Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors
February 21-22, 2014
Embassy Suites, International Drive, Orlando Fl.
Friday, February 21, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 9am by Committee Chairman Tom Spiliotis. Vice Chairman John Klindtworth called the roll.
The following persons were present:
Tom Spiliotis, Chairman
John Klindtworth, Vice Chairman
District Representatives: Lourena Mellott, District 1; Mike Renaud, District 2; Don Tuell, District 3; Bill Perret, District 4; Steve Barnes, District 5; Brian McKenney, District 6; Charles Hackney, District 7; Gyorke Alger, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; and Jesus Villeda, District 10.
Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff: Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; Don Meloy, Marketing and Site Development Manager; John Ahler, Region 1 Business Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Business Consultant; Greg Coon, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Jim Carper, Region 5 Business Consultant Alejandro Garcia, Region 6 Business Consultant, Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant; and Marilyn Cain, Administrative Assistant I.
Licensed Vendors: Terri Bowen, District 1 Alternate, Mitzi Tyler, District 6 Alternate; Woody Matthews, District 7 Alternate, Tom Saunders, District 8 Alternate; David Kaplan, District 9 Alternate; Troy Arthur, Dennis Horn, and Shirley Smart
Rehabilitative Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Instructors, Steve Moss and Jill Richardson. Trainees: Christopher Franks, Jeffery Perkins, Dennis Iglesias and Guillermo Alvarez.
Guests: Ruby Adams, training candidate; DJ Hackney, Marion Matthews and Sueli Sookdeo
Bill Findley introduced Marilyn Cain, new Administrative Assistant for the Bureau of Business Enterprise. Marilyn read the synopsis of the minutes of the November 2013 meeting. A full copy of the minutes had been emailed previously to the committee members. Joel Rose moved to accept the full meeting minutes as written. Seconded by Lourena Mellott. Passed without objection.
BBE updates – Bill Findley
Currently sales are trending in the right direction. For the period of October 2013-December 2013 sales were $4,513,000 compared to $4,300,000 for the same period in 2012. In May 2013 the committee voted to lower the set aside from 6% to 5% for the period of one year. This resulted in $11,000 less in set aside payments for the October – December period even with the increase in sales. As of December 31, 2013 there is $328,000 in the set aside account. It is expected that only $20,000 more will need to be transferred before the end of the fiscal year.
For military contracts such as Eglin and Key West the money is received from the Department of Defense and paid to Blackstone Consulting in the case of Eglin and to the vendor and Blackstone in the case of Key West. The operator’s salary is determined by the contract. The vendor pays set aside on this income. The contract is up this fall for Eglin and the hope is that it will be renewed. We have filed for arbitration on Tyndall AFB. A positive outcome for this arbitration would allow us to bid. A favorable decision in the Fort Campbell, KY arbitration, a similar case was favorable to Randolph-Sheppard.
John Klindtworth asked about repairs costs as compared to the previous year. There was a discussion on the impact of the Fastcorp machine problems on these costs. To date an estimated labor cost of $3,000 has been spent to repair new or fairly new machines. The company provides replacement parts but currently does not cover labor. Twenty to twenty-five percent of the recently purchased machines have had problems. Fastcorp was recently purchased and the hope is that there will be a better relationship with the new company. Operators with the new machines should be surveyed to get specifics on the problems with the machines.
Bill Findley contacted DOT about the review that they were planning to do on the rest area facilities and to date there are no new developments. The BBE is working with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to put vending machines in Silver Springs State Park as well as other Florida State Parks. There are contractual issues between DEP and DOE. The Bureau continues to have problems with Veteran’s Canteen Service obstructing our efforts in new facilities. There have been some victories, but the Tampa VA has been challenging.
Bill Findley, Maureen Fink, Greg Coon and DBS Director, Robert Doyle had a meeting with Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in November. Areas of concern are the competition from the gift shops at the center and the status of Brian McKenney’s snack shop in the HQ building. No new information was forthcoming. KSC has seen a decline in population from 20,000 people to a total of 5000 over the last four years. Brian McKenney’s building has a population of 200 and is scheduled for demolition. We continue to monitoring the situation. There is the hope that additional opportunities will come available as Space Florida expands.
In November 2013 BBE staff met prior to the Committee meeting to analyze the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to the program. A follow up meeting was held in January 2014. The meetings resulted in four projects. The first concerns our relationship with Coke. Bill Findley, Tom Spiliotis, Maureen Fink, Joel Rose and Jim Carper will be meeting with Coke on March 4 to discuss the criteria for placing machines. The second project is developing better ways to measure success. The staff brainstormed on this at the Consultants meeting. The third project concerned contracts with third party vending, Browning, Crane and American Food and Vending. The RFP for the third party vending will be finished within the next couple of weeks. The final project is to develop a way to report when commissions and rents are required by the location.
BC Coffee- Rick Gnatowsky
Rick Gnatowsky presented to the committee. His company is expanding into snack foods and provided information on services available to BBE vendors.
A & M equipment – Joe Nichols
Joe Nichols with A & M equipment presented information on the equipment they provide and information available on their website. A & M has webinars available to vendors.
Daytona Class – Steve Moss
Steve introduced the members of the current classes. One class will be finishing up Friday, February 28 and the other class is half way through. One trainee was unable to attend as she had to return home to deal with a family emergency. The manager of the snack bar is now doing his monthly business report on line. The vending training room has a water supply and the trainees will be able to make coffee with the coffee machine. A new manager has been hired for the cafeteria and the training class will resume training there in the near future.
New Licensees – Alan Risk
For Federal fiscal years of 2012-2013 (October 2011-September 2013) 29 vendors have been licensed. As of March 1, 2014 25 of the 29 vendors licensed have been awarded facilities. One chose not to pursue opportunities with BBE. Three vendors licensed during the 2013 fiscal year have not yet been awarded their first facility. The average wait time for their first facility was 96 days. Of the 25 facilities awarded, eight were snack bars, seven were cafeterias, eight were non-highway vending, and two were highway vending. The two highway vending facilities were Crestview/Ponce De Leon and Fort Meyers.
Grievance – Steve Barnes, Jesus Villeda
The subcommittee has nothing to report at this time.
Promotion and Transfer – Lourena Mellott, Don Tuell, Terri Bowen
The subcommittee recommended that the consultant questionnaire that is currently worth ten points should be examined. They recommend that the selection panel have input into any changes in the process.
Training, Retraining and Upward mobility – Charles Hackney, Bill Perret
The subcommittee members are active in the process. They participate in the assessment interview prior to training and the exit interview after the licensure exam. They believe that the counselors are doing a better job selecting applicants with an aptitude for business.
Finance, Audit and Budgeting – John Klindtworth, Mike Renaud
They recommended that the set aside amount be reviewed at six month intervals. Also recommended is that a minimum amount for the set aside account be established. The suggested amount was $300,000. They suggested that the way repairs are handled should be examined and a schedule set. Mike Renaud said that the $400 limit for repairs should be clarified. Agency staff confirmed that a repair over $400 has to be approved by the consultant but that it is still the vendor’s responsibility to pay for the repair and be reimbursed. Operators should keep a log of all repairs so that it can be determined whether equipment should be repaired or replaced. Operators should do preventive maintenance on equipment and be reimbursed.
Public Relations – Brian McKenney, Woody Matthews, Mitzi Tyler
The subcommittee recommended that a video be produced that would an appeal to the general public, colleges, Lighthouse facilities, and DBS offices. This will help the general public be more aware of our program. It was suggested that we approach a video training academy to produce the video for free. Bill Findley shared the current BBE promotions. There is a brochure on the program and also a marketing packet for prospective locations. The BBE staff will be talking to Lighthouse staff and Board Members about the program. Bill Findley has a meeting scheduled with the Miami Lighthouse development director in March.
Policy – Gyorke Alger, Tom Saunders
Nothing to report at this time.
Contracts – Joel Rose, David Kaplan
The subcommittee will be represented at the Coke meeting next month and hopes to schedule a similar meeting with Pepsi. The subcommittee is interested in pricing and the agency is interested in the placement of machines in locations. We would like Coke to treat the BBE vendors as a program rather than as individual operators.
Type IIs – Maureen Fink
There are currently 20 Type IIs plus three locations being operated by American Food and Vending. Two were closed, Jackson Memorial and City Hall Annex in Jacksonville, and two have an uncertain future, the snack bar at KSC and South Dade Community Health Center. Seven Type II’s are on the current selection cycle and seven others are being monitored to determine viability. Three facilities are assigned but not yet open.
Monitoring – Maureen Fink
Lawrence Batterton did not attend the meeting. Eighty-four monitorings have been done including the eleven done in 2014. Overall vendors have improved in their reporting and are learning the value of a monthly inventory.
Compliance Officers Report – Alan Risk
The January Selection cycle is currently in progress. Eight business opportunities were advertised. Twenty-six applications were originally received. One applicant was disqualified due to failure to be in CEU compliance. One applicant withdrew prior to the examination. Twenty-four applicants took the selection cycle examination.
Of the 116 active vendors, 99 vendors have completed half of the CEU requirements. Nine vendors have zero CEUs. Twenty-one vendors have completed the CEU requirement. Eight vendors are exempt because they have just completed training. CEU opportunities include the A&M webinar and Hadley webinars. Opportunities for CEUs will be announced to the appropriate vendors.
Grievance Hearing: In November, 2013, the complainant applied for a Type II opportunity at the new Veterans Administration Polytrauma location in Tampa. The Selection Panel, after interviewing several candidates, selected another vendor for this facility. The complainant asked for a grievance hearing based upon alleged discrimination in the Panel’s decision, claiming the reasons given for why they were not selected was that they didn’t know how to clean a coffee machine, that they were not incorporated, and that they lacked transportation. The complainant claimed that the Division continues to give multiple locations to existing operators while denying employment opportunities to new licensees.
After reviewing the facts of the case, the grievance panel voted unanimously in favor of the Division and determined that no discrimination took place in the selection of this location. The Director agreed with the grievance panel’s decision.
Administrative Hearing: The complainant disagreed with the Grievance Board’s ruling in the above mentioned grievance hearing and has requested a Chapter 120 Administrative hearing. The hearing is scheduled for March 5, 2014.
DBPR requirements in regard to ice cream machines were discussed. Locations that are under the Department of Agriculture do not need DBPR licenses. If the legislature decides that Agriculture does not have to inspect our facilities, operators may need to get a license from DBPR and may need to take the ServSafe exam.
Marketing and Site Development – Don Meloy
Don Meloy reported on status of locations in all six regions. Locations he is working on include the VA in Panama City and Tallahassee, Army Reserve Center, Northeast Training Center, Northeast Florida Hospital, Marion County Courthouse, Silver Springs, Border Protection, FBI in Miramar, Tampa VA and the Richard Gerstein Justice Building in Miami. There was a brief discussion about the Northeast Florida State Hospital. The vending in this facility will use tokens that are worth 85 cents each. A positive article about licensed vendor, Tom Loveday in Ocala Star Banner, was read to all present.
Adjourned for the day at 5pm.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 8:30am by Committee Chairman, Tom Spiliotis. Vice Chairman, John Klindtworth called the role.
At the committee meeting in May 2013, Charles Hackney made the motion that the committee pay for NFBI subscription. At that time the motion failed for lack of a second. Tom Spiliotis recommended that the committee reconsider the subscription. The cost is $3,500. Terry Smith with the NFBI has been very supportive of the Florida Program. He has provided valuable information and legal advice at no charge and is working with the VA in Washington DC to get more opportunities for the vendors in the Randolph Sheppard program. He hopes to be meeting with the VA Canteen Service Director in the near future. The $3,500 would be paid out of set aside funds. There was a brief discussion of the pros and cons and Mike Renaud expressed concern that supporting this group would leave the program open to solicitations from other similar groups. Bernie Kaiserian said that the program needs a national voice to make headway with the VA. Joel Rose made the motion to support the NFBI with a one year subscription. Seconded by Bill Perret. Passed 8 – 2. The representatives from District 2 and 6 voted against the subscription.
At a recent meeting of the Florida Chapter of National Federation of the Blind a resolution was passed criticizing the training and selection process of the BBE program. No one from the program was contacted prior to the resolution being passed, even though two operators and the DBS director were in attendance at the meeting. The resolution was not posted in advance for members to read. Bill Findley is going to request that the NFB be asked to provide examples and to clarify some of the questions. Shirley Smart recommended that an operator be on the board of this organization so that we can have a voice in these types of resolutions.
Shirley Smart reported on the Sagebrush convention in Las Vegas. Topics presented include healthy vending legislation, IRS access to digital files, and the commercialization of interstates. Tom Spiliotis feels that agency personnel should attend this meeting.
Healthy Vending Update and Discussion – All
There are no official guidelines yet on how nutritional information and calorie count will have to be displayed on vending machines. There is also the possibility that a minimum percentage of healthy items may be mandated in state and federal locations. Charlie Hackney is seeing a change in the type of products being purchased. Healthier items are increasing in popularity.
Managerial or Physical Presence at a Facility Discussion – All
The group discussed how to define managerial presence at a facility. This is hard to determine. A route manager may spend more time in the office than on his route. Vendors should be involved in the day to day operations of their business. Monthly reports and visitation reports can help indicate if there is a problem or improvement.
Regional Updates – Regional Consultants and District Representatives
Region 3-Greg Coon
Steve Schneider is operating Facility 478, rest area at Ocala I-75 North. Jose Formoso is operating Facility 408, rest area I-95 North Brevard County. Operators are adding card readers to machines. Victor Rosario has Facility 607, VA Orlando on a Type II. He is currently operating vending in three small buildings. The rest will open next year. The micro market in Facility 604 has been put on hold. The building manager resigned and we are starting over with this project. Tom Loveday is operating Facility 603, Ocala vending on a Type II. Facility includes State Fire College and Marion County Courthouse. Silver Spring State Park may be added in the near future. Phil Hubbard is operating Facility 586, Orlando vending route. Facilities 403 and 466 in KSC have seen an increase in business with the closure of the cafeteria and consolidation of the buildings. Locations continue to close on Facility 497, KSC vending route but less than in the past. Space Florida has plans to expand and the hope is that this will create opportunities for the program.
District 6 – Brian McKenney
Brian’s building is scheduled to be closed. In order for his facility to be viable, Brian suggests that the hours be cut and location be moved to first floor near the Subway or closer to the elevator. He also recommends that a kiosk be placed outside on the walkway in good weather.
District 5- Steve Barnes
Everything is okay in his district.
Region 2 – Bernie Kaiserian
Facility 102, City Hall Annex snack bar has been closed. The vending has been transferred to Facility 513, Downtown Jacksonville route operated by Sebastian Lenares. Facility 608, Tacachale was awarded on a Type II to Todd Bowen and he will be signed in the end of March. North Florida Evaluation and Treatment center was added to Facility 525, Gainesville route. The operator of Facility 401, Jacksonville Service Center snack bar Carla Chambers recently passed away and Junior Vega is operating it on a Type II. Arnold Eco is operating Facility 569, Hilliard Cafeteria. Sunpasses are selling well in the Welcome Center locations. Jim Parkman reports that he is selling 20-25 per day. Don Tuell has contacted Pepsi for a CEU class for Jacksonville and Gainesville. These will be scheduled for the late spring or early summer.
District 3 – Don Tuell
Two new operators are in his district, Troy Arthur and Marcus Armstrong at the Wellborn rest areas.
District 4 – Bill Perret
OSHA is making the operators on NAS Jacksonville move machines. Some have not been relocated.
Region 1 – John Ahler
Four operators at interstate rest areas found their coin mechs empty. There is a possibility that a Taser could have been used to disrupt the electric. Alton Palmore took over Facility 532, Marianna FCI in mid-December. Pauline Bush took over Facility 577 and 578 I-10 rest areas the beginning of January. We are waiting for legal to finalize the paperwork for NAS Pensacola, where there are 49 coke machines and 8 snack machines. John will be doing a Type II for this facility within the next few weeks. Three veteran operators, Steve Docie, Terri Bowen and Debbie Malmberg are accepting credit cards and have seen an increase in sales. There was a brief discussion about ordering equipment with card readers in the future.
District 1-Lourena Mellott
Lourena asked about the logistics of keeping card readers with machines during a changeover. The concern is that the readers are tied to the current operator’s bank account. Lourena has been in contact with new operators Pauline Bush and Alton Palmore as a mentor. She reported that her consultant is doing a good job and is the best consultant that her region has had.
District 2-Mike Renaud
The only concerns he had were covered earlier in the meeting.
Region 5 – Jim Carper
Region 5 has three facilities on this selection cycle. A site visit is scheduled for the new FBI building in Miramar. He has added a location to Jim Perry’s route in Lake Okeechobee.
District 9 – Joel Rose
New licensees that did work experience with Joel have been contacting him about opportunities on the selection cycle. January sales were better than expected.
Region 6- Alejandro Garcia
Facility 7, Jackson Memorial Hospital has been closed. Shirley Taylor retired and Facility 117 was award to new licensee Robert Rodriguez on a Type II. He will take over on February 28. Five post offices have been added to Facility 557. Facility 584, Community Health Center snack bar is still waiting for renovations. Agreements for Facility 597, US Customs and Border Patrol have been delayed again. The program has been invited to bid on the new Juvenile Justice building snack bar.
District 10 – Jesus Villeda
Jesus asked if someone could be asked to help an operator for two or three weeks when an operator is having problems. Jesus reported that programs in other states provide this type of assistance. There was a brief discussion about the responsibilities of the vendor and the Division when a vendor is struggling. Currently we do not have the staff. Vendors can reach out to other vendors when having problems.
Region 4 – Tony Arduengo
Bay Pines has been added to Facility 500. The police administration building scheduled to be added to this route has been delayed but may have more vending that originally planned. A micro market is in the planning stages for Facility 396 and it’s suggested that a kitchen at 1313 North Tampa Street could be used to provide food for the micro market. Hillsborough County location in downtown Tampa is unhappy with their current vending company and has inquired about a BBE operator doing their vending. Facility 605, Tampa VA, was awarded to Joey Garcia on a Type II. The permits are in process and Tony and Don Meloy are trying to identify places for vending as it appears the original location may have changed.
District 8 – Gyorke Alger
Everything seems to be going well.
District 7-Charles Hackney
The district has good managers and everything is going well.
Round Table Discussion – All
The group discussed the Veteran’s In Need group that currently has donation tables at some of the rest areas. Don Tuell and Tom Spiliotis have contacted DOT because the veterans managing the tables are not following the guidelines. DOT is not responding. Charles Hackney suggested that a letter be written to the Department of Agriculture. Tom has spoken to the heads of the group and is requesting that the group set up a rotation schedule so that there is less impact to an individual location. Alan Risk reported that this has only become a problem in the last year and a half. Previously DOT did not permit anyone at the rest areas. Vendors need to document incidences and send them to Bill Findley.
Meeting adjourned at 11:30am.