Florida Division of Blind Services logo

 

State Committee of Vendors

Orlando, FL - March 21 and 22, 2009

Mr. Spiliotis called the meeting to order at 10 A. M. on Friday, March 21st.

Mr. Klindtworth called the roll.

District One Steve Schneider; District Two Marty Gadd; district Three- absent; District Four Dan Angelicola; District Five Victor Rosario; District Six Randall Crosby; District Seven Tom Saunders; District Eight Gyorke Alger; District Nine Joel Rose; District Ten Ken Moore

Mr. Elliott and Ms. Murphey were present for the Agency.

Gallery Michele Macomber, OJT Director at DOE; James Wyrick, Aramatic; Ronald Moore, Ed hale and Shawn Worthy, three new vendors; James Warth; Dave Kaplan and Wednesday worthy.

Mr. Saunders moved to approve the minutes of the previous meeting and Mr. Rose seconded. The motion carried without objection.

Mr. Elliott stressed the need for all vendors to ensure that the consultant receive a copy of their business insurance certificate.

Mr. Rose offered a clarification of action taken at the November, 2008 meeting with regard to the disposition of a small vending location in District Nine. The machines identified as being at the VA Clinic are at the Board of Health facility. He then offered a motion to add the VA Clinic machines to the Board of health route, VF 257. Mr. Angelicola seconded the motion which carried by unanimous roll call vote.

Mr. Schneider asked for a clarification of the element in the current Selection protocol that authorizes the Selection panel to recommend that none of the applicants for a specific facility is qualified. Mr. Rose added that he too would like this clarified. Ms. Alger explained the parameters of this element, stating that the recommendation of non-appointment requires a three-fifths vote of the panel and that they are required to state their reason in writing, and also cite any documentation from the Agency that is relevant. She then reminded the assembly that the Selection protocol in its entirety is posted on the BEP web site and is available to anyone.

Mr. Spiliotis and Mr. Elliott added that all vendors need to become computer literate. Mr. Elliott said that he intends to end the use of snail mail altogether by March 31st, 2010.

Ms. Murphey reported that a new five-year contract has been signed with Crane National. The contract with Aramatic has been renewed for five years with one renewal option.

As of may 1st, the monthly business report will be sent directly to the Fiscal Department and all vendors will be notified of the new address. Mr. Angelicola opined that it would be more efficient if all revisions to the reporting form were made at the same time. Ms. Murphey agreed but said that it may not be possible. At the suggestion of the Chair, Ms. Murphey agreed to set up a conference that will include Pam Coleman and possibly the comptroller to try to refine the document and see to it that all vendors have the same one. It was stressed that all vendors must ensure that their information on the myfloridamarketplace.com site be kept up to date.

Mr. Elliott and Ms. Murphey reported on the status of the food service and vending at the Capitol building. The contract with DMS expires on June 30. DBS agreed last year to allow this contract to be advertised for private bids and to date none have been received. Randall Baker of DMS wants DBS to renew the contract for one year. Mr. Elliott stated that a one-year contract is not acceptable to DBS. He said that he wants input from the Committee about any changes to the structure and operation of the Capitol facility that might improve it. Mr. Spiliotis added that we now have some leverage with DMS if we want concessions on their part. He would like an open-ended term of contract. He then raised the question of how DBS would fill the vacancy if the current manager leaves for another opportunity. He stated that we must be able to assure DMS that a well-qualified replacement would be appointed, suggesting that we enact specific criteria for this facility.

Mr. Spiliotis then suggested that we look into what, if any changes in the types of services offered. Mr. Warth, the current manager, stated that some changes would be beneficial. He said that the layout of the physical plant is inefficient. He also noted that the employees need to be kept on the payroll when the legislature is not in session in order to ensure that well trained staff is there when the next session begins. This makes the labor costs unacceptably high. The equipment is old and some needs to be replaced. Mr. Rose suggested that we try for a 5 or 10 year contract with DMS so that remodeling would be cost efficient. Mr. Warth also stated that DMS does not currently maintain the elements for which it is responsible. Mr. Schneider said that this a critical time for DBS and we need to decide if a long-term contract is in our best interest.

Ms. Murphey said that at this time we don’t know what DMS plans to do, that they may decide to re-bid the contract. DBS is not entirely sure it wants to retain this operation. If Mr. Warth decides to leave at the end of June, it will be placed under Aramatic management until a determination is made. She also said that we cannot make a large investment in remodeling if we are on a short-term contract. She then offered the possibility of turning the cafeteria over to DMS and then converting the 10th floor snack bar into a convenience store. She said that we need to look at all the options and suggested the matter be tabled to the May meeting, at which time a business plan will be presented. Mr. Schneider, Mr. Warth, Mr. Spiliotis and Ms. Murphey will work to deliver a plan to the Committee in May. Mr. Elliott said that DBS will retain all vending regardless of what other action is taken. Mr. Spiliotis stated that he believes the Capitol has great potential and that we should make every effort to create a new business plan and maintain a visible presence in the building.

Mr. Elliott presented the budget report. The 1.6 million dollar cut in State funding to DBS resulted in a lowered amount of Federal dollars for the current fiscal year. Although BEP receives no direct funding from the legislature we are affected in several ways. Cuts in the travel budget have made revisions to the Committee schedule necessary.

Mr. Elliott then announced that with funding from non-legislative sources the RSVP software that will allow online filing of monthly business reports and set aside payment will be implemented in the coming year. He repeated the intent to eliminate snail mail, saying that this will also cut operating costs. The budget cuts will not impact our ability to purchase replacement equipment or equipment for new facilities.

Mr. Spiliotis mentioned that few new facilities are being developed and that soon new licensees may be unable to find opportunities. We need to be looking for opportunities in other venues. Mr. Elliott stated that he and Director Hildreth are actively investigating several ideas and will keep the Committee informed.

Mr. Spiliotis stated that the Consultants are doing a very good job of replacing equipment when needed and that the Agency should give them full support and back them up in the decisions they make. Mr. Worthy said that sometimes extenuating circumstance warrant the replacement of equipment before it is scheduled. Mr. Spiliotis agreed, saying that good sense must be the guiding principle. Mr. Spiliotis observed that vendor owned machines like the FASTCORP ice cream vendor seem to have a much longer life span than those purchased by DBS and suggested that we need to develop better ways of tracking repairs, possibly using the RSVP software. Ms. Murphey said she sees no reason this can’t be done.

Mr. Wyrick from Aramatic reported on his experience at the DOE cafeteria, now being used as the BEP OJT center under the supervision of Michele Macomber. He stated that DOE is a challenging location with a lot of building politics involved but that it is very worthwhile for the trainees. Ms. Murphey reported that customer complaints are at a very low level and that customer feedback indicates a high level of satisfaction. She stated categorically that all OJT needs to be in a single location with multiple trainees at the same time. She added that the training needs to include the teaching of supervisory skills. Mr. Schneider added that part of the training should be to emphasize that mangers must be present at the facility to actively manage, supervise employees, and oversee all phases of the operation. Ms. Macomber said that this is part of the OJT protocol.

The subject of retraining after LOFA cancellation was introduced. Ms. Alger presented a draft proposal which resulted in a productive discussion and a plan of action.

Mr. Schneider made the following motion, seconded by Mr. Rose:

A vendor whose LOFA has been cancelled for cause and wishes to remain eligible for future appointments must apply for retraining at the designated State Training Center within 30 days after the cancellation. Said retraining, if successfully completed, will eliminate the 15 point penalty in the Selection process. The term of retraining shall be not less than two weeks but not more than four weeks.

The motion carried by unanimous roll call vote and the Agency approved the plan.

Plans and ideas for the Seminar were discussed. Several workshops are planned as continuing educational opportunities. These will include an OJT overview by Michele Macomber; a Safeserv workshop and testing offered twice and conducted by Steve Moss; a repeat of the BEP web site navigation presentation by Jamie and Adam; several abbreviated mock interview sessions designed to allow vendors to become familiar with the process. Mr. Spiliotis will also contact Vendors Repair Service to see if they will do some training on the new coin machines. We will try to schedule a time for a “Meet your District Rep” opportunity.

Mr. Spiliotis introduced the subject of the selection test questions, stating that the test needs updating and revision. He suggested that individuals who are not BEP vendors should be contacted for their input, mentioning Michele Macomber, Steve Moss and the Consultants as good source references for adding to the bank of questions.

Mr. Spiliotis recessed the meeting at 5 P.M. and reconvened at 9 A.M. the following morning.

All previous attendees were present. Mr. Ed Sanders and family joined the gallery.

The usual roundtable discussion ensued and no major issues or problems requiring Committee action were reported.

Mr. Sanders asked t the Committee to revise its action with regard to licensees with LOFA cancellations. Mr. Spiliotis responded that a grievance is pending on the matter and it cannot be discussed.

There being no further business, Mr. Spiliotis adjourned the meeting at 10:30 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Gyorke Alger, Secretary

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

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