Decisive Government Action Needed To Resolve Problems of Community Action Programs in Los Angeles

HRD-79-91: Published: Jun 11, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1979.

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The Greater Los Angeles Community Action Agency, second largest in the country, was terminated in December 1978. During the 5 years of its existence audits and investigative and management reports disclosed continuing problems.

The Agency's board of directors did not exercise effective control. Management reports and Community Service Administration (CSA) investigations found ineffective decisionmaking by the board, conflicts of interest within the board, and management influence over board members. As of 5 months following termination of the agency, the organization and responsibilities of future community action program sponsors in Los Angeles were uncertain. The closedown contract remains essentially open ended and responsibility for agency liabilities has not been determined. Of almost 900 community action agencies in the country, 81 have converted from an independent nonprofit agency representing the poor to a public program administered by municiple entities.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director, CSA, should: (1) develop safeguards in the selection procedures of area councils for poverty community representatives that preclude large delegations from unduly influencing the selection process; (2) provide technical training for poverty community representatives to make them more effective board members; (3) expand conflict of interest definitions; (4) develop a code of conduct to govern the actions of community action board members and officers; (5) develop a clear set of guidelines reconciling the federal agencies' responsibilities to protect government funds; and (6) before adopting Los Angeles City and County proposals for community action programs, thoroughly explore the alternative of designating several smaller community action agencies as possible successors to the Greater Los Angeles Community Action Agency.

    Agency Affected:


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