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STATE COMMITTEE OF VENDORS

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, FL - MAY 6 & 7, 2005

Mr. Sampadian called the meeting to order at 1:30 P.M. on Friday, May 6, 2005.

Ms. Alger called the roll.

  • District 2 - Debby Malmberg
  • District 3 - Steve Schneider
  • District 4 - Mary Hayes
  • District 5 - absent
  • District 6 _ Dan Angelicola
  • District 7 - Phil Bluschke
  • District 8 - Jerry Rigney
  • District 9 - Tom Saunders
  • District 10 - Jim Anderson
  • District 11 - Chuck Fickett
  • District 12 - Joel Rose
  • District 13 - Ken Moore, Alternate (arrived approximately 2 P.M.)
  • Chairperson - Krekor Sampadian
  • Vice-Chair - Gyorke Alger
  • Agency staff - Mike Elliott, Bureau Chief; Kathy Murphey, Operations Director; Gene Newcomb, Compliance Director; Larry Batterton
  • Guests - Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hackney

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved without change.

Mr. Sampadian welcomed the new members of the Committee, Tom Saunders and Steve Schneider.

Ms. Hayes reported that Gene Harper is out of the hospital and recovering.

Ms. Murphey reported on the financial status of BEP. Set aside revenue is on track with projections and we have sufficient funds for the remainder of the fiscal year. The current rate of 6% set aside is adequate. Mr. Sampadian added that at current levels of approximately $660,000 annually, set aside income is more than actually needed, but agreed with Ms. Murphey that it is necessary to maintain a reserve against unforeseen expenses.

Ms. Murphey reported that five facilities are currently under management by Aramatic, four cafeterias in Tallahassee and a snack bar in Ft. Myers.

A question was asked about the status of the FDLE cafeteria in Tallahassee. Mr. Newcomb responded that the first ranked applicant had declined the appointment and that it appeared that the second ranked individual, Mr. Bobby Blackman, would also likely decline. In that event, the third ranked applicant, Mr. Steve Williamson, would be offered the appointment. Mr. Saunders and Ms. Alger expressed dismay.

Ms. Murphey reported that VISINITY is still searching for existing unassigned machine locations not paying commission and for new opportunities. She also stated that the number of legislative exemptions is huge and that this is a limiting factor in acquiring new locations for unassigned revenues.

Ms. Murphey asked the Committee to approve combining VF161, the eight vending machines located in the Tampa Post Office, with VF267, the downtown Tampa vending route. She stated that the revenues from #161 are approximately $30 - 35,000 annually.

Mr. Rigney said that he had discussed this proposal with Ms. Fink. One possibility was to add this location to the new airport vending facility in Tampa, but this project is in the very early stage of development and will likely be large enough to function as a stand-alone when completed. He added that the Tampa Postal authorities would like to take these machines out of our control.

Mr. Rigney moved to combine VF161 with VF267. Mr. Fickett seconded the motion. Ms. Alger called the roll and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Fickett reported that a similar airport vending facility is under development in Ft. Myers, but at this time there is insufficient information to determine if it will be a stand-alone or will be part of the vending route in that area.

Mr. Sampadian introduced the subject of the proposed realignment of the Committee districts. He asked Mr. Angelicola to present the plan.

Mr. Angelicola began by explaining that the purpose of redistricting was to reduce the number of districts from 12 to 10 and to create more proportional representation by achieving approximately the same number of facilities in each district. He stated that this should be accomplished before the next election, historically held in August.

Mr. Sampadian interjected with a request to cancel the next scheduled Committee meeting in August. Mr. Elliott expressed approval of this idea. This would avoid having five meetings this year.

Mr. Saunders moved to cancel, Mr. Rose seconded and the motion carried by voice vote without discussion.

Mr. Angelicola moved to accept the realignment proposal. Mr. Bluschke seconded the motion. Mr. Sampadian asked for discussion.

Ms. Malmberg repeated her previously stated dissatisfaction with the proposed realignment of Districts 1 and 2, stating that it did not really make sense to create a district starting in the Panhandle and going over the top of Tallahassee and then eastward. She stated that she understood Mr. Kaisarian's desire to assure that a food service manager would be part of the Committee, but expressed doubt that his proposal would accomplish that goal. She reminded the Committee that most food service managers do not have a lot of free time. She further stated that her proposal, which would basically divide the two current districts on a line with Monroe Street in Tallahassee, would achieve the goals of realignment and would also provide for all types of facilities in each of the two districts.

Mr. Schneider from Tallahassee agreed that Ms. Malmberg's plan made very good sense.

Ms. Alger expressed support for Ms. Malmberg's plan.

Mr. Sampadian stated that the first priority was to achieve a nearly equal number of facilities in each district. Ms. Malmberg responded that her plan did that, with 16 in District 1 and 14 in District 2, the reverse of the original plan.

Mr. Fickett moved to table the district realignment motion. The motion died for lack of a second.

Mr. Sampadian asked if there were any other amendments to be offered, stating that if so, they should be offered at this time.

Mr. Rigney moved to amend by returning the two rest stop facilities at

Ruskin, #380 and #511, to their original district. Mr. Bluschke seconded. No discussion ensued.

Ms. Alger called the roll. Mr. Rigney's amendment passed with 10 affirmatives and one dissenting vote by Mr. Angelicola.

Ms. Malmberg moved to accept her revision of Districts 1 and 2. Mr. Schneider seconded.

Ms. Alger called the roll. The amendment carried with 10 affirmatives and one dissenting vote by Mr. Angelicola.

Ms. Alger asked Mr. Angelicola if he wished to withdraw the motion as amended. He replied that he did not.

Ms. Alger called the roll. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Sampadian asked Mr. Elliott if he would approve the realignment. Mr. Elliott replied that he would take a look at it. Ms. Alger stated that historically the Committee has dealt with its own realignment and does not need Agency approval. Mr. Newcomb stated the opposite view.

Mr. Sampadian expressed his hope that the Agency will accept the Committee's proposal.

Mr. Sampadian initiated a discussion of how the newly enlarged districts could conduct the biennial election of Committee Representative and Alternate. Ms. Alger asked if the Committee By-Laws might need to be amended and Mr. Sampadian replied that they would not. He suggested that districts could meet in cyberspace or by conference call or use a mail-in ballot.

Mr. Sampadian then described a process by which districts could hold elections by conference call and still maintain the secret ballot required in the By-laws. A DBS staff person would conduct the election, as is now the procedure. A disinterested party could be used as a witness. Nominations would be made orally, as would acceptance by the nominees. Each person would cast his vote by pushing a pre-designated tone (number) button.

Mr. Newcomb stated that he would want to test this method before implementation. Mr. Schneider volunteered to assist him in its development.

Mr. Rose asked if physical election meetings would still be permitted. Mr. Sampadian replied in the affirmative.

Ms. Murphey confirmed that each District decides how to conduct its own election. It may use any method agreed upon, but not a combination of different methods.

Mr. Sampadian asked Ms. Alger for an update on the Statewide Grievance Board. Ms. Alger reported that the Board is short one regular member as a result of Mr. Leo Thompson's LOFA having been cancelled. However, with three alternates available, a board can be formed if the need arises. She recommended that no action be taken at this time, thereby allowing the new committee to make an appointment when it convenes. Without objection, her recommendation was accepted.

Mr. Sampadian expressed concern that two Selection Panel member's terms expire simultaneously at the end of this year. He believes the previous Committee made errors in setting the dates of these terms. No action was proposed or taken.

Discussion of progress on the Seminar was carried over to the Saturday session.

Mr. Sampadian introduced the transfer & promotion subject for discussion. He stated that he believed the 36-month window for penalizing late reports should be reinstated. This met with general approval.

Mr. Sampadian also indicated he would favor a 60-month limit on the penalty for bad checks. Mr. Elliott objected, saying he would like the Committee to be more forgiving. This was tabled to the Saturday session, as more development is required, including a method of appeal if the bad check resulted from a bank or Agency error. Mr. Newcomb stated that the Agency might review its policy that one bad check puts a vendor permanently on the list for set aside payment by money order or cashier's check.

Mr. Sampadian introduced the subject of a need for a tiebreak amendment to the selection policy document.

Ms. Malmberg said that she liked the coin toss idea.

Mr. Saunders opined that a coin toss was random and unbiased.

Mr. Rose stated his opposition to the "points in good standing" clause, saying that this should be the tiebreaker.

Mr. Newcomb observed that 38K-1 makes no provision for the use of seniority. Mr. Sampadian agreed, but pointed out that the rule does not prohibit its use.

This discussion was carried over to the Saturday session.

Mr. Sampadian adjourned the meeting at approximately 4:30 P.M.

Mr. Sampadian reconvened the meeting at 9 A.M. on Saturday, May 7, 2005.

Ms. Alger called the roll.

  • District 2 - Debby Malmberg
  • District 3 - Steve Schneider
  • District 4 - Mary Hayes
  • District 5- absent
  • District 6 - Dan Angelicola
  • District 7 - Phil Bluschke
  • District 8 - Jerry Rigney
  • District 9 - Tom Saunders
  • District 10 - Jim Anderson
  • District 11 - Chuck Fickett
  • District 12 - Joel Rose
  • District 13 - Ken Moore
  • Chairperson - Krekor Sampadian
  • Vice-Chair - Gyorke Alger
  • Agency staff - Mr. Elliott, Ms Murphey. Mr. Newcomb, Mr. Batterton
  • Guests - Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hackney

Mr. Hackney spoke in very positive terms about the recent BLAST conference sponsored by NABM, stating that the Agency's payment of the $100 registration fee was probably the best investment it had ever made. He reported that 31 States were represented at the conference and that the speakers were dynamic and informative. The number of Randolph-Sheppard vendors has decreased in recent years, but nationwide sales and profits are increasing. He strongly encouraged all Florida vendors to attend the next BLAST in Nashville, TN next year.

Mr. Sampadian agreed that NFB and NABM are strong advocates for the Randolph-Sheppard program and take a lead role in protecting it against attempts to weaken it.

Mr. Anderson reported good progress on the project to put all Committee minutes, policy documents, etc into a computerized database that everyone can access. He has discussed the project with the staff of Applied Computer Labs at the Florida Institute of Technology and they are willing to take on this endeavor at the very reasonable cost of $1200 - $2400. The student assigned the project will organize and categorize all documents, and create hyperlinks to each category. The capability for updating is included. The time estimated for completion is 100 hours, for which the student will be paid $12/hour.

The Committee voiced its support for the expenditure of funds. Mr. Elliott stated that the Agency would approve it.

Mr. Sampadian reintroduced the subject of transfer & promotion, asking for ideas about a tiebreak method.

A general discussion followed, and a consensus emerged that while a coin toss might be considered unbiased, a more professional method needs to be established.

Mr. Sampadian asked Ms. Alger to read the tiebreak amendment that did not come to a vote at the previous meeting. She did so, reading from the printed agenda. The text of Mr. Sampadian's proposal follows:

This section will only be used if there is a tie. The underlined portion of this text is considered to be an explanation, and not part of the transfer & promotion policy.

When two or more applicants have an equal number of points, the applicant with the greatest amount of seniority will prevail.

Seniority will accrue at the rate of one month for each month a vendor was eligible to receive the net proceeds from the operation of a BEP vending facility in Florida.

The transfer of military service or the accrual of months of service with any other entity will not be counted.

The Division is responsible for compiling and maintaining accurate records of seniority.

A lengthy discussion ensued.

Mr. Newcomb stated that Program rules do not provide for the use of seniority. Mr. Sampadian responded that they do not prohibit its use either.

Mr. Rose objected to the LOFA points in good standing, and said that these should be the tiebreaker. Mr. Sampadian responded that the tiebreak amendment is not actually a part of the selection process, but that it comes into play only when the process has produced a tie. He further stated that a tiebreaker may use an element that is contained within the evaluation process. Mr. Rose disagreed.

Ms. Alger attempted to clarify the LOFA points section of the selection policy document, acknowledging her error in not defining the phrase "in good standing" as it had been discussed when the document was first drafted. She said that this section needs to be revised so that the LOFA points are not automatically awarded. Mr. Rose responded that these points represent credit for longevity regardless of what anyone says.

Mr. Fickett agreed with Mr. Rose and said that the LOFA points precluded new licensees from being successful in the bid process. Ms. Alger took exception to this, citing several cases in which it was not the case.

Mr. Newcomb objected to placing the responsibility for compiling and maintaining seniority records on the Division, stating that he doubted the Agency could acquire such records from the Florida Retirement System. He added that the Division has no records prior to 1995.

The Chair and Vice-Chair suggested that the vendors could take responsibility for obtaining their records from FRS and that the Division would be responsible for those dating from January 1, 1997.

Ms. Murphey stated that "a lot of the information in the DBS database is inaccurate". She cited input error as one reason for this. She clarified her statement by adding that not all data is evaluated in the same way and that different types of data are stored in separate locations. She further stated that the Agency could probably not retrieve with 100% accuracy the number of months every vendor has been under LOFA since January of 1997. She suggested using the date of licensure as a tiebreaker. She offered to conduct a test for this in the Bureau office.

Mr. Schneider suggested using the combined score of the test and performance review as the tiebreaker.

Mr. Fickett brought up the subject of how the test is scored. He stated that the selection document says only that the test is valued at 50 points, with no mention of a point value for each question and with no reference to a specific number of questions. Mr. Sampadian cited a reference to contract law as a basis for disputing Mr. Fickett's position.

Mr. Rose also advocated in favor of scoring the test as the document is written, stating that "50 points is 50 points."

Mr. Sampadian withdrew his amendment.

Mr. Newcomb observed that pending litigation will determine the outcome of the scoring method used by the Division.

Mr. Schneider offered the following motion:

When a tie occurs between two or more applicants for a facility, the interview score shall be discarded and the combined score of test and performance review shall be compared. The applicant with the highest resulting score shall prevail.

Mr. Rose seconded the motion.

Ms. Alger called the roll. With two dissenting votes from Mr. Rigney and Mr. Anderson, the motion carried.

Mr. Elliott approved the above amendment to the selection document.

Mr. Saunders offered a motion to amend the selection policy document to read as follows:

Timeliness of reporting - Eight (8) points for no late reports. Two (2) points subtracted for each late report dating from October 1st, 2002, when due date was changed to postmark date. A 36-month time period shall be used for the computation of late reports.

Ms. Malmberg seconded the motion.

Ms. Alger called the roll. The motion carried unanimously.

A suggestion to amend the section that deals with bad checks to include the 36-month period was offered and by common consent was adopted with the stipulation that the beginning date would be that of notification to the vendor.

Mr. Newcomb added that the Division will likely revisit the current policy that one bad check results in the vendor being placed on permanent money order/cashier's check status for set aside payment.

Mr. Newcomb also suggested a more severe point penalty for bad checks would reflect the Committee's view that this is a more serious offense than a late report. He also asked the Committee to consider adding a point penalty when a vendor's LOFA has been cancelled for cause.

Ms. Murphey stated that the Selection Panel should be responsible for evaluating performance data.

Mr. Elliott expressed appreciation to Mr. Sampadian and the Committee, stating that the last two years have been very enjoyable.

Mr. Bluschke inquired about the status of the new rest stop in Madison County. Mr. Sampadian, Ms. Murphey and Mr. Newcomb each stated the position that an agreement between the Committee and the Division to separate this location into two facilities was not binding. Ms. Alger took exception to this position.

Mr. Rose asked Mr. Rigney about the status of negotiations with Pepsi re Statewide pricing. Mr. Rigney replied that he has met with Pepsi officials at the national level and determined that there is no point in pursuing this initiative. The likely result would be a new pricing structure similar to that recently implemented by Coke. He suggested that individual vendors should negotiate with Pepsi and make the best deal for themselves. Mr. Sampadian agreed.

Ms. Hayes relayed a question from Ms. Shirley Smart relating to equipment purchase. Ms. Smart would like the division to stop buying cold food machines and purchase ice cream vendors instead. Ms. Hayes was advised to take this up with the Consultant.

Ms. Malmberg suggested a Seminar workshop on negotiating skills.

Mr. Sampadian requested that the new Committee place a high priority on updating, revising and clarifying the transfer & promotion system. He also requested that the Committee continue with follow-up on Mr. Anderson's database program.

There being no other business, Mr. Sampadian adjourned the meeting at approximately 11:30 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Gyorke Alger

Scriber's Note: The newly amended "Selection Process Improvements - Amended 5-7-05" is attached.

SELECTION PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS

ENDORSED BY THE STATE COMMITTEE OF VENDORS

AND THE DIVISION OF BLIND SERVICES

ESTABLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 27, 2004

AMENDED ON NOVEMBER 6, 2004

AMENDED ON MARCH 28, 2005

AMENDED ON MAY 7, 2005

1. The Selection Panel will receive no personal identification data about applicants for facilities. This includes names, Social Security numbers, current facility number/location and any other information that could identify the applicant.

2. The oral exam with target bullets will be replaced by a standardized multiple choice written test. Each question will have only one correct answer. The test score will comprise 50% of each applicant's overall score.

3. Test questions and answers will be developed by persons agreed upon by the Division and the Committee from the following sources: FRA Safe Serve Manual; Crane National Snack Machine Manual; FAC Chapter 38K-1; BEP Policy Manual; BEP LOFA. Source references will be given for all questions and answers. Test questions will address the criteria listed in FAC Chapter 38K-1.

4. The test will be administered by a designated DBS staff person in the District Office where the vendor resides. The Compliance Director will transmit the required number of tests, to be kept sealed until administered, to each designated DBS staff person. BEP employees will not be permitted to administer the test. The test will be administered to all applicants on the same date and at the same time. The tests will be returned to the Compliance Director and kept sealed until the Selection Panel convenes.

5. The Compliance Director will score all tests using the answer sheet developed in conjunction with the test. The Compliance Director will also compute each applicant's performance element score and enter that score and the combined total of the test and performance element scores on each applicant's master score card. The Compliance Director will retain all score cards in a secure location until the interview score cards have been delivered by the Selection Panel.

6. Upon receipt of each Panelist's interview score cards, each of which is identified by the letter or number designated by the Compliance Director, two members of the Selection Panel and the Compliance Director will total and then average each applicant's interview score. When all scores are tallied and verified, the Agency will post the Selection Panel's rankings for each facility to the BEP website within ten (10) working days after the close of deliberations, or as soon as is practicable thereafter given other Program priorities. The coded identification system employed by the Compliance Director will be used for all selection postings.

The combined total of test, performance element and interview scores will determine each applicant's ranking for the facility or facilities to which he or she has applied.

7. Until reliable verification processes for the evaluation of performance data are developed the Panel will consider only data that is currently verifiable. For the October selections these are limited to the following: timeliness of reporting; accounts receivable; number of months under LOFA in good standing beginning with January 1st, 1997; set aside fee payment. These items will be scored as follows:

  • Timeliness of reporting - Eight (8) points for no late reports. Two (2) points subtracted for each late report dating from October 1st, 2002, when due date was changed to postmark date. A 36-month time period shall be used for the computation of late reports.
  • Accounts receivable - Eight (8) points for no monies owed. Four (4) points if monies owed and payment plan in place. Zero (0) points if monies owed and not paid as agreed.
  • Months under LOFA in good standing - 0.1 point (one tenth of one point) per month beginning January 1st, 1997; maximum of nine (9) points.
  • Set Aside Fee Payment - Any vendor who is required to pay set aside fee by money order or cashier's check will have two (2) points subtracted from the overall score.

8. Applicants with less than six (6) months of performance data, as of the closing date for applications, will not be scored on performance elements, but will automatically be included in the final interview group.

9. The high scoring five (5) applicants for each facility and anyone scoring in the top 10% of the highest score for that facility will be included in the interview for that facility, to be held in the Tampa DBS office, date and time to be established by the Selection Panel.

10. The interview will be conducted as follows: Each qualifying applicant will be allowed up to 15 minutes to make a presentation to the Selection Panel. This will allow the applicant to demonstrate his or her skills and knowledge of business management, offer plans for improving performance of the facility being applied for, or any other information he or she believes is relevant and important. Selection Panel members may ask questions that are pertinent to statements made by the applicant.

11. Each Panelist will independently evaluate the applicant's presentation using a scale of 0 - 25 points. No discussion of the applicant's presentation will take place.

12. The Compliance Director will collect all score cards. To protect both the applicants and Panel members from scoring aberrations the high and low scores will be discarded. The remaining three (3) scores will be averaged and that score added to the applicant's total.

13. The Compliance Director will prepare an outline of suggested presentation topics to be provided to all applicants.

When a tie occurs between two or more applicants for a facility, the interview score shall be discarded and the combined score of test and performance review shall be compared. The applicant with the highest resulting score shall prevail.

(Scriber's Note: Based on the above, an applicant's competitive rating shall be derived by adding the scores of the test (50 points), performance data review (25 points) and interview composite rating (25 points).

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

Providing Tools and Support for Legally Blind Vendors in the Food Service Industry