CAC to meet again to finish agenda

STEUBENVILLE – A sometimes contentious meeting of the Jefferson County Community Action Council Board of Trustees ended Wednesday afternoon when the board failed to maintain a quorum after a 90-minute session

“I make a motion to adjourn this meeting because of a loss of a quorum and reschedule a trustee meeting within two weeks to deal with the remaining issues on the rest of the agenda and any other matters that may come before the board,” said Trustee Mark Ciccarelli.

The trustees still had several issues to discuss and Ciccarelli called for a special board meeting “of several hours of time to do our work.”

He also called for the board secretary to poll all of the trustees to see if they could be available for an evening meeting and asked Chief Executive Officer Barb West to contact Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci and Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla to appoint representatives to the board.

Ciccarelli said the board was “not operating as a viable nonprofit,” and said West was acting without board approval on issues.

Ciccarelli questioned two grant applications West said had a short turnaround application period, including the 2014 Home Energy Assistance Program renewal grant and the Senior Service America Inc. $149,230 grant.

West said CAC officials had participated in a telephone conference call regarding the H.E.A.P. application Tuesday and the application was due Monday.

“I would like approval to submit the application with the stipulation the board can review the application after it is received and approved by the Ohio Department Services Agency.” requested West.

Ciccarelli voted against the application.

He and Trustee Asantewa Anyabwile later questioned the Senior Service America grant application that already was submitted.

The $149,339 grant provides funds from the U.S. Department of Labor for training for low-income people age 55 or older who receive training as an entry into productive work.

West said there are 16 slots for eligible applicants to participate in the program.

“It is a waste of time for us to approve an application after it has already been submitted,” remarked Anyabwile.

“I am asking the board for direction. Do we need more meetings because sometimes we have a short turnaround period for grant applications,” West asked.

“When you are facing a deadline we want you to submit the application. And you should use the board executive committee to approve the process. You should convene the executive committee for special meetings,” noted Trustee Rob Johns.

According to Trustee Rich DeLuca, “I do not believe the board is in the business of running the CAC. If the business is not being run properly, the person in charge should be terminated. I do agree major matters should have an advance notice. But there is an undertone here. There are serious issues floating out there that are causing some disagreements at the board level.”

“It is your job to run this organization and if you don’t run it properly we will need to terminate you,” DeLuca told West.

“I don’t feel comfortable making decisions on these issues. I don’t want to go through these meetings discussing every detail. I don’t know if this organization is moving forward. We need to put the focus on the executive committee to bring the agenda issues forward,” continued DeLuca.

In other matters at Wednesday’s meeting, West reported the H.E.A.P. Summer Crisis program has issued 176 air conditioner units and 60 fans so far this summer.

“The initial rush is behind us but we are continuing to help people,” she said.

West informed the trustees the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Columbus field office issued no findings or concerns during a recent review of the local supportive housing program.

And the trustees suggested several amendments to the CAC record retention and destruction policy and will consider the final version of the policy at the next board meeting.

(Gossett can be contacted at