood-based organizations; powers and duties.

(a) A "community action agency" for the purposes of this chapter shall include the following:

(1) A county, a municipality or a combination thereof;

(2) A private nonprofit agency which has been designated as an "eligible entity" under Section 673(1) of the Community Services Block Grant Act; or

(3) A private nonprofit agency newly established by local ordinance in compliance with subsection (b) of this section.

(b) Each community action agency shall administer its programs through a governing board consisting of 15 to 51 members.

(1) One-third of the members of the board shall be elected or appointed public officials, currently holding office or their representatives. These members shall be designated or approved by the chief elected local government official or officials of the jurisdiction which they represent.

(2) At least one-third of the members shall be persons chosen in accordance with democratic selection procedures adequate to assure that they are representative of the poor in the area served by the agency.

(3) The other members shall be officials or members of business, industry, labor, religious, welfare, education, housing, or other major groups and interests in the community. Each member of the board selected to represent a specific geographic area within an appointed community must reside in the area represented.

Procedures for selection of board members shall be submitted to county commissions within the community action agency service area for their review. This procedure may be set out in the bylaws governing the community action agency.

(c) Each community action agency receiving funds under this chapter shall prepare a biannual audit to be made available to the public, to state and local government.

(d) If a community action agency delegates responsibility for major policy determinations with respect to the character, funding, extent, and administration of the budgeting for programs to be carried on in a particular geographic poverty or low-income area within the community in a subsidiary board, council, or similar agency, that board, council, or agency shall be broadly representative of the area.

(e) The specific service area of any community action agency must be specific in its charter. No community action agency service areas shall overlap; nor shall any new service area include less than 50,000 total population. This population requirement shall not affect existing community action agencies, nor affect the authority of an existing agency to expand into an area not already served by a community action program.

(f) Each community action agency shall consult neighborhood-based organizations composed of residents of the area of members of the groups served to assist the agency in planning, conduct, and evaluation of components of the community action program.

(g) A community action agency shall:

(1) Plan systematically for an effective community action program;

(2) Encourage agencies engaged in activities related to the community action program to administer assistance on a common or cooperative basis;

(3) Initiate and sponsor projects responsive to needs of the poor which are not otherwise being met, with particular emphasis on providing central or common services that can be drawn upon by a variety of related programs;

(4) Establish effective procedures by which the poor and area residents concerned will be enabled to influence the character of programs affecting their interests;

(5) Join with and encourage business, labor, and other private groups and organizations to undertake activities which will result in the additional use of private resources and capabilities, and otherwise carry out its purposes as approved by its governing board.

(Acts 1982, No. 82-494, p. 818, §3.)