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RULE §24.607 Responsibilities of Contracted Agencies

Published: 2015

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Texas Commodity Assistance Program (TEXCAP) contractors must directly, or indirectly through contracts or agreements with recipient agencies which are subcontractors or subagencies, fulfill the requirements stated in this section.   (1) Public information. Contractors must inform the public of the availability of mass distributions of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-donated commodities. Public information notices must include the locations of distribution sites and the days and hours of distributions. The public must also be informed if regularly scheduled distributions are unavailable, and the reasons. Commodity availability must be advertised in a manner specifically targeted to eligible needy populations, including low income and unemployed households, elderly people, and persons with disabilities. Recipient agencies, including contractors, subagencies, and subcontractors are encouraged to inform the public of the availability of USDA-donated commodities, by distributions other than mass distribution, using any means available, including their own established and customary means of communication. Suggested methods of advertisement of commodity availability include, but are not limited to, the following:     (A) the media (TV, radio, and newspapers);     (B) civic and religious organizations;     (C) city and county governments; and     (D) social service organizations, upon request.   (2) Training. Contractors must ensure that appropriate contractor, subcontractor, and subagency staff and volunteers, as appropriate, are trained and supervised in transporting, storing, handling and use of USDA-donated commodities, eligibility criteria, client rights (including civil rights requirements), complaint and administrative review procedures, and the processing of applications or requests for meals in the contracted service area. This includes helping applicant households, when necessary, complete their applications.   (3) Eligibility determinations. Contractors must determine household eligibility at least yearly based on eligibility criteria specified in Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) policy. Additionally, DHS contractors must make reasonable efforts to safeguard against dual or multiple participation by households.   (4) Adverse actions. Contractors must inform needy recipients and households whose participation in TEXCAP may be adversely affected by a recipient agency's decision, action, or inaction of their right to administrative reviews of the adverse action, as provided by DHS policy and rules. Also, the person or household must be informed of the results of administrative reviews.   (5) Households. Contractors must distribute USDA-donated commodities to eligible households in an equitable manner, based on household size. The distribution methods are subject to the review and approval by DHS and/or the DHS contractor.   (6) Receipt of commodities. Contractors must receive, handle, and store commodities properly, as specified by DHS. If applicable, contractors must meet DHS's requirements for receiving USDA commodities directly, as specified in rules, contracts, and/or policy. Additionally, contractors must submit an annual inventory report which includes a report of a review of their storage facilities, as required by DHS.   (7) Civil rights. Contractors must serve all persons eligible for USDA-donated commodities in the contracted service area without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, or political beliefs.   (8) Maintenance of records. Contractors must maintain financial and other pertinent records for a minimum of three years and 90 days after its DHS contract terminates or until audits are resolved. Subagencies and subcontractors must maintain statistical data and records as required by DHS policy.   (9) Confidentiality. Contractors must protect confidential commodity recipient information as required by federal regulations, state law, and/or DHS policy for distributions of USDA-donated commodities.   (10) Payment for commodities prohibited. Recipient agencies may not require, solicit, or accept payment in money, materials, or services for, or in connection with, receiving USDA-donated commodities from commodity recipients or subagencies and subcontractors, except that contractors may charge fees that are allowed by DHS for shared maintenance and/or special program-related costs, such as training. Note: This is not intended to restrict any person or persons from volunteering services in their communities, as they choose, which are not conditions for receiving USDA commodities.   (11) Requirement to join an organization prohibited. Contractors must not require, as a condition for receiving, distributing, or using USDA-donated commodities, any agency, organization, needy person, or household, to belong to, attend meetings of, or pay dues to a specific organization.   (12) Negligence and fraud. Contractors must be financially liable for negligent or fraudulent administration of the program if aware of such activity.   (13) Report of suspected fraud. Contractors must immediately report to DHS suspected fraud or misuse of USDA-donated commodities.   (14) Compliance with contract terms and conditions. Contractors must comply with all provisions of the signed contract during the contracted period, including developing distribution sites in counties within the contracted service are which are either not served or are inadequately served, the requirements for inventory controls, completing and submitting an annual inventory report, along with the storage facility review, and reporting changes which may affect contract terms and conditions. Additionally, contractors agree to be monitored and reviewed by DHS, as specified in DHS contracts, policy, and/or rules.   (15) Contractor monitoring requirements. To ensure program compliance, contractors must annually monitor, on site, a percentage of subagencies and subcontractors that distribute USDA-donated commodities, as required by DHS. Contractors must monitor each subagency and subcontractor within the timeframes required by federal regulations or DHS policy.   (16) Selling commodities prohibited. Contractors must not sell or dispose of USDA-donated commodities in commercial or other channels.   (17) Transfer of commodities. Contractors must not transfer USDA-donated commodities to any other entity without prior approval from DHS.   (18) Unrelated activities. Contractors must ensure that persons conducting activities at USDA-donated commodity distribution sites that are unrelated to the distribution of commodities comply with the requirements in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph. For contractors who do not comply with these requirements, DHS may require the submittal of a corrective action plan. Additionally, contractors must require subagencies or subcontractors who do not comply with requirements of this paragraph to submit a corrective action plan. As appropriate, DHS or DHS contractors will monitor corrective action plans to ensure compliance. DHS may immediately terminate the contracts of contractors who fail to complete corrective action plans or who fail to ensure that subagencies or subcontractors complete corrective action plans, as specified, and contractors may terminate those portions of agreements or contracts with subagencies and subcontractors relating to the receipt and distribution of USDA-donated commodities for failure to complete corrective action plans, as specified. DHS contractors may appeal contract termination or corrective action requirements according to DHS's appeal procedures. Subagencies and subcontractors may request an administrative review according to DHS's administrative review procedures.     (A) The person conducting the activity, which is unrelated to the distribution of USDA-donated commodities, must make it clear that the activity is not a part of TEXCAP, is not endorsed by USDA or DHS, and is not a condition for receiving USDA-donated commodities that are included in prepared meals or in food distributions to households.     (B) The person conducting the unrelated activity must not disrupt the serving of meals or commodity distribution.   (19) Commodity losses, claims, and out-of-condition commodities. Contractors must comply with DHS requirements for reporting commodity losses, filing claims, paying the value of or replacing in-kind, lost commodities, and following procedures for disposing of out-of-condition commodities.

Source Note: The provisions of this §24.607 adopted to be effective October 1, 1997, 22 TexReg 9488; transferred effective April 1, 2004, as published in the Texas Register July 2, 2004, 29 TexReg 6359; transferred effective October 1, 2007, as published in the Texas Register September 28, 2007, 32 TexReg 6793