BYLAWS

Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon HIV Health Services Planning Council

Table of Contents

ARTICLE I

Name, Establishment, Definitions and Purposes ​

1.1 Name 

The organization shall be known as the Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon HIV Health Services  Planning Council. As used in these bylaws, the terms “Planning Council” and “Council” hereinafter refers to the MSHTGA. 

1.2 Establishment 

The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) of 1990, as amended in  1995, 2000 and 2006, and replaced by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of  2009, requires the establishment of an HIV Health Services Planning Council by the Chief Elected  Official (CEO) of the Transitional Grant Area (TGA). The Freeholder Director of Middlesex  County, hereinafter defined as chief elected official (CEO) of the Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon  transitional grant area, was appointed as chief elected official with the inception of the Act. The  County of Middlesex was established as the recipient grantee herein known as the “Administrative Agent” (AA) for “Grantee” for Ryan White Part A and Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) grant  awards, per the Act itself. The Council, as established by the CEO, is not incorporated under the  laws of the State of New Jersey or any other jurisdiction. 

1.3 Purposes of the Council 

The purposes of the Council have been established as follows: 

To identify HIV needs, prioritize service interventions, and recommend allocations to meet the  priority services needs in the TGA; 

1.3.1 To develop a comprehensive plan for the organization and delivery of health services compatible with any existing state or local plan that provides for health services to  individuals with HIV infection or AIDS; 

1.3.2 To set service priorities and make allocations of grant funds; 

1.3.3 To assess the efficiency of the administrative mechanism to efficiently and effectively  distribute Part A and MAI grant awards and assure quality services;

1.3.4 To develop standards for improving the delivery of services as part of the local planning  processes; 

1.3.5 To assure community participation in needs assessment and non-conflicted community  participation in priority setting; 

1.3.6 To participate in the development of the statewide coordinated statement of need  (SCSN) through the NJ HIV Planning Group; and 

1.3.7 To manage the operations of the HIV Services Planning Council.

ARTICLE II

Appointment of Council Members, Composition, Terms and Compensation

The membership shall be comprised of persons appointed by the designated Chief Elected  Official, commonly known as the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders (also known  as CEO). The membership will be no less than 20 persons and no more than 45 persons. The  CEO appoints additional members to the Planning Council for expanding membership or to fill  vacancies, which may occur. 

Membership shall include, but not be limited to individuals with skills or expertise from the  following: 

  1. Individuals with HIV disease 
  2. Affected community, including PLWH and/or PLWA and historically underserved  groups and subpopulations 
  3. Health care providers, including federally qualified health centers 
  4. Community-based organizations serving affected populations and AIDS service organizations; 
  5. Social service providers, including providers of housing and homelessness services;  6. Mental health and substance abuse providers;  
  6. Local public health agencies;  
  7. Hospital planning agencies or health care planning agencies; 
  8. Non-elected community leaders; 
  9. State government Medicaid Agency representative; 
  10. State government Part B representative; 
  11. Part C (b), grantees of early intervention programs; 
  12. Part D, or organizations operating in the area with a history of serving children, youth and families with HIV; 
  13. Other Federal HIV Programs, including providers of HIV prevention services; 
  14. Representatives of individuals who were formerly Federal, State, or local prisoners,  were released from the custody of the penal system during the preceding three  years, and had HIV disease as of the date on which the individuals were so released;
  1. Members of a Federally recognized Indian tribe as represented in the population of  the TGA; 
  2. Individuals co-infected with hepatitis B or C 

The membership must reflect the demographics of the epidemic in the TGA. No less than 33%  of the membership shall be unaffiliated individuals currently receiving HIV related services pursuant to a grant under Section 2601(a) of the Ryan White CARE Act, or the parents of or  caregivers for minor children, receiving such services. Individuals must not be officers, Board  members, employees, or consultants to any providers receiving Part A funds, and must not  represent any such entities in order to be considered unaffiliated consumer members.  

Members can be persons residing in, employed in, or receiving services in the Middlesex Somerset-Hunterdon TGA. If the member’s eligibility criteria changes during their appointment and they no longer meet the membership criteria, their seat on Planning Council would expire  effective the date of the change. State appointment representatives of a Part B program are  exempt from the above membership requirements. 

No provider agency shall have more than one voting member on Planning Council. Membership and Bylaws Committee will review written requests to make an exception on an  individual basis.  

2.1 Appointments 

2.1.1 New Planning Council Member Appointments  

According to the Act, the Planning Council shall maintain a Membership and Bylaws Committee  to maintain group parity, inclusion, and representation in accordance with the Federally  Mandated Categories (see Article II introduction). The Membership and Bylaws Committee will  actively solicit applications for membership to the Planning Council. The Membership and 

Bylaws Committee will meet and review the previously filed applications, interview each  prospective applicant, and vote on each prospective applicant. All individuals who submit an  application for membership will receive written notification of their acceptance or rejection. Individuals who do not meet the current demographic needs of the Planning Council will be  notified that their application will be placed on hold until an appropriate slot develops. 

2.1.2 Planning Council Orientation 

Each newly appointed Planning Council member will be required to attend a mandatory Planning  Council orientation within twelve months of application, either before or after submitting a complete  application.  

2.1.3 Acceptance and Acknowledgment of Planning Council Bylaws 

Each Planning Council member or prospective member will sign a document acknowledging receipt of  bylaws. 

2.1.4 Non-Planning Council Member Committee Appointments

Individuals can become members of Standing Committees and not be Planning Council  members. They must meet the following requirements in the following order within six months of  expressing interest.  

  1. Submission of a completed committee membership application and a signed  conflict-of-interest form to the Planning Council support staff. 
  2. After applying for membership in a committee, attendance at least three meetings  of said committee. 
  3. Approval as Committee member by the chosen committee’s Chair, Vice Chair, and  the Membership and Bylaws Committee. 
  4. Non-Planning Council members cannot become members of the Membership and  Committee. 

2.2 General Leave 

2.2.1 Leave of Absence  

A leave of absence is requested by written notice to the Planning Council Chair/Vice-Chair and  then referred to the Membership and Bylaws Committee. A leave of absence may not be less  than one month and may not exceed four months. No more than one leave during any twelve month period will be granted. Persons not returning at the end of four months will be  considered to have resigned. A leave of absence shall be granted without restriction, and the  number for the quorum will be adjusted. 

2.2.2 Resignation 

A member shall have the responsibility of notifying the Planning Council Chair/Vice-Chair of  their resignation in writing. This is then referred to the Membership and Bylaws Committee for  processing. Individuals are encouraged to consider the adequate representation of the  constituency when deciding between a leave of absence and resignation. 

2.2.3 Termination 

Members may be terminated from the Planning Council for a total of three consecutive  absences or four total absences in any grant years (Mar 1st – Feb 28th). A Planning Council  member may be terminated by the Freeholder Director upon recommendation of the Planning  Council Membership and Bylaws Committee. A termination may be declared under the  following circumstances: 

  1. A member resigns from the Council; 
  2. A member violates the attendance requirements; 
  3. Death of a member; 
  4. A member is removed for probable cause per established Code of Conduct; e. A member violates the Conflict of Interest policy. 

2.3 Composition of Council 

2.3.1 As specified by the Ryan White legislation, Planning Council membership must: a. Reflect the demographics of HIV/AIDS in the TGA;

  1. Reflect a broad range of individuals, including persons infected/affected with HIV  and AIDS; 
  2. Include person(s) who are willing to self-disclose about their HIV+ status;  d. Give priority to individuals of the infected community with the goal of  maintaining 33 percent non-affiliated consumers who have received a service funded by Ryan White Part A within 12 months prior to their appointment. 

2.4. Term  

The term of office for each Council member shall begin on the date designated by the  Middlesex County Freeholder Director and end at the end of the second December that  elapses. 

2.4.1 Each member of the Planning Council shall be assigned a term of membership that can  last up to two years. Members cannot serve more than three consecutive terms and  must take a year off to be eligible for reappointment by the Freeholder Director.  Unaffiliated members can serve indefinitely, but must be formally reappointed every  two years.  

2.4.2 Persons interested in serving a subsequent term must express their interest verbally or  in writing to the Membership and Bylaws Committee and be recommended by the  Membership and Bylaws Committee to the Council for approval within two months prior  to the end of their term. 

2.5 Compensation 

Persons serving as members of the Council shall not receive any salary or other compensation from  Support Staff for their attendance and services at Council meetings. This prohibition does not  apply to unaffiliated consumers, who require assistance with transportation to meetings or assistance  with parking fees related to attending meetings.  

2.6 Code of Conduct 

Every attendee is expected to adhere to the following Code of Conduct: 

2.6.1 All attendees shall be treated with courtesy and respect. 

2.6.2 There will be no personal attacks on anyone; disagreements will focus on issues, not  upon individuals. 

2.6.3 Once decisions are made by majority vote, every attendee will support the decision,  regardless of their personal position. 

2.6.4 Planning Council is not a forum to discuss specific provider related issues or to address  specific providers. 

2.6.5 Information presented in confidence will be held in confidence and not discussed  outside the meeting. 

2.6.6 All members will speak positively about the planning body in public; problems will be  addressed within the group, not with outsiders.

2.6.7 Attendees will behave in a manner that reflects recognition of their responsibility to  present and consider the concerns of specific communities, or population groups, while  considering the overall needs of people living with HIV, and act on their behalf, not to  benefit themselves. 

2.6.8 No member may speak on behalf of or represent a position of the Council without the  express permission of the Chair/Co-Chair or the full Council. 

2.6.9 No member shall solicit business, potential customers, or use the Planning Council to  promote, advertise, or sell their products or services. Exceptions are at the discretion of  the Planning Council. 

2.6.10 Any member who feels they cannot support the mission, goals, strategies, programs,  and/or leadership of the planning body as agreed upon by the members should resign from  the planning body. 

2.6.11 At all times, members shall be aware of and adhere to all local, state, and federal laws  and regulations.

ARTICLE III

Duties of the Council

The duty of the Council is to ensure the implementation of its purpose as set forth in these  bylaws and to carry out those responsibilities as prescribed by the provisions of the Act with  specific attention to the following activities: 

3.1 Duties 

The following language is taken directly from the HRSA compilation of the Ryan White CARE Act  of 1990 and the amendments of 1995, 2000, and 2006; these duties are still in effect under the  Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009. 

3.1.1 “Determine the size and demographics of the populations of individuals with HIV  disease with particular attention to: 

  1. Individuals with HIV disease who know their HIV status and are not receiving  HIV-related services; and 
  2. Disparities in access and services among affected subpopulations and historically underserved communities; 

3.1.2 “Establish priorities for the allocation of funds within the eligible area, including how best to  meet each such priority and additional factors that the grantee should consider in allocating  funds under a grant based on the: 

  1. Size and demographics of the population of individuals with HIV disease (as  determined under subparagraph [A]) and the needs of such populations (as  determined under subparagraph [B]); 
  2. Demonstrated (or probable) cost effectiveness and outcome effectiveness of proposed  strategies and interventions, to the extent that data [are] reasonably available; c. Priorities of the communities with HIV disease for whom the services are  intended;

Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon HIV Services Planning Council Planning Council Bylaws 

  1. Coordination in the provision of services to such individuals with programs for  HIV prevention and for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including  programs that provide comprehensive treatment for such abuse; 
  2. Availability of other governmental and non-governmental resources, including  the State Medicaid plan under Title XDC of the Social Security Act and the State  Children’s Health Program under Title XXI of such Act to cover health-care costs of  eligible individuals and families with HIV disease; and 
  3. Capacity-development needs resulting from disparities in the availability of HIV related services in historically underserved communities; 

3.1.3 “Develop a comprehensive plan for the organization and delivery of health and support  services described in section 2604 of the Care Act that: 

  1. Includes a strategy for identifying individuals who know their HIV status and are  not receiving such services and for informing the individuals of and enabling the  individuals to utilize the services, giving particular attention to eliminating  disparities in access and services among affected subpopulations and historically  underserved communities, and including discrete goals, a timetable, and an  appropriate allocation of funds; 
  2. Includes a strategy to coordinate the provision of such services with programs  for HIV prevention (including outreach and early intervention) and for the  prevention and treatment of substance abuse (including programs that provide  comprehensive treatment servicesfor such abuse); and 
  3. Is compatible with any state and local plan for the provision of services to  individuals with HIV disease; 

3.1.4 Assess the efficiency of the administrative mechanism in rapidly allocating funds to the  areas of greatest need within the eligible area, and at the discretion of the Planning  Council, assess the effectiveness, either directly or through contractual arrangements,  of the services offered in meeting the identified needs; 

3.1.5 Participate in the development of the statewide coordinated statement of need  initiated by the state public health agency responsible for administering grants under  Part B. 

3.1.6 Establish methods for obtaining input on community needs and priorities that may  include public meetings (in accordance with paragraph [7] public deliberations),  conducting focus groups, and convening ad hoc panels; and 

3.1.7 Coordinate with federal grantees that provide HIV-related services within the  transitional grant area.

ARTICLE IV

Officers and Membership

4.1 Officers 

The Officers of the Council shall be: 

4.1.1 Chairperson, hereinafter referred to as the Chair; and 

4.1.2 Vice Chairperson, hereinafter referred to as the Vice Chair 

4.2 Eligibility for Offices 

Eligibility for offices is as follows: 

4.2.1 The Council shall not elect as Chair, Vice-Chair, or Membership Committee Chair an  employee or representative of the grantee or the fiscal agency. Whenever possible, the  Council shall not fill both Chair and Vice Chair offices with representatives or employees of  recipient agencies of Ryan White Part A funds. If the Chair is a representative or employee of a  Ryan White Part A recipient agency, it is preferable that the Vice Chair be unaffiliated, without  a potential conflict of interest. 

4.2.2 Planning Council members seeking the offices of Planning Council Chair must: a. Have an understanding of Planning Council processes; 

  1. Have demonstrated leadership by having served as Committee Chair or Planning  Council Vice Chair; 
  2. Have participated in a priority setting and resources allocation; and 
  3. Be in good standing with regard to meeting attendance requirements for  Planning Council and primary committee meetings. 

4.2.3 Planning Council members seeking the offices of Planning Council Vice Chair must: a. Have an understanding of Planning Council processes; 

  1. Have participated in a priority setting and resource allocation; 
  2. Be in good standing with regard to meeting attendance requirements for  Planning Council and primary committee meetings.  

4.2.4 Planning Council members seeking the office of Membership and Bylaws Committee  must: 

  1. Have an understanding of Planning Council processes; 
  2. Have been a member of the Membership and Bylaws Committee for at least six  months; 
  3. Be in good standing with regard to meeting attendance requirements for  Planning Council and primary committee meetings.

4.3 Duties for Officers 

The Officers of the Council shall have the responsibility for the performance of the following  duties: 

4.3.1 The Chair must be a duly appointed member of the Council and shall have the following  duties: 

  1. Preside at all meetings at the Council; 
  2. Sign off on instruments and correspondence, which the Council has authorized  to be executed and certify approved minutes of Planning Council meetings; c. Upon recommendation of the Planning Council: appoint committees, fill  vacancies, change the membership, and/or discharge any such committee; d. In general, perform such duties as are normally performed by a Chair of an  organization or such other duties as the Council may prescribe from time to  time; 
  3. Assign a member to a committee should the said member fail to select a  committee; 
  4. Represent the positions of the Planning Council; 
  5. Represent the will of the body in emerging situations at which the Planning  Council and Executive Committee are unable to convene and discuss. 

4.3.2 The Vice Chair: 

  1. Must be a duly appointed member of the Council;  
  2. Chair the Executive Committee;  
  3. Shall serve in the capacity of the Chair in the absence of the Chair of the Council  or upon request of the Chair 

4.3.3 The Membership and Bylaws Committee Chair and members of the committee must be  duly appointed members of the Council. The Membership and Bylaws Committee Chair shall have the following responsibilities: 

  1. Oversee the creation of a mechanism for the recruitment of candidates for  Council membership; 
  2. Ensure that applications from each candidate are screened; 
  3. Ensure committee compliance with Article V, Section 5.5 of the Bylaws; d. Serve as interim Council Chair in the absence of the Chair and Vice Chair or upon  request of the Chair and Vice Chair, and serve as interim Council Vice Chair in the  absence of the Chair; 
  4. Ensure conflict of interest disclosures are complete and current for all Planning  Council and committee members. 

4.4 Order for Chairing Meetings of the Planning Council and Executive Committee 

4.4.1 The elected Chair shall preside at all Planning Council meetings. The elected Vice Chair shall preside at all Executive Committee meetings. The single exception to this order shall  occur when the Executive Committee is meeting concerning any phase of an internal complaint or grievance and the Vice Chair is a named principle in the complaint; in which  case, the Chair will chair the meeting, and the Membership and Bylaws committee Chair will serve as Vice Chair. 

4.4.2 In the absence of the Vice Chair, or upon request of the Vice Chair, the Chair shall preside, and the Chair of the Membership and Bylaws Committee shall serve as interim Vice Chair. The  Chair may preside until the next scheduled annual election or until a special election,  whichever comes first. A special election to replace an absent Vice Chair is not mandated, but  the Chair may request one. 

4.4.3 In the extended absence (beyond two consecutive meetings) of the Planning Council Chair,  the Vice Chairshall assume the position of interim Chair and the Membership and Bylaws Committee Chair will become the interim Vice Chair until the next scheduled election, if said  election is scheduled to occur within the next three months. The Executive Committee will  consider the circumstances of the extended absence and choose to call a special election to  replace the Chair when the absence is beyond three consecutive meetings and the next  planned election is scheduled beyond the next three months. 

4.4.4 In the absence of both the Chair and Vice Chair, or upon their request, the Chair of the  Membership and Bylaws Committee shall preside. 

4.4.5 In the extended absence (beyond two consecutive meetings) of both the Chair and Vice Chair,  the Chair of the Membership and Bylaws Committee shall assume the position of Chair and  the Executive Committee will appoint one of its non-conflicted members as interim Vice Chair.  In the event that the simultaneous absences of both the elected Council Chair and Vice Chair exceed or are expected to exceed three consecutive months, the Executive Committee shall  plan for a special election to replace the Chair and Vice Chair. Said election isto occur no later  than three months following the Executive Committee’s determination that the Chair and  Vice Chair will simultaneously be absent for more than three consecutive months. 

4.4 Election for Officers 

4.4.1 The Chair and Vice Chair shall be the officers of the Council and shall be elected by a  majority vote of the Council. The Chair and Vice Chair must be elected annually. The  nominations for Officers shall take place in January and be voted on in February.  

4.4.2 The term of these offices shall be for one year from March through February, serving no  more than two consecutive terms. A Planning Council member must take one year off  from Chairing Planning Council once they have completed two terms. A member shall be  eligible for nomination as Chair again after one year has elapsed. 

4.5 Filling Vacancies of Elected Officers 

4.5.1 Should the Chair, Vice Chair, or Membership and Bylaws Committee Chair become  incapacitated or for some other reason be unable to carry out the duties and responsibilities of  their elected office, the remaining elected officers will make a joint recommendation to the  Executive Committee to declare that position vacant. The Chair may make an interim  appointment when the next regular election is within three months. The Chair or presiding  officer shall call a special election to fill the vacant elected office when the next regular  election is beyond three months from the date of the vacancy. 

4.6 Immediate Past Chair of the Planning Council 

4.6.1 If the immediate past Chair is a current Planning Council member, they will continue to  have all the prerogatives and responsibilities of any Council member as well as the special responsibilities as identified in this section and/or by the sitting Council Chair, including but not limited to serving as a technical resource, as a historical resource, and assuming  other duties as requested by the current Chair. 

4.6.2 In the event that the immediate past Chair is no longer a Council member, they will be asked to continue to serve as a technical resource, as a historical resource, and assume other  duties as requested by the current Chair

ARTICLE V

Executive Committee, Standing and Other Committees

5.1 Composition of Executive Committee 

5.1.1 The Executive Committee shall, whenever possible be composed of the following persons: a. Planning Council Chair; 

  1. Planning Council Vice Chair, who will serve as Chair of the Executive Committee;  if the order of succession, described in Section 4.5, cannot be followed, the  Executive Committee shall select one of its non-conflicted members to conduct  the meeting; 
  2. Chairs or representatives of each standing committee (Our Voices ‘Client Caucus’ Committee, Membership and Bylaws Committee, Watch Dogs Committee, and  Service Standards and Integrated Care Committee; 
  3. Part A, representative of the Middlesex County Department of Human Services; e. Ad hoc committee Chair(s); 
  4. A minimum of two HIV-positive individuals, recommended by the Our Voices committee as members at large, if no other members of the Executive  

Committee are living with HIV; and;

  1. Consumer Liaison for Quality, who shall also sit on Our Voices “Client Caucus”  and the Consumer Quality Workgroup. 

5.1.1 Other representatives, for example from organizations involved with Part C, Part D, and  prevention, may be asked to report at Executive Committee meetings as needed, though not  as members of the committee. 

5.1.2 Each standing committee must have a representative attending the Executive  Committee. For voting, no person may represent two standing committees at the Executive  Committee. Each standing committee shall have only one vote. Members at large have  one vote each.  

5.2 Scope of Executive Committee Responsibilities 

5.2.1 The Executive Committee shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Council in the  event of any emergency that does not permit a special Council meeting to be called. All  actions of the Executive Committee are subject to ratification by the Council at its next  regular meeting. 

5.2.2 The Executive Committee is responsible for setting the agenda for full Council meetings  and conducting business on an emergency basis. 

5.2.3 The Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing the general activities and overall  functioning of the Planning Council committees. 

5.2.4 The Executive Committee is responsible for reviewing complaints that arise from within  the Council, or from the community, regarding the conduct of a Planning Council member.  Such complaints shall be thoroughly reviewed. The Executive Committee shall determine  the appropriate resolution of all such complaints, up to and including the recommendation  to the Freeholder Director for removal of the member. In the absence of the Council Chair and Vice Chair, the Chair of the Membership and Bylaws Committee will serve as Chair of the  Executive Committee for all actions regarding conduct of a Planning Council member. 

5.2.5 The Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing all grievance- and conflict-of interest-related matters and shall serve or designate an individual or group of Planning  Council members to serve as overseer of the grievance process, with duties including: 

  1. Developing policies and procedures for resolution of grievances levied against the  Council and other entities deemed applicable to Council prerogatives; 
  2. Defining appropriate grievance criteria;  
  3. Ensuring that any grievance filed with the Council follows established procedures; 
  4. Making appropriate referrals for grievances outside the purview of the Council;
  5. Reviewing and, if appropriate, revising the conflict-of-interest policy and making recommendations to the Council; 
  6. Establishing compliance standards, subject to Council approval; 
  7. Providing clarification of conflict-of-interest policy for Council members on an as-needed basis; 
  8. Establishing procedures for reviewing and responding to conflict-of-interest  complaints and, as appropriate, making recommendations to the Council; and i. Ensuring conflict-of-interest disclosure forms are filed with the Planning Council  support office 

5.2.6 As described in sections 4.5.4 and 4.5.5, the Chair of the Membership and Bylaws Committee  shall serve as Chair of the Council in the absence of the Council’s Chair and Vice Chair.  When (1) such a substitution is for a period that includes more than one Council  meeting and (2) the Membership and Bylaws Committee Chair is a representative of or  employee of a Ryan White Part A recipient agency (or cannot attend all of the Council  meetings), the Executive Committee shall appoint one of its nonaffiliated members to serve  as Council Vice Chair. 

5.2.7 The Executive Committee is responsible for reviewing the work of committees and  assessing its readiness to be moved to the Council floor.  

5.2.8 The Executive Committee provides guidance to committees with Council business that  requires further committee review prior to reaching the Planning Council floor. 

5.3 Standing Committees 

All committees will make every effort to have representation from the affected/infected  community and to include the same proportional representation as is reflective of the general  membership of the Council. 

5.3.1 Where appropriate, a standing committee shall develop its area of responsibility to  include the following:  

  1. Identifying existing gaps in services and the formulation of a list of priority  services within its specific service area; 
  2. Creating a plan for the facilitation of the delivery of those priority services to the  TGA for individuals infected by HIV infection and/or AIDS: 
  3. Creating a comprehensive report to the Executive Committee detailing the  findings in items 5.3.1(a) and (b), above; 
  4. Scheduling meetings to develop the requirements listed in 5.3.1(a), (b) and (c),  above; and 
  5. Developing and enhancing performance standards, including quality assurance criteria within specific areas. 

5.3.2 The standing committees shall make recommendations and reports to the full Council  and provide technical assistance where/when needed.

5.3.3 The standing committees are: 

  1. Service Standards and Integrated Care Committee with duties including: i. Developing/enhancing performance standards of care for all core medical and support service categories;  
  2. Assessing trends in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and addressing the trends in  planning for core and support services; 

iii. Working to identify future subpopulations to study and analyze in the  annual needs assessment; 

  1. Planning and supervising the Council’s needs assessment activities, by: 1. Collecting, analyzing and reporting epidemiological and other data  

related to the TGA to identify trends and needs; 

  1. Identifying partners and resources in the community as necessary  

to help develop a comprehensive assessment of need each year; 

  1. Reporting data to the Planning Council and relevant committees,  

as needed by planners; and 

  1. Overseeing needs assessment activities in order to present data in  

time for priority setting and allocation of funds. 

  1. Watch Dogs Committee, with duties including: 
  2. Developing and implementing procedures to assess the administrative  mechanism, which is the grantee’s process of allocating funds to the  areas of greatest need in the TGA; 
  3. Monitoring the expenditure of service delivery and making recommendations on the reallocation of Part A and MAI funds to the  Planning Council; 

iii. Reviewing mechanisms for routinely monitoring how well funded services  respond to the needs of HIV-positive individuals and families; 

  1. Reviewing and evaluating how grant funds are expended through various  methods including client-satisfaction surveys for all funded services; 
  2. Assisting in the development of a quality-assurance mechanism for funded  services based upon performance standards of care established by the  Council;  
  3. Assisting the grantee in developing units of service, unit costs and cost outcome effectiveness;  

vii. Assisting in the development of a quality-assurance mechanism for  funded services based upon performance standards established by the  Council; and 

viii. Monitoring the expenditure of service delivery and making  recommendations on the reallocation and carryover of Part A and MAI  funds to the Planning Council. 

  1. Membership and Bylaws Committee, with duties including: 
  2. Identifying and recruiting qualified candidates to be recommended for  membership to the Council; 
  3. Recommending criteria for selection of new members; 

iii. Providing orientation to new members; 

  1. Analyzing regularly the attendance of members at Council and committee  meetings; 
  2. Consulting with members who are not attending regularly or fail to  attend the minimum number of Council meetings; 
  3. Presenting nominations of prospective Planning Council members;  

vii. Tracking committee member attendance; and  

viii. Create, develop, and review bylaws to reflect current operating needs of  the Planning Council. 

  1. Our Voices “Client Caucus” Committee.  
  2. One purpose of this committee is to empower the PLWH/As of the Planning  Council with the ability to assume leadership roles and participate in a  meaningful manner at all levels of the Council’s decision-making process  in the delivery of services to the infected/affected communities by:  
  3. Sharing current information on medical, psychosocial, financial, legal and  other HIV-related issues; 

iii. Providing input for the comprehensive plan in relation to priority of  service needs of the affected community, as relayed by community input and  involvement; 

  1. Assisting in the development of a needs assessment process; and 
  2. Providing input in the priority-setting process and strategies for educating the community about the Ryan White CARE Act and Planning Council  activities. 

5.4 Election of Committee Chairs 

Each standing committee, with the exception of the Executive Committee, shall recommend a  Chair and Vice Chair from its eligible membership to the Planning Council generally following  the election of the incoming leadership of the overall Council. The Chair of each Standing  Committee can serve up to two one-year terms. They must be elected annually. A Planning  Council member must take one year off from Chairing the Standing Committee once they have completed two terms. A member shall be eligible for nomination as Chair again after one year has  lapsed. Generally, committee Chairs will be nominated in January and voted on in February.  

Eligibility for Committee Chair: to be Committee Chair, one must be a Planning Council  member and a Committee member in good standing for at least six months prior to  being elected as Committee Chair. To be a Committee Vice-Chair, one must be a  Planning Council member and a Committee member in good standing for at least three months prior to being elected as Committee Vice-Chair. Serving as Chair or Vice Chair on  any Committee makes one eligible to be elected as Chair or Vice Chair for any other 

Committee that they are currently or have prior been a member of so long as they are a  member in good standing at the Planning Council. 

5.5 Standing Committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs 

The standing committee Chairs or Vice-Chairs shall preside at all meetings of their respective  committees. The standing committee Chairs or Vice-Chairs are responsible for the execution of the  duties prescribed herein for the standing committees and for such other duties as may be  prescribed by the Chair of the Council, or the Council, from time to time. The standing  committee Chairs or Vice-Chairs are responsible for ensuring that minutes of all meetings are  taken and delivered to the Planning Council. The standing committee Chairs or Vice-Chairs shall  be responsible for reporting Planning Council committee members’ lack of attendance at  committee meetings to the Membership and Bylaws Committee. Standing Chairs or Vice-Chairs  are also responsible for ensuring that all sides presented are done in a fair manner and thoroughly  discussed and the decisions from that discussion are reflected in the minutes. At the discretion of  the committee, Chairs or Vice-Chairs may present the affirming or dissenting sides of a  contentious issue at the Executive Committee meeting. 

5.6. Ad Hoc Committees (Work Groups) 

The Chair of the Council, upon recommendation of or concurrence of the full Council, may from time  to time establish other committees or groups deemed expedient or necessary to carry out the  duties and responsibilities of the Council. Minutes of these work-group/task-group meetings must  be taken and forwarded to the Planning Council. 

5.7 Dissolving Committees 

5.7.1 The Planning Council, at its discretion, may merge, subsume or dissolve any committee,  task group, or work group. 

5.7.2 The Council may elect to take such actions referred to in section 5.7.1 when: 1) changes occur in federal legislation,  

2) changes occur in grant award reductions, and  

3) changes occur in state or local policies that directly affect Council activities;  such changes may also be made when: 

4) making such changes would make Council processes and/or procedures more  effective or efficient and improve outcomes based on better resource  management (e.g. cost savings, use of volunteer or support), or 

5) opportunities arise to improve the quality of Council deliverables

ARTICLE VI

Regular Meetings, Special Meetings and Notice

6.1 Regular Meetings 

All meetings of the Planning Council shall be open to the public except the Our Voices Client Caucus  meetings, which is only open to the public for the first ½ hour. Executive Committee or Planning

Council meetings, or portions thereof, may be closed when dealing with issues of attendance or  disciplinary actions, at the discretion of the Chair of said meeting. Regularly scheduled meetings of  the Council shall be held no less than monthly at such times as the Council shall designate. Notice  of regular meetings shall be given no fewer than five business days prior to such regular meeting. Any  member of the public who is not a member of the Council may address the Council (under public  forum) on any matter with the permission of the Council Chair. Each speaker is limited to no more  than five minutes, unless otherwise stipulated by the Chair. 

6.2 Meeting Definitions and Participation Parameters 

A formal, regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Council or Standing Committee.  Individuals should participate in person whenever possible. Individuals who have a medical  need or a personal/professional hardship can participate via telephone or other real-time  electronic means. An individual must have all meeting materials before them in order to vote. 

6.3 Special Meetings 

Special meetings of the Council shall be held at such times and places as shall be designated by the  Chair. Notice of special meetings shall be given no fewer than three business days prior to such  meeting.  

6.4 Notice 

Notice of regular meetings shall be given in writing, whether in hard copy, e-mail or Internetsite  format. Notice of special meetings may be given telephonically or by facsimile. 

6.5 Procedure 

The rules of parliamentary practice, as set forth in Robert’s Rules of Order, revised1, shall be the  parliamentary authority for matters not specifically covered in these bylaws and shall govern all  meetings of the Council except as otherwise provided. The Chair will establish procedures for  the discussion during meetings, and may limit the length of individual presentations and, with the  guidance of Robert’s Rules of Order, set reasonable time limits on debate. A parliamentarian or  timekeeper may be selected to assist with this process. 

6.6 Order of Business 

The order of business of any Planning Council Meeting shall be as follows: 

7.2.1 Planning Council Meetings 

  1. Sunshine Law 
  2. Introductions 

III. Reading of Mission Statement/Moment of Silence 

1See for example Henry M. Robert, 1977 [1893]. Robert’s Rules of Order, New York, N.Y.; Jove Books. Also, Doris  P. Zimmerman, 1997. Robert’s Rules in Plain English: An Authoritative, Easy-to-Use Guide to Running Meetings, 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: Harper Perennia.

  1. Roll Call of Voting Members 
  2. Approval of Minutes from prior meeting (Quorum to Approve) 
  3. Approval of Agenda (Quorum of Approve) 

VII. Action Items 

VIII. Administrative Agent Report 

  1. Committee Reports 
  2. Case Management Coordination Update 
  3. Old Business 

XII. New Business 

XIII. Announcements/Agency Updates 

XIV. Public Forum 

  1. Adjournment 

7.2.2 Committee Meetings 

  1. Introductions 
  2. Roll Call 

III. Old Business 

  1. New Business 
  2. Announcements 
  3. Adjournment 

6.7 Minutes 

Minutes must be taken of each Council and committee meeting. These minutes must state the names  of all in attendance and the names of members absent, except for Our Voices, where non-members  do not have to be listed if they do not want to be. Minutes must state all motions, recommendations, requests, or action items fully. Minutes must also indicate any votes taken with yeas, nays, and  abstentions indicated. The Council will make certified minutes available to the public within two weeks  of approval. Any member of the public shall be able to access a copy of any set of minutes on the  Planning Council website. Any Council or committee member wishing to propose corrections to the  minutes shall propose corrections at the meeting at which the minutes are subject to approval.

ARTICLE VII

Quorum, Voting and Attendance

7.1 Quorum 

A quorum of the Council must be present at any regular or specially scheduled meeting in order for  the Council to engage in formal decision making. A quorum of the Council is defined as a simple majority (51 percent) of the Planning Council membership present during the vote. In computing  a quorum, vacant seats on the Council shall not be considered, nor individuals on a Leave of Absence. A  simple majority (51 percent) of the committee membership must be present or on conference call to  make recommendations or take a vote.

7.2 Voting 

All voting should adhere to the quorum requirements of the meeting. If quorum is not met  within two meetings, mail and email voting can take place. If a vote is required when quorum  could not be achieved, mail and email voting can take place so long as every member can  participate without any undue hardship. 

7.2.1 Each member of the Council shall be entitled to one vote on any business matter coming  before the Council. Only members of the Council are entitled to vote on matters coming  before Council. 

7.2.2 Abstentions are not a vote and do not count as a vote. 

7.2.3 The individual facilitating the meeting is only allowed to vote on a motion in the case of  a tie. 

7.2.4 Any member who has a conflict of interest as defined in Article XI, Section 11.3 shall  disclose said conflict and shall abstain from voting on all matters in which the individual  ha a conflict of interest as defined in section 10.3 and other policies promulgated by the  Council. 

7.2.5 Planning Council members need to be in good standing with attendance and have an  adequate understanding of data and information in order to vote at any Planning Council meeting. A Planning Council member is required to attend the data information  session in order to vote in the annual Priority and Allocations process. 

7.2.6 Standing Committee members need to have attended at least one prior Standing  Committee meeting in order to vote on Committee business. 

7.2.7 Decision making shall be determined by majority rule. 

7.3 Directives 

The Planning Council may develop directives to provide guidance to the Administrative  Agent/Grantee. Directives can only come from the Planning Council to the Administrative Agent  and cannot be between Standing Committees. A Standing Committee can recommend a  directive to the Planning Council, who can approve it. 

7.4 Attendance at Planning Council Meetings 

Planning Council members are expected to attend all Planning Council meetings. Attendance at a  meeting is defined as being present for at least 50% of the time the meeting is scheduled to  run.

7.5 Attendance and Removal 

7.5.1 Any Planning Council member who misses any regularly scheduled Planning Council  meeting will be considered absent. Planning Council Support will work with the  Membership and Bylaws Committee to track attendance of members at Planning  Council meetings. 

7.5.2 Any Planning Council member who incurs three consecutive absences or four total  absences in any grant year (Mar 1st – Feb 28th) will be considered to have resigned.  Planning Council members who are unaffiliated consumers who incur three consecutive  absences or five total absences in any grant year (Mar 1st – Feb 28th) will be considered  to have resigned. 

7.5.3 The Planning Council member will be sent a warning letter from the Chair of the Membership  and Bylaws Committee when they are about to exceed their allowable absences that any  further absences may constitute grounds for dismissal. 

The Membership and Bylaws Chair and Vice Chair or a designee of the Chair who is a  Planning Council member will discuss the attendance violation with the person whose  attendance has put them in jeopardy of dismissal prior to next month’s Planning Council  meeting. They will forward their recommendation for dismissal to Planning Council Staff  who will forward it to the Freeholder Director.  

7.5.4 Council members may also be recommended for removal from the Council when they  violate the conflict-of-interest policy (see Article XI, Section 11.3, “Conflict of Interest” or  section 2.6, “Code of Conduct”). 

7.5.5 Appeals to remain on Planning Council should be made in writing to the Executive  Committee. 

7.6 Standing Committee Attendance of Planning Council Members 

Participation on at least one standing committee is required of each Council member. (Refer to  Article I, section 1.3.24 for definition of “primary committee.”) 

7.6.1 Each newly appointed Planning Council member will be asked by the Membership and  Bylaws Committee to sign up for a standing committee prior to formal appointment to  Planning Council. A member can, at any time, change their standing committee by notifying in  writing the Committee Chair, Membership and Bylaws Committee, and Planning Council Staff  of their intention to resign from and/or join a committee. 

7.6.2 Attendance at a meeting is defined as being present for at least 50% of the time the  meeting is scheduled to run. Attendance will be recorded at each committee meeting.  The Planning Council staff and Committee Chairs will work with the Membership and  Bylaws Committee to track attendance.

7.7 Committee Attendance of Planning Council Members 

7.7.1 Any Planning Council member who incurs three consecutive absences or four total  absences in any grant year (March 1st – February 28th) will be considered to have  resigned. Committee attendance policy only applies to regularly scheduled meetings,  not workgroup meetings. 

7.7.2 Planning Council member will be sent a warning letter after two consecutive or two  total absences from the Chair of the Membership and Bylaws Committee to alert them  that they are in jeopardy of exceeding their allowable absences. After three consecutive  or four total absences, the member will be considered to have resigned.

ARTICLE VIII

8.1 The Council may enact and from time to time, amend its bylaws by a two-thirds majority  vote of the appointed members of the Council. 

8.2 All members of the Council shall be given a copy of the Bylaws upon appointment to the  Council. 

8.3 Any proposed amendments to the Bylaws presented to the Council, shall be considered  for adoption at the Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting, or as soon as possible,  thereafter.

ARTICLE IX

Collaboration between CEO, Grantee and Planning Council

9.1 Administration of Funds 

The Middlesex County Freeholder Director shall designate an agency charged with the  administration and distribution of any funds granted to the transitional grant area under the  Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, Part A and MAI grant awards. The  Administrative Agent is responsible for the collection and dissemination of periodic reports  (programmatic and fiscal) to the Council on the administration and distribution of the funds granted  to the TGA under the Act. 

9.2. Council Review of Funding 

The Council is responsible for a regular review of the administration and distribution of funds  granted to the TGA. The Council shall perform such duties as may be required by the Act or any  regulation promulgated therein. The Council authorizes the Grantee to reallocate up to 20% of  unspent funds with a maximum of up to $50,000 of total unspent funds in a given service  category after the first 6-months of the fiscal year. The Grantee must report all reallocations to  the Planning Council.

ARTICLE X

Non-Discrimination

Except as outlined by the federally mandated categories, the officers, directors, employees and  committee members of the Council shall be selected entirely on a non-discriminatory basis with  respect to age, sex, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, HIV status or national origin.

ARTICLE XI

Grievance, Grievance Procedures and Conflict of Interest

11.1 Grievances, Grievance Procedures 

The Council has procedures for addressing grievances with respect to funding under this part  section, including procedures for submitting grievances and successive stages of the process up to  binding arbitration. These procedures are consistent with state and local laws (also see Article V,  Section 5.2.4 for those duties of the Executive Committee related to grievances and Appendix I,  “Grievance Procedures”). 

11.1.1 For purposes of these bylaws, a grievance is a formal expression of dissatisfaction, in  writing, about some aspect of the Planning Council’s processes, decisions that were  implemented or other Council actions or activities, which is brought to the attention of  the Planning Council’s administrative designee as having some responsibility for receiving  grievances. Dissatisfaction with or among Planning Council members will follow the  internal complaint process (Section 11.2) before being considered under grievance  procedures. The grievance must be in writing in order to be considered by the Executive  Committee. 

11.1.2 A grievance procedure is a formal, structured mechanism, which enables an individual or  entity to express dissatisfaction about some aspect of the Planning Council’s processes,  decisions that were implemented or other Council actions or activities, to the Planning  Council’s administrative designee, in writing, a fair and impartial assessment and decision  regarding the complaint. 

11.2 Internal Complaint 

Complaints or issues regarding the conduct of individual Planning Council members shall follow such  policies and procedures as the Council may from time to time establish. The Executive Committee  shall have the responsibility of ensuring that all such issues or complaints are managed in accordance  with the established procedures and are resolved. The Executive Committee shall have authority to  carry out such actions as are deemed, by it, to be appropriate to resolve the complaint up to and  including a recommendation to the Freeholder Director requesting removal of a member. Due to the  confidential nature of such complaints, these matters shall not be presented to the full Council at an  open meeting. Dissatisfaction with or among Planning Council members will follow the internal  complaint process (see appendices) before being considered under grievance procedure.

11.3 Conflict of Interest 

The Council has established a conflict-of-interest policy which is enforceable and consistent with state  and local laws (also see Article V, Section 5.2.4, for those duties of the Executive Committee related  to conflict of interest). 

11.3.1 For purposes of these bylaws, a conflict of interest is an actual or perceived interest, financial  or otherwise, by a member in an action which results, or has the appearance of resulting, in  personal, organizational (programmatic and service category), or professional gain. Actual bias  or the appearance thereof in the decision-making process is based upon the dual role of a member who, in addition to serving on the Council, may be affiliated with other organizations,  either as an employee, a consultant, an employer, a member, or in some other (decision making) capacity. 

11.3.2 At the time of a proposed vote on any matter, a “financial interest” in a service category is  defined as the receipt of any combination of stipends, honoraria, gifts, wages, salaries or any  other payment with a total value in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) from one or any  combination of service providers within said service category over a period either (1) from the  date of the proposed vote back to the time of the ratification of this clause or (2) from the date  of the proposed vote back over the previous 12 months, whichever is shorter. Payments  received before the ratification of this clause will not be considered a conflict of interest. 

11.3.3 A member may serve on the Planning Council only if the individual agrees that, if they have a  financial interest in an agency, or if they are an employee of (or serves in a decision-making  capacity upon) a private or public agency or organization, and such agency or organization is  seeking funds from a grant, that they will not participate by vote in any process of selecting  entities to receive such funds for such services or purposes. 

11.3.4 Council members will submit a completed (signed) affidavit stating that they understand and  will adhere to this policy. 

11.3.5 Additionally, the Executive Committee will establish and distribute to Planning Council  members a written statement of rules and guidelines which stipulate that a member may be  recommended for removal from the Council if they refuse to submit a conflict-of-interest form  and/or it is determined that the member knowingly included misinformation on the disclosure  form, and/or it is determined that the member attempted to influence the Council during its  deliberation in the conduct of its business while knowing it was a conflict of interest either by  misrepresentation of information and/or authority, and/or refuses to cooperate in a conflict-of-interest review. 

11.3.6 The Executive Committee is the sole and final arbiter of what constitutes an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Appendix I – Grievance Policy and Procedures

Planning Council Grievance Policy and Procedures

Policy Statement  

It shall be the policy of the Planning Council to attempt to resolve grievances regarding the  Planning Council processes through informal dispute mechanisms, including appropriate use of  Planning Council subcommittees and facilitated mediation. The Planning Council Chair, Vice Chair, Service Standards and Integrated Care Chair, Membership and Bylaws Chair, Watch Dogs Chair, Our Voices Chair, and Support Staff shall attempt to informally resolve disputes by  providing information to or arranging meetings with entities dissatisfied with adherence to  Planning Council processes. Grievants are expected to cooperate with the Planning Council in  efforts to resolve the disagreement before formal grievance procedures are pursued.  

Eligible Grievances  

A challenge to the Planning Council’s process includes a complaint on how funding priorities are  established, how needs are assessed, the comprehensive planning process, how funds are  allocated to various service categories, the voting process, the decision-making process, and  processes regarding membership. 

Eligible Grievants  

Entities directly, adversely affected by alleged deviations from Planning Council processes  related to the federal Ryan White funds. These entities are limited to:  

  • service providers eligible to receive Ryan White awarded funding  
  • infected/affected individuals  
  • non-funded providers 
  • members of the public 

Procedure  

The Planning Council Chair and Vice Chair will appoint six neutral Planning Council members to  review and determine whether an issue is a valid grievance that warrants a hearing to resolve  conflict that has arisen. Neutral Planning Council members must be free of any conflict of  interest with regard to the grievance case. This group will be the Grievance Committee. Nothing  in these procedures is to be interpreted as giving the Chair and Vice Chair the responsibility to  protect any agency, the administrative agency, or the funding process. The procedure shall be  applied in such a way as to assure a fair opportunity for presenting and resolving the complaints  and grievances of the grievant. For definitions of terms used in this document, please see the  attached list. A grievant shall not be discriminated against nor suffer retaliation as a result of  filing a grievance in good faith, nor as a result of participation in the investigation of a  grievance.  

  1. Committee Conflict of Interest  
  2. A member of the Grievance Committee must be free of an apparent conflict of  interest in order to participate in a particular grievance proceeding. If there is an  apparent conflict of interest, the members in conflict must remove themselves

from participating in the grievance procedure relating to the grieving party. The  Grievance Committee may vote to exclude a member if apparent conflicts are  raised by the grieving party.  

  1. A member has a conflict of interest if the member is affiliated with the grieving  party. Affiliation is defined as, but is not limited to, staff member, board  member, volunteer, contractor, or owner.  
  2. Representation  
  3. In exercising the rights and remedies under this grievance procedure, grievants  may present a grievance, either individually or through a representative. The  representative may assist grievants in the preparation of their written grievance  and present the grievance at the grievance hearing. However, nothing in these  procedures requires the Executive Committee to send its written responses to or  a notice on a grievance to a grievants representative rather than the grievant.  
  4. While the grievants are free to have a representative of their choice, there is no  provision for the Planning Council- to pay compensation to or reimburse the  expenses of a representative.  
  5. Grievants electing representation must designate their representative in writing  on the grievance form at the time the grievance is filed. In all cases, all parties,  including the representative, must conduct themselves in a professional manner  and afford the persons present due respect. The failure to do so shall be grounds  to terminate the grievance hearing, in which case the grievance will be decided  on the basis of the written grievance and the information obtained prior to the  termination of the hearing. Repeated or gross misconduct by an individual shall  also be grounds to disqualify that individual from participating in future  grievance hearings.  
  6. Grievance Steps  
  7. All grievances must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the occurrence that  gave rise to the grievance or within 30 calendar days of their first learning of the  occurrence if it was not reasonable for them to have had knowledge of the  occurrence. If grievants anticipate relying on the testimony of witnesses to  support their grievance, they shall list the witnesses and give a brief summary of  their testimony as an attachment to the grievance form. The grievance form is to  be used by the grievants and the Executive Committee in all grievance  procedures.  
  8. Grievants must submit the signed, completed, original grievance form to the  Planning Council Office within 30 calendar days of the occurrence giving rise to  the grievance or within 30 calendar days of their first learning of the occurrence  if it was not reasonable for them to have had knowledge of the occurrence  sooner.  
  9. When a grievance is filed against the Planning Council’s decisions or over  continuing conditions, the Planning Council Support Staff shall send a copy of the  filed grievance to the Planning Council Chair and Vice Chair, the Administrative 

Agency, and any other party named in the grievance. The steps will be conducted  as follows:  

  1. The grievance form shall be filed with the Planning Council Support Staff  within 30 calendar days of the initial occurrence.  
  2. The Planning Council Support Staff shall send a copy of the filed grievance  to the involved parties, Chair and Vice Chair of the Planning Council, and  the Administrative Agency within 10 working days of receiving the filed  grievance.  

iii. The Planning Council Chair and Vice Chair will appoint the six member  Grievance Committee to vote, and participate in the grievance process.  All six members will be neutral parties to the complaint. 

  1. After receiving the grievance, the Grievance Committee Chair shall  schedule the date for a hearing within 10 working days of receiving the  grievance and shall notify the grievant of the time and the place. There  must be a hearing by the Grievance Committee before a  recommendation for resolution is made. All efforts must be made for a  speedy resolution and of the grievance. If so noted, the Grievance  Committee will take transportation issues into consideration when  selecting a location.  
  2. Grievants may elect to present their grievance individually or to have a  representative present the grievances during the hearing.  
  3. The Grievance Committee will respond in writing to the grievance within  5 working days after the hearing.  

vii. The Grievance Committee shall recommend a resolution to the Planning  Council and the grievants.  

viii. The decision of the Grievance Committee shall be reviewed by the  Planning Council.  

  1. If, after the Planning Council acts on the recommendation by the  Grievance Committee, the grievant is dissatisfied with the action of the  Planning Council, the grievant may file an appeal to the Planning Council  within 5 working days of receiving the Planning Council’s decision.  
  2. An appeal to the Planning Council in the form of a letter must be filed  within 10 working days of the Planning Council’s action.  
  3. The Planning Council will then contact one of the pre-selected arbitrators  from the American Arbitration Association to meet with both parties. xii. The arbitrator has 5 working days after the conclusion of the arbitration  hearing to render a decision. 

xiii. The Planning Council shall act upon the arbitrator’s decision at the next  Planning Council meeting whenever possible. 

xiv. The decision of the arbitrator is final and completes the Planning  Council’s grievance procedure.

Grievance Hearing Rules of Conduct  

  1. The Grievance Committee is required to allow grievants adequate time to fully  present their issues and receive answers to their inquiries.  
  2. The grievance participants are encouraged to dialogue with one another and all  members of the Grievance Committee. The hearing is not to be set up as an  adversarial process.  
  3. The grievant or the Grievance Committee may request persons be present to  witness the proceedings, especially the Administrative Agency’s staff and Planning  Council Committee Chairs.  
  4. If witnesses are called, the witness shall be questioned while the grievance  participants are present.  

General Provisions 

  1. All of the time limits set forth in this grievance procedure may be extended by  mutual consent; however, the mutual consent must be in writing.  
  2. The grievance shall be considered closed if the Planning Council’s action on the  grievance is not appealed within the time limit or mutually agreed extension  thereof.  
  3. The Grievance Committee shall base its recommendation on the evidence presented  either at the hearing, or in the written grievance, or both.  
  4. The Grievance Committee shall have broad discretionary authority to investigate the  grievance.  

Witnesses  

  1. Grievants may send a list of requested witnesses to the Grievance Committee Chair.  The Chair is responsible for inviting the requested witnesses or representatives of  the witnesses to the hearing.  
  2. The Chair has the authority to deny a request for a witness to be present. The  grievant may raise the denial of the request at the grievance hearing for the  Grievance Committee to consider.  
  3. Planning Council members are encouraged to serve as witnesses and provide  statements for the grievant and the Grievance Committee when requested to do so.  

Confidentiality  

  1. Members of the Grievance Committee and any support staff shall sign  confidentiality statements to ensure that the information gathered in the  investigative process is held in confidence.  

Recordings  

The grievance procedure is intended to be a problem-solving process for addressing grievances.  The use of recorders in the grievance process creates a format and adverse atmosphere that is  in direct conflict with the purpose of the problem-solving approach. Recording (and reporters)  may not be used in the grievance process including. As reasonable accommodation for a  physical or mental impairment, a grievant may use a qualified interpreter or a recorder. 

Open Records  

  1. Once a grievance is filed, the grievant is entitled to review documents to support the  grievant’s claim and prepare for the hearing. The grievant must provide in writing a  list of the documents requested. The request must be sent to the Planning Council  Support Staff at which point it will be forwarded to the Chair of the Executive  Committee. The Executive Committee will coordinate the Open Records request  with the Administrative Agency.  
  2. The grievant shall be given the opportunity to review the documents requested at  the Administrative Agency’s office.  
  3. Any requests for open records must be subject to the Open Public Records Act,  N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. 

Failure to Appear  

Barring exceptional circumstances, if the grievant fails to appear without notice to the  Executive Committee at a scheduled hearing, no further action will be taken on the grievance. 

Definitions  

Grievance Committee: is a group of six neutral Planning Council members appointed by the  Planning Council Co-Chairs to resolve a dispute related to the Planning Council process. 

Grievant: is a person or entity seeking a resolution of a grievance.  

Neutral: is not being aligned with, supporting, or favoring either side. This includes being free of  any conflict of interest in the grievance or its outcome. 

Party: refers to one of the participants in the grievance process. This may include the grievant  that brings the grievance action and the person, group, or agency against which the grievance is  brought.  

Remedy: is a result sought by a grievant. It can include a process change or a reversal of a  decision 

Representative: is a person sought by the grievant to act in their place during the grievance  process. 

Disclaimer  

Under the provisions within the Ryan White Treatment Extension Act of 2009, services are  prioritized based on a 75/25 split between core services and support services. 

Appendix II – Prevention of Disputes

1.1 Dispute Prevention and Avoidance. 

Although not formally part of the grievance procedures, the Planning Council has developed  written and other internal working procedures that promote dispute avoidance. Among these  are continuous solicitation of input from service providers throughout the TGA and the  establishment of committee participation panels for the development of plans and presentations at various Council and committee meetings. Written documentation that clarifies  roles, functions and processes include: 

1.1.1 Planning Council bylaws which clearly define committee structures, conflict of interest  management processes, voting procedures, and member responsibilities; 1.1.2 A comprehensive plan defining long-term goals for the TGA based on identified needs  within the community; 

1.1.3 Procedures for identifying and recruiting qualified candidates to be recommended to  the Council; 

1.1.4 A priority-setting training manual that clearly defines procedures for priority setting and  percentage allocation of funds; 

1.1.5 Service Standards, which define one method of solicitation of input from service providers. 

Appendix III – Point of Contact 

Should a grievance arise, the following point of contact shall be established. The initial point of  contact for the potential grievant shall be a staff member within the Planning Council support  office. The staff member shall be versed in the grievance process and trained to assist the  potential grievant in completing the grievance form, direct the party to the most appropriate  process and determine whether there have been attempts to avoid the dispute. A standard  intake form will be used to assist this process. The staff member will be available for  consultation by prearranged appointment during normal business hours. 

Appendix IV – Planning Council Glossary 

The following definitions shall have the ascribed meaning when used herein, except to the  extent the context hereof clearly requires and indicates otherwise: 

Absent: is hereby defined as not being physically present in an environment or location to actively participate in Council meetings for more than half of that meeting’s scheduled time. 

Abstain: to refrain from voting. An abstention is not a vote and is not counted as a vote. When  a member has a conflict of interest in a specific vote, they must abstain in that vote. 

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS): is outlined by the current criteria established  by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in which the body’s immune system breaks down. AIDS is  defined by the current criteria established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) as the late stage of the illness triggered by infection with HIV. Further, a person receives a  diagnosis of AIDS when they have a CD4 (helper T-cell) count of less than 200 and/or has certain  opportunistic infections common with advanced immune deficiency. 

Affected: an individual or group of individuals not directly diagnosed with HIV, but who may be  family members, caregivers, or persons having various types of relationships with a person living with  HIV. 

AIDS service organization: (ASO) is defined as a health association, support agency or other  service entity involved in the prevention and treatment of AIDS. 

Committee member: a voting member of a committee. The term can refer to both Planning  Council members and non-Planning Council members. See 2.1.4 for details on how a non-PC  member can join certain committees.  

Community-based organization: (CBO) is a non-profit service organization that provides social  services at the local level. 

Conflict of interest: an actual or perceived interest by a member in an action, which could  result, or has the appearance of resulting in personal, organizational (programmatic or service category), or professional gain. Actual bias or the appearance thereof in the decision-making process is based upon the dual role of a member who, in addition to serving on the Council, may be  affiliated with other organizations either as an employee, consultant, employer, and member or  in some other (decision-making) capacity.  

Chief elected official (CEO): refers to the Freeholder Director of the County of Middlesex. Consumer: an individual living with HIV who is receiving Ryan White services. 

Directive: instructions to the Grantee from the Planning Council regarding how best to meet  specific service priorities established by the Council. Directives are defined for a specific service category.  

Directives are very specific and generally focus on one of the following: 

  1. Service models or strategies for service delivery that the Planning Council wants  to see tested or implemented widely, 
  2. PLWHA population groups that should be targeted by a service, or services, to  ensure they receive appropriate care, 
  3. Geographic areas (e.g., specific counties or zip codes) where access to services needs to improve, or 
  4. Specific barriers to care that need to be overcome, such as stigma, lack of  transportation, or lack of services on evenings or weekends.

Disclosure: is covered within the context of conflict of interest in the amended Ryan White  HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 wherein an individual may serve on the Planning  Council only if the individual agrees that, if they have a financial interest in an entity, if they are an  employee of a public or private entity or if they are a member, in a decision-making capacity, of a  public or private organization, and such entity or program is seeking funds from a grant, that they  will not, with respect to the purpose or service for which the entity seeks such amounts, participate  (directly by voting) in the process of selecting entities to receive such amounts for such purpose or  service. 

Fiscal agent or fiscal agency: the agency subcontracted by the grantee to be responsible for  executing Part A and Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) direct-service contracts and for managing  fiscal responsibilities as assigned by the Administrative Agent for vendors to provide HIV/AIDS-related  health services and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS. 

Good standing: See Bylaws, 7.5, 7.6 

Grievance: a formal expression of dissatisfaction, in writing, about some aspect of the Planning  Council’s processes, decisions that were implemented, or other Council actions or activities, which is brought to the attention of the Planning Council’s administrative designee by the  Council as having responsibility for receiving grievances. All attempts should be made to follow the  dispute prevention and avoidance policy in order to reduce the number of complaints that go to  grievance procedures. 

HIV: abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus. 

HRSA: Health Resources and Services Administration of the Public Health Service of the United  States Department of Health and Human Services. 

Independent review board (IRB): an external, independent panel established to review, analyze, and evaluate all applications for funding, and make recommendations regarding funding for each  application to the fiscal agency, which makes the final award decisions. 

Non-Planning Council member: in the context of these bylaws, defined as a committee member  who is not an appointed Planning Council member but who meets the requirements defined under “committee member”. They cannot be a member of the Membership and Bylaws Committee. 

Majority vote: is defined as at least 51%. 

Member: an individual who has been duly and lawfully recommended by the Planning Council  to the CEO and received appointment to the Council by the CEO. “Planning Council member” and “Council member” are also used in the document and are interchangeable with the term  “Member”.

Middlesex County Office of Human Services (MCOHS): oversees the Ryan White HIV/AIDS  Treatment Extension Act of 2009 for the Part A and MAI grant funds for the Middlesex-Somerset Hunterdon TGA. Part A and MAI direct-service grants are contracted through its fiscal agent. 

New Jersey HIV Planning Group (NJHPG): a collaborative formed by the New Jersey  Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), Division of HIV, STD and TB Services (DHSTS) that combines HIV Care and Treatment and HIV Prevention efforts in order to make the  best use of resources for both, while improving efficiency and effectiveness in planning in the  state of New Jersey. 

PLWH/A person living with HIV and/or AIDS.  

PLWA: person living with AIDS; PLWH: person living with HIV 

Priority Setting and Allocation: is an annual process during which Planning Council members  decide which services categories are most important to people living with HIV and then agree  on which service categories to fund and how much funding to provide (as a percentage of the  overall grant award). 

Quorum: is 51% or more of Council members. Quorum for Council committees to discuss business  is defined as a simple majority of those present. For any committee or work group or task group to  conduct business, one of its leaders must be present and at least one appointed Planning Council  member. Further, all committee members must be given notice in writing or through postings on the  web site of a scheduled committee meeting by Planning Council Support and documentation of  distribution of the meeting notice must be available. 

Recipient: is defined as the Freeholder Director of Middlesex County, acting through their designated agency, the Middlesex County Office of Human Services, to oversee the distribution and  expenditure of grant funds, monitor all Part A and MAI contracts, and ensure that the requirements of  the grant awards are met within the specified time frames and according to the HRSA and Ryan White  legislative requirements. 

RFA: the abbreviation for Request for Applications, the process by which the recipient solicits  service providers. 

Standing Committee: is defined as any one of the following committees: Executive, Membership  and Bylaws, Service Standards and Integrated Care, Our Voices, Watch Dogs, or any ad hoc  committee, task group, or work group that is projected to meet at least once every other month  according to a published annual schedule and producing work products defined by Ryan White  legislation and approved by the Planning Council. 

Sub-recipient: an organization that receives funds from the Recipient to provide services. 

Transitional Grant Area (TGA): a geographical area that has a cumulative total of  1,000 to 1,999 new AIDS cases in the last five years and a population of at least 50,000 or more.

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