CERF program provides an update on the Governance Council, opens applications to be placed on ballot

August 30, 2023 /

On August 24, Kern County’s Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Program leaders provided an update on their status with the Governance Council, what that means for the program, and how the public can be involved and have the opportunity to become part of the council. 

The CERF grant is operationalized by five entities which make up the Regional Convener known as the Kern Coalition — these entities are the Kern Community College District (KCCD), Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council (KIMCLC), Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), B3K Prosperity, and Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Kern County.

The Governance Council will consist of 17 elected members who will represent the different subregions of Kern County.  The purpose of the Governance Council will be to review and approve CERF proposals as they come in. 

If the Governance Council chooses to not approve a proposal, they can recommend it receive further technical assistance. 

According to Doctor Jessica Grimes, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Career Education and Workforce Development for KCCD, the Governance Council will have a serve rubric that is based on whatever tranche of funding is being talked about.

“We are trying to build a system that’s nimble, that actually attracts a lot of investment to current county to have the maximum benefit for different disinvested communities,” stated Doctor Grimes. 

As she continued her portion of the presentation, Doctor Grimes discussed the authority that is held by the Governance Council.

“So we’re not sure how often we’ll be receiving proposals. But we’re hoping that there will be a bevy of them. And so those who are voted on to the Governance Council will be committing to meeting two to three times per month to review the proposals that come from the sub-regional collaboratives,” explained Doctor Grimes. 

These meetings, according to Doctor Grimes’s presentation, will be open to the public unless directed otherwise. 

Each Kern County region — North, East, South, West, and Central — will have three representatives, with the exception of Central, which is the most populous of the regions, and has a higher concentration of disinvested individuals.

As she continued speaking, Doctor Grimes explained that the structure of the Governance Council is supposed to replicate the equity and power sharing that is essential to CERF’s DNA. With that being said, the Council will consist of a Chair and Co-Chair and its activities will be reported to the Kern Coalition which will keep minutes of meetings that will be shared out. 

Doctor Grimes shared that the eligibility criteria to get on the ballot for each of the subregions of the Governance Council is based on whether a person lives in and or works in one of the sub-regional service areas that were mentioned. 

Applications to be placed on the ballot are now available here on the Kern Coalition website. Elections will be done in person during the last week of September.

A full list of responsibilities of the Governance Council was also provided by Doctor Grimes and consists of the following:

  • Reading CERF grant proposals, work plans, metrics, and regional plans
  • Reading and reviewing proposals, and reviewing continuous research related to CERF
  • Attending training and onboarding processes (Ex: DEI Orientation, CERF theory of change, and more)
  • Being knowledgeable in economic development and equity in public health, environment, and economy
  • Participating in voting, and offering recommendations for funding or technical assistance
  • Signing a confidentiality and commitment to equity agreement
  • Disclosing any matters affecting personal financial interests and abstaining from voting

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Victoria Rodgers

Victoria Rodgers is an editor and reporter for Kern Sol News. Born in Bakersfield, CA, she received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Rockford University in Illinois. She can be reached at victoria@southkernsol.org.