Florida Division of Blind Services logo

 

State Committee of Vendors

Orlando, Florida - November 21 and 22, 2008

Mr. Spiliotis called the meeting to order at 10 A.M. on Friday, November 21st. he asked each member to identify themselves by name, district and location as a courtesy to the newly appointed director of DBS, Ms. Joyce Hildreth. Mr. Klindtworth, Vice-chair, called the roll.

District One - Steve Schneider; District Two - Jim Warth, alternate, replace that afternoon by Martin Gadd, the Rep; District Three - Don Tuell; District Four - Dan Angelicola; District Five - Phil Bluschke; District Six - Randall Crosby; District Seven -Tom Saunders; District Eight -Gyorke Alger; District Nine - absent; District Ten - absent

Agency staff - Mike Elliott, Gene Newcomb, Kathy Murphey (arrived that afternoon), Maureen Fink, Bernie Kaisarian, Raquel Falero, Chanel chevalier and Pam Coleman, accounting supervisor from the Fiscal Department

Mr. Spiliotis introduced Joyce Hildreth, the new director, to the assembly. She expressed great pleasure to be part of the meeting and pledged that she will commit to attending at least two of each year’s meetings and will try to attend all meetings. Mr. Spiliotis gave a brief overview of the committee’s structure and its role in the management and development of the BEP, stressing that this is an active partnership. Mr. Elliott expressed his support of Ms. Hildreth, stating that it is a pleasure to work with her.

The minutes of the previous meeting were accepted without objection.

Mr. Newcomb reported that a 120 hearing is pending and will be heard in January. He also reported that progress is being made in recouping working capital debts to the Agency and this process will be ongoing. Mr. Spiliotis observed that the BEP needs to develop and implement a system for re-assessing working capital assignments and stated that the best time to do this is when a facility changes hands. Some locations have too much working capital and this should be addressed promptly.

Mr. Saunders made the following motion, seconded by Mr. Warth and approved by voice vote: The Agency and Committee shall initiate an investigative procedure for establishing a formula to determine appropriate working capital levels at all facilities and to make adjustments as needed.

Pam Coleman, accounting supervisor for DBS, has been charged with the task of ensuring that BEP is in compliance with the Fiscal department’s rules. With reference to repair reimbursements, she stated that it is crucial that managers keep their info on myfloridamarketplace.com current and accurate. Mr. Spiliotis said that if a manager needs help with this the Consultant needs to provide any assistance required to get this done. Ms. Coleman also stated that repair forms must be completed exactly as required by the Fiscal Department or they will be rejected. In response to a question from Mr. Schneider, she said that if the service provider mails the invoice without a signature but it shows a zero balance the manager may initial the invoice and it will be accepted.

Ms. Coleman’s contact info is as follows: 1-850-245-9342; e-mail is pamela.coleman@dbs.fldoe.org.

A lengthy discussion of proposed revisions to the facility expense section of the monthly business report ensued. Each item was discussed separately and some changes were made. Ms. Alger moved to adopt the revisions and Mr. Saunders seconded. The motion carried unanimously. Mr. Newcomb will be responsible for revising the report form in both word and excel.

Ms. Fink reported that the sole source contract with Crane National has been renewed after the company that filed an objection did not bid on it and no other company did so either.

Mr. Elliott was asked about the contract at Patrick AFB and said that he wants to involve NFB. He will report further at the next meeting.

Mr. Spiliotis said we need to define the direction and goals for BEP as we move away from food service and into vending as our primary type of opportunity. Ms. Murphey reported that no new State or Federal buildings are planned for construction. Ms. Hildreth said she would like to see BEP get the vending contracts in the Junior College system. Mr. Elliott said that if we did that he would have to find ways to purchase the necessary equipment. Mr. Spiliotis added that we managers need to do a better job of maintaining our machines, thereby prolonging their useful life.

Mr. Spiliotis also stated that each of us has a contract with DBS and that the consultants need to be empowered to see to it that we adhere to that contract. Ms. Hildreth expressed appreciation of the committee’s approach to building a better business program.

Mr. Spiliotis then stated that we need to give licensees the ability to succeed, not the opportunity to fail. This relates directly to the selection process and the Panel can and should use its discretionary authority to recommend that no applicant is currently qualified to manage a given facility. Mr. Elliott said that the Committee could add restrictions to the selection process to try to alleviate this problem. Mr. Newcomb added that he is developing a new section of the selection protocol for the panel’s use in stating its reasons for recommending that an applicant is not qualified. This will need to be presented to the committee for discussion.

Ms. Murphey said that on some occasions the Ops Director or Bureau Chief may make the decision not to appoint because they believe the licensee isn’t ready to manage a location.

Mr. Klindtworth stressed that the panel members are experienced, knowledgeable people with good judgment and that they all know when an applicant isn’t ready or is not the right person for a particular facility. Ms. Hildreth added that the panel might incorporate the use of what are known as “behavioral questions” designed to see how an applicant would respond to and also affect potential customers.

Mr. Spiliotis introduced the subject of VF180, the Ft. Myers route currently managed by Shawn Worthy. At the time he accepted the appointment a location was closed, thereby reducing the sales potential by about 15 to 20 percent. Mr. Spiliotis asked the Committee to remedy this by adding the vending at the State Service Center to the route. These are now being managed by VISINITY, and Ms. Murphey said that the change can easily be made.

Mr. Tuell moved to attach the Service Center location to the Ft. Myers route and Ms. Alger seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Fink informed the Committee that a new building owned by the Highway Patrol will open in 2009. It is on the same property as the Ft. Myers rest area. The managers of that facility and the route both want the vending and the determination will be made by the Agency and Committee at the February meeting.

Ms. Alger informed the committee that Jim Lover’s three-year term as a Selection panelist will expire on December 31st and that he has stated his willingness to serve a second term. She nominated him, Mr. Tuell seconded and Mr. Lover was unanimously confirmed.

Mr. Elliott presented an update on training activities at Daytona. Mr. Spiliotis said that the cafeteria there should be used in BEP training, to which Ms. Hildreth voiced agreement. New referrals now enter the first available module instead of being required to wait for a specific one to start.

Mr. Spiliotis recessed the meeting at 5 P. M. and reconvened at 9 A. M. on Saturday. All previous attendees were present.

Mr. Angelicola suggested that the $400 ceiling on repairs before Consultant approval is required might need to be increased and that $600 might be a better limit. The Consultants were asked for their input and responded that they rarely get more than one or two requests for authorization in a month. Ms. Murphey suggested that we leave it at $400 and the Committee agreed.

Ms. Alger asked the committee to consider modifying the previously enacted policy of hearing all grievances by teleconference, asking that we keep the option open for either that method or a hearing in person depending on the circumstances. Mr. Elliott objected on the grounds that if he were a grievant he would want his case heard in person and that meant that any grievant would want the same. No action was taken.

The next issue on the agenda was that of reasonable managerial presence, required in the Policy handbook but not defined. Ms. Hildreth stated her position that one cannot manage a business without being there in the field, and that BEP managers need to be in their facilities. Mr. Elliott stated his belief that managers of food service locations need to be on site during hours of operation. He also asked about the possibility of establishing a limit on the time/distance it takes a manager to reach his or her place of business. Ms. Murphey said that she believes managers of snack bars and cafeterias should be required to be on site at specific times.

Ms. Alger said that no restaurant can be adequately managed without an onsite manager present during business hours. Mr. Warth objected to any such requirements.

Mr. Elliott asked if the Committee will support the Agency in taking action to deal with managers who are not properly serving their facilities. The Committee expressed full support of this.

Mr. Spiliotis appointed a sub-committee to study this issue and bring some ideas to the next meeting.

Mr. Spiliotis said that we need to develop a policy that ensures that applicants who accept an appointment either do so or withdraw before the sign-in date. Ms. Murphey responded that such a policy is in place and that it is adequate. However, in a recent transition, the Agency erred in its application and she pledged that this will not happen again.

The next item discussed was the disposition of three facilities in District Nine. Mr. Spiliotis, Ms. Murphey and Mr. Chevalier explained the details of a rather complicated situation involving three managers and locations. The Committee agreed that the only way to make a decision was to vote on each of the options separately.

Ms. Alger moved to attach the machines at the VA Clinic in Ft; Lauderdale to VF455, the Federal Courthouse snack bar in Miami, Mr. Bluschke seconded and the motion failed by unanimous roll call vote.

Mr. Crosby moved to attach the VA Clinic machines to the Federal Courthouse cafeteria in Ft. Lauderdale. Mr. Saunders seconded and the motion failed by unanimous roll call vote.

Mr. Schneider moved to attach the VA Clinic machines to the non-highway vending route VF 257 in West Palm Beach. Ms. Alger seconded and the motion passed by unanimous roll call vote.

Mr. Newcomb asked that the selection process be amended to pro-rate debt owed on the same basis as late reports. He also asked that the LOFA points be calculated on the most recent 40 months under LOFA. No action was taken pending further study.

Mr. Newcomb also reported that the Selection Panel had declined to implement a section of the protocol approved by the Committee and Agency, citing as their reason that they felt it was “vague”. Mr. Spiliotis stated that although he could understand their concerns, the panel has no authority to selectively implement the process once it is approved by the Committee and the Agency. He will ask the transfer & promotion sub-committee to review and recommend revisions if necessary.

Mr. Tuell asked Michele Macomber to report on OJT activity. Seven new licensees have been appointed to Type I LOFA’s through the competitive selection process and one has a Type II LOFA. As part of OJT she tests hands-on skills and increases the level of skill requirements on an ongoing basis.

Roundtable discussion

District Five - Mr. Bluschke asked for clarification as to whether or not ice cream product is part of working capital. Ms. Murphey stated that an exiting manager who takes the ice cream machine to the new location must also take the product. If the exiting manager is not taking the machine then the product is part of the working capital. She will send a memo on this subject to all managers.

District Eight - Ms. Alger reported that she had been in contact with Tasknee Mitchell and offered to help her if possible.

District One - Mr. Schneider reported that the new manager at the Crestview rest area needs help with mechanical tasks and cleaning. He and Mr. Bluschke are trying to provide assistance.

District Three - Mr. Tuell reported that all is quiet as usual.

District Two - Mr. Gadd reported several new managers with no problems so far.

District Four - Mr. Angelicola report no problems.

District Six - Mr. Crosby reported no problems. He went on to say that with reference to the managerial presence issue the only real issue is customer service. Mr. Spiliotis appointed him to the MP sub-committee.

District Seven - Mr. Saunders reported that VF265, one of the usual problem locations, has another new manager. Russell Phillips will take over in the near future

Mr. Elliott asked us all to be available to our constituents by providing information and explaining changes to the business report form and other items as they come up.

Mr. Newcomb reported that Kathleen Warth has been elected alternate for District Seven and that Jim Warth is the new alternate in District Two.

Mr. Schneider asked if there is a comprehensive vendor contact list and Ms. Alger replied that there is not. The reason is that vendors move so often that it is impossible to keep track of everyone’s whereabouts.

Ms. Murphey reported that DMS plans to issue an “invitation to negotiate” for the food service and vending contract at the Carlton Building. We don’t know yet how this may affect us in other State buildings. Ms. Murphey’s only solid information so far is that DMS is going to put out a customer satisfaction survey to all State buildings.

The current plan for the Capitol building, subject to change at any time, is that Jim Warth will relinquish the LOFA on June 30, 2009 and DBS will close the cafeteria. We will keep the vending but not the 15th floor snack bar. The vending is not sufficient to support a stand-alone facility so it will be attached to a nearby location. None of this may come to pass as Mr. Elliott plans to re-negotiate the contract and if we keep the cafeteria Mr. Warth will remain as manager.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 12 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Gyorke Alger, Secretary

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

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