AVA/OVW Conference Call – September 2014
Conference Call Meeting between AVA & OVW
Date: Monday, September 29, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time
OVW Staff: Associate Director Michelle Brickley and Program Manager Kim Galvan
AVA Board Members: Maureen Monagle and Liz Greb
AVA Coordinator: Dorene Whitworth
Awards started rolling out shortly before this call and Michelle Brickley indicated that most should be out.
AVA inquired into the change of allocation amounts under the STOP program and how the increases were possible. Michelle Brickley outlined that it was the result of returned monies from previous years. We also discussed the disposition of any PREA penalties held by OVW. Michelle discussed that these will be distributed to states/territories that are either compliant or those that will use STOP funds to come into compliance. The OVW budget office will be responsible for calculating this next year and including these funds in the 2015 allocations.
AVA asked for information on when the worksheet would be available to STOP administrators?
Michelle outlined that they had run into some technical issues on posting it to the DOJ website. She was considering sending it out via email once they verify it is working properly – it is an Excel document. AVA encouraged them to email it since we have had several inquiries about the formulas and how to apply the penalty to categories.
We also discussed a recent bill that passed Senate Judiciary. It was the Second Chance Act that contained an amendment that would exempt VAWA not only in 2015 forward but retro to 2014. It will still need approval of the House before it is official and whether that will happen is unknown. If it does pass in regard to 2014, OVW would need to issue a GAN for states/territories whose award contains a hold relating to the PREA penalty and the special condition would be released. For those states that chose to relinquish the penalty dollars, a supplemental award would need to be issued. However, since nothing has passed, OVW is operating under current guidance. If the amendment fails, the language in the presidential budget that exempts VAWA in 2015 is still a potential but that does not exempt PREA indefinitely.
AVA inquired into whether a decision has been made on extending the old forms? Questions included, what is the expectation for states to report on PREA or how will we track reallocations, prevention, public awareness, etc., on the older forms. The tracking for the SA set-aside is not required until FY 2015 awards so that shouldn’t be a consideration.
OVW has been unable to spend any significant time on the Muskie forms due to employee vacancy. Christina Murray’s position has not been filled and she was responsible for working on the Muskie revisions. Michelle highly doubts the new forms will be available for this next cycle. Cathy Poston at OVW is currently working on these but only one initial meeting between the STOP Unit and Muskie has occurred to date. Michelle will stay in touch. AVA stressed that the timing of the new forms is important as subgrantees will need to be trained on any new data they might need to collect to accommodate the new forms and it’s difficult at best if they have to backtrack. AVA stressed that we want to provide accurate information and things could be missed if subgrantees must backtrack.
AVA inquired into what caused the situation wherein some Plans were approved based on the initial outreach states did with tribes and then the approvals were rescinded based on the lack of some tribes within some states not being involved in the planning process. Michelle outlined that the FAQs indicated that all tribes were to be contacted. OVW actually received calls from some tribes saying they had not been consulted so OVW took a closer look into the tribal involvement.
OVW is currently talking with two tribal TA providers to help states in this area. OVW wants to help states improve tribal outreach especially since VAWA 2013 now includes tribal populations in the distribution formula. AVA discussed that tribes are used to reaching out to federal agencies, e.g. U.S. attorney, etc., but state agencies have not been in the tribal mix so perhaps TA may need to be provided to the tribes as well as state administrators to successfully improve this relationship. Many tribes are so small and isolated that there is no easy way to reach them. We may need a better understanding of what is considered effective tribal outreach.
We also discussed the AVA Collaboration Form that was completed by planning team members. Michelle suggested we could get feedback from administrators on the form for future use. One question that created confusion was in regard to whether the final Plan was provided to the planning team members. There were differing ways folks viewed the draft vs. final form so this question might need to be reworded to clarify, e.g. did you see the final draft of the plan that was submitted to OVW. Another option would be to perhaps use the term “final version” and include the last revision date.
AVA opened the discussion around when the next administrator’s conference might be held and what the parameters would be. Recognizing the joint meeting with administrators and coalition executive directors was cancelled in 2014, OVW will provide a letter soon detailing how they will move forward in 2015 given the various DOJ conference costs constraints.
The primary challenge of expense is due to travel monies being included in the cost. AVA discussed how other programs (e.g. VOCA) require administrators to use admin monies to attend. Michelle referenced the survey wherein STOP administrators said this wouldn’t work for them. (After the call Dorene checked the AVA survey results. Of the 42 separate states/territories responding, 29 said yes they would attend using admin funds, 4 said no, 9 said depends or maybe.)
The other question posed was whether the monies given to TA providers for the travel piece could be provided to states as a travel supplement for the conference. Michelle indicated that wouldn’t work due to the way the distributions are made. When asked how much of the STOP program funds are delegated toward TA, Michelle responded that although STOP is designated a legacy program by DOJ standards, they don’t use the full 8% allowance they would otherwise be entitled to. TA is based on need.
OVW is still looking at late February in Florida and still limiting it to one attendee. AVA inquired into the rationale for the February date since that seems to be the worst time for administrators. Michelle indicated that is the time that fits within the OVW schedule with STOP and the six other programs they are running. They are juggling peer reviews, recommendation notebooks, etc. They didn’t want to extend into April as that is SA awareness month.
Michelle asked if we could do calls with all administrators perhaps on a quarterly basis. Although AVA reiterated that the information we bring to these calls is representative of administrators’ questions and concerns, we discussed that AVA would look into this for the December call. OVW currently holds monthly calls with state and tribal coalitions on various topics. Coalition calls are recorded and then sent out. This is how OVW would propose to do it with STOP administrators as well.
NEXT Call with AVA Board and OVW:
November 3 at 11:00 EST.