Bylaws for the Advisory Council

Bylaws for the Advisory Council

The name of the organization shall be the Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services Advisory Council.

The purpose of the advisory council shall be to assist the County Executive, County Commissioners, Director of the Department of Human Services and Executive Director in the following areas:

-To advocate for meeting the continuing needs of the aging and adult (18-59 yrs.) population of Lehigh County
-To assess and evaluate unmet needs

-To assist in formulating program policy and services to citizens 18 years of age and older

-To monitor existing services to ensure that they successfully meet the needs of the aging and adult population of Lehigh County.

In pursing this purpose, the council shall strive to meet the following goals:

A. To ensure that recipients of services, the general public and other concerned parties, have a significant voice in determining the content and operational methods set forth in the formation of the Annual County Services Plan and the Department of Aging Three-Year Plan.

B. To promote better public understanding of the programs and objectives of the agency.

C. To share with the Executive Director problems relating to program goals and objectives and working toward problem resolution.

D. To help formulate policies for the advancement and improvement of agency operations.

E. To cooperate with other agencies in the community and with appropriate state agencies in coordinating county program efforts with related programs.

The office of the advisory council shall be the Offices of the Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services.

A.  The advisory council shall consist of such number within a range of fifteen to nineteen.

B. The total council membership should be an odd number.

C. At least fifty-one (51) percent of the council members shall be at least sixty (60) years of age.

D. For the purpose of council composition, the five (5) basic categories of membership are:

1. Program participants
2. General public

3. Low income persons
4. Minority persons
5. Representative of the Center Services Advisory Council

E. The County Executive or his/her designee, the Director of the Department of Human Services and the Executive Director of the Office of Aging and Adult Services shall be ex-officio members of the council.  Additional ex-officio membership may be added at the discretion of the council.

F. The usual term of membership on the council is four (4) years.  However, members may be re-appointed for one additional four-year term.

G. In no instance shall a council member serve for more than eight (8) consecutive years. Upon completion of a council member's second term which consists of (8) consecutive years, said member may continue as an Honorary Consulting member. This includes members whose terms expire, but who wish to serve actively on a consulting basis. Honorary Consulting members may serve on committees and will be subject to the required conditions for attendance and committee responsibilities. Honorary Consulting members shall have a non-voting status on Council and will not be counted in the required active members of the council. Honorary Consulting members may be recommended for appointment to regular membership after one (1) year.

H. Terms of membership should be staggered in length to ensure not more than a thirty-five (35) percent turnover annually.

I. The County Executive shall, subject to confirmation by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the Board of Commissioners in office, appoint candidates to the advisory council, recommended by the council.

J. For the purpose of clarity and uniformity of interpretation, the five (5) basic categories of council membership are defined as follows:

1.  "Program participants" is regarded as synonymous with the term "actual consumers of services under the area plan" which are (a) individuals 18 years of age or older who make substantial use of one or more services provided under the area plan, (ideally, council members selected as consumers should be persons who have close and frequent contact with Aging and Adult Services operations, and whose involvement has resulted in the establishment of a significant relationship with the Office of Aging and Adult Services, or service provider staff and with other consumers of services), and (b) persons who volunteer their services to a local agency.

2. "General public" is those persons who have demonstrated an active interest in community affairs, neighborhood improvement or the general welfare.  Included are both so-called ordinary citizens and those recognized civic leaders.  Such persons may be drawn from the business, academic, professional, religious or other communities, except as noted below.

(a) To avoid a conflict of interest, a council member must absent himself/herself from all deliberations concerning programs or funding for projects with which his/her organization is directly involved.  Any voting member of the council who is directly involved with the development and/or implementation of a proposal or contract to be funded by the area agency will declare a potential conflict of interest at each council meeting when the proposal or contract is discussed.  This declaration will be recorded in the minutes and will include refraining from voting on matters pertaining to the proposal or contract.  If the conflict of interest presents itself to be ongoing, consideration will be given for removal from council.

(b) Excluded are:

-members of the board of directors or the advisory committee and employees of agencies under contract to the Office of Aging and Adult Services (such persons may serve as members of a technical advisory committee or other special committees, but may not serve as voting members of the council);
-political party officials;
-holders of elective office;
-personnel employed by county government;
-management level employees of townships, boroughs, municipalities and state or federal government;
-spouses and immediate family members of all of the above.

3. "Low income persons" means persons who belong to one or more of the following categories:

-eligible for services according to the criteria of the current State Plan for Aging Services, or Department of Public Welfare's Office of Social Programs;

-receiving or eligible for assistance through any of the following programs - Aid to Families with Dependent Children, General Assistance, Medical Assistance or Supplemental Security Income;
-having the greatest economic and social need.

4. "Minority persons" means individuals who identify themselves as American Indian, Afro-American, Asian American or limited English speaking persons.  Limited English speaking minority persons may be represented by a person, who fluently speaks and reads both English and the language of the minority group, and if such person is recognized by the minority group as a spokesperson.

5. "Representative of the Center Services Advisory Council" is an individual 60 years of age or older, or disabled participant, who is a member of that council for the planning and service area and who is an actual consumer of the services provided by the Center Services Program.

A. The annual meeting of the advisory council should be the meeting in January of each year.

B. Meetings shall be held at such times and places as the council shall decide.

C. The council shall meet no less than six (6) times per year.

D. Special meetings may be called by the council chairman and committee chairpersons at such times as are found necessary.

E. Written notice of regular meetings will be provided to all council members.  For special meetings, notification shall be given not less than five (5) days before the date of the special meeting.  The notice of a special meeting shall include the purpose of the meeting.

F. Members of the council, who miss four (4) regular meetings within a calendar year and whose absences are unexcused, shall receive written notice of their removal from the council.  Two unexcused absences within a calendar year will result in a warning letter being issued.

The order of business for regular meetings may be as follows:

A. Call to Order
B. Approval of Minutes
C. Correspondence
D. Executive Director's Report
E. Standing Committee Reports
F. Old Business
G. New Business
H. Chairman's Report
I. Open Session
J. Adjournment


The order of business at any meeting may be altered at the discretion of the chairman or presiding officer.

The officers of the advisory council shall be a chairman and a vice-chairman.  A secretary and a treasurer may be elected as the need arises.  Officers shall be elected by the council at the annual meeting and shall hold office for one year, or until their successors are elected.  Officers shall not be able to serve more than two (2) consecutive terms.  Such officers shall be council members in good standing.  Duties of each office shall be those which are normally attached thereto.

The chairman of the advisory council shall establish such committees as may be necessary to expedite functions of the council and shall appoint the chairperson of such committees.  The following standing committees shall report at each meeting of the council:

Administration/Fiscal/Legislative- Oversight of all agency functions related to agency management, fiscal affairs, and legislative issues and advocacy.  Areas of concentration are personnel, administrative policy, fiscal budget, contract management, researching legislative issues, advocacy, and inter-relations with the PA Department of Aging and the Department of Public Welfare.

Services in the Community- Oversight of all services provided to adults 18 to 59 years of age, the disabled community, and older adults who utilize agency programs and services to maintain their independence.  Familiarity with the various programs and services available through Aging and Adult Services.  Program areas of concentration would be attendant care, protective services, adult day care, homemaker/home support, general care management, and neighborhood senior centers.  Includes review and discussion of long-term care issues to include services to adults 18 to 59 years of age and older adults who require placement or are residing in the community with supportive assistance from family or friends.  Long-term care issues include assessment and care management, Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Enhanced Nursing Home Transition Program.

Resource Development and Strategic Planning- Assist with Aging and Adult Services 4-year plan, explore innovative measures to continue to meet the changing needs of the diverse population with our programs and services, and promote volunteer opportunities within the Apprise and Volunteer Ombudsman programs.  Includes pro-active measures to investigate how to "better serve" the increasing demand for services with limited budgets and exploration of securing categorical dollars.  Reviews public information disseminated and participates in expanding community relations including assistance with promoting the agency's website and providing feedback.

The quorum for a meeting of the advisory council shall be at least fifty (50) percent of the non-vacant seats on the council.

After notice to the membership, the members of the advisory council must, by a 2/3 vote of the members present, amend or revoke these bylaws at any regular or special meeting duly convened.  The bylaws shall be reviewed every three years by an appropriate committee and if necessary, recommend revisions to the council.