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Community Services Advisory Council

The Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Community Services' Community Services Advisory Council (CSAC) was established for the purpose of implementing Public Law 88-452, as passed by the 88th Congress of the United States. This Law is also known as the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as amended, the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Act of 1981, and the Pennsylvania Community Act (P.L. 1263, Act 116). The federally-mandated CSAC serves in an advisory capacity to the Community Services Block Grant grantee, which in Allegheny County, outside the city of Pittsburgh, is the Department of Human Services/Office of Community Services.

The composition of the CSAC is mandated by Federal Law divided equally between three groups: public officials or appointees of public officials; representatives of the poor; and providers of service to the poor. The CSAC reviews proposals from organizations requesting funding from the Community Services Block Grant and makes recommendations to the Department of Human Services on which agencies and programs are worthy of funding through CSBG. The Council members serve as extensions into the community for the identification of gaps in services, etc. The Council is kept abreast of activities of the DHS Office of Community Services.

Meeting Schedule - Community Services Advisory Council

Membership Requirements

The tri-partite Council is comprised of no less than 15 County residents. One-third of these members are appointed by the County Executive, and one-third are representatives of low-income communities, either as low-income residents or organizations representing low-income residents, such as Head Start. The final third are providers of services to low-income residents.

Membership Terms

Members selected by the County Executive, unless he or she chooses to replace them, serve on the Council as long as the County Executive holds office. All other members serve two-year terms, and are up for review at every quarterly meeting. Any member may be removed from the Council by a two-thirds majority vote at a regular meeting for missing two consecutive meetings in a calendar year, or for acting in a manner contrary to the purpose of the Council.


Under new bylaws, officers are President and Vice-President only.

  • The President prepares an agenda for each regular meeting, calls special meetings as necessary, assigns functions to Council members, and serves as a spokesperson for the Council.
  • The Vice-President performs the duties of the President when he or she is absent or otherwise unable to serve.

All officers are elected by majority vote at the first quarterly meeting of odd-numbered years, and take office at the second quarterly meeting. Members are nominated for office by a Nominating Committee, but additional candidates may be nominated by any members of the Council. Once elected, officers serve a term of two years, and no officer may serve in the same capacity for more than two consecutive terms.

Conflicts of Interest

To avoid a conflict of interests, no member of the Council may have any part in any decision-making process involving the organization he or she represents. No member may use any authority or access to confidential information resulting from his or her membership on the Council for the personal or financial benefit of himself or others with whom he or she is associated.

Council Rules, Requirements and Regulations
  • The Council is required to hold regular meetings at least once per quarter.
  • No action can be taken in the name of the Council until approved by a majority vote of a quorum of 50 percent of the active members of the Council at a meeting.
  • Regularly scheduled meetings are announced to members by mail, at least five days in advance.
  • Special meetings called by the President, are announced by mail or telephone, at least five days in advance if at all possible.
Members (December 2012)

Ms. Karen Clunas (SLI), Dominion Peoples Gas
Mr. Arwen Davis (SLI), Human Services Center Corporation
Dr. Doyin Desalu (P), Southwestern PA AIDS Planning Coalition
Mr. Alexander Dow (P), Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council
Mr. Oscar Jackson (SLI), Health Care for the Homeless, VA Health Care System
Ms. Regina Jones (P), University of Pittsburgh, Office of Child Development
Ms. Dee Lanier (RLI), Head Start parent
Ms. Cynthia Moore (P), Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank
Ms. Mary Frances Pilarski (RLI), VA Health Care Services
Mr. Mike Selep (SLI), Duquesne Light
Ms. Rose Smeltzer (RLI), Human Services Center Corporation
Ms. Lori Zimmer (SLI), Allegheny Intermediate Unit
Ms. Laura Zinski (P), Mon Valley Initiative 

P = Political Appointee
RLI = Representative of Low-Income
SLI = Service to Low-Income