Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors
November 13 thru 14, 2015
Embassy Suites International Drive
Friday, November 13, 2015
The meeting was called to order at 9:05 am by Committee Chairman Tom Spiliotis. Vice Chairman John Klindtworth called the roll.
The following individuals were present:
Tom Spiliotis, Chairman; John Klindtworth, Vice Chairman
District Representatives: Lourena Mellott, District 1; Mike Renaud, District 2; Terri Bowen, District 3; Patti Fulda, District 4; Mitzi Tyler, District 5; Jose Quintanilla, District 6; Woody Matthews, District 7; Tom Saunders, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; Lilian Pemberton, 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, Business Analyst; Brian Ashworth, 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.
Department of Education, Office of the General Counsel: Brent McNeal, Taylor Wolff
Licensed Vendors: Alton Palmore, District 1 Alternate; Georgia Kellogg, District 2 Alternate; Phil Bluschke, District 5 Alternate; Brian Britt, District 7 Alternate, David Kaplan, District 9 Alternate;
Shirley Smart, Todd Bowen, Jim Warth, Sead Bekric, Paulette Williams
Rehabilitative Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Instructors, Steve Moss and Jill Richardson; Trainees: Mark Ogden, James Robinson, and Tasha Doan
Guests: Joe Urbanek, Chairman of the Committee of Vendors for the South Carolina program; Charles Wooten, Dan Kelly and David Genna, Vistar; Tom Castillo, Coca-Cola; Lea Nicole Parker, training applicant; Marion Matthews
Janet Chernoff provided the group with a review of the meetings held in May and August. The minutes had been sent out previously by email and the May minutes were approved in August. Bill Findley shared some good news and apprised the group that the Military contracts for Camp Blanding, Panama City Naval Air Station and Key West US Army Special Forces Underwater Training School were approved by the Governor's office on November 12, 2015. It is believed that calls made by Committee Chairman, Tom Spiliotis helped expedite this process.
Proposed Rules Changes, Florida Administrative Code
Brent McNeal and Taylor Wolff of the Department of Education (DOE) Office of the General Counsel have been working on legal matters that affect the Division of Blind Services (DBS) which includes the Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE). The rules revision process began four years ago, but has been delayed by many factors including staffing changes.
The Committee of Vendors met via conference call on October 21, 2015. Following the conference call the attorneys addressed some of the concerns raised and provided the group with a revised copy of the proposed rule changes. Once the Committee finishes its review of the rules, they will go to the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC) for review and then the general public will be given a chance to comment prior to adoption. The entire set of DBS rules are being reviewed.
Taylor Wolff reviewed the changes for the group. In many cases language is being changed to avoid redundancy or to make the language more precise.
Section 6A-18.042 addresses the requirement that a vendor must undergo a background check. Currently training applicants and vendors applying for a facility who have not had a background check undergo a Level Two background check. There was a discussion on whether all vendors need to undergo the background check and if vendors previously cleared need to be done again. A subcommittee will review these questions.
Section 6A-18.0421, 2b addressed removal of state property and funds from a facility. There was a discussion of what constitutes "state funds" in regard to working capital and it was recommended that the wording be changed to "state property" which would include any monies included in the working capital.
The group discussed the use of the words "may" or "shall" in that the word "may" allows the Division latitude to look at the circumstances of a violation before taking action. The more severe offenses have more severe penalties. A subcommittee will meet via conference call to review the table of disciplinary guidelines and report their recommendations to the Committee.
Section 6A-18.0421 covers conditions for removal from a vending facility. For items 2d and 2e the current language will be retained. In item 2j, firearms and weapons were defined and tools typically used in the vending operation were exempted. In items 2k and 2l, which covers the financial obligation of the operator, wording was changed to specify working capital repayment when the operator is exiting a vending facility and also listed set aside funds, commissions and any other financial obligations incurred in the execution of the LOFA.
There was a brief discussion about the selection process and Tom Spiliotis suggested that the selection process be kept fluid as the business climate and technology is continually changing. He also suggested that some policies do not need to be put into rule.
The committee suggested a couple of other issues that the legal team should review. Lourena Mellott would like them to investigate the program's priority at the Naval Museum on the base at Pensacola and Tom Spiliotis would like them to look into the solicitation by representatives of charities like Veteran's in Need at the rest areas.
Mars Flavia Coffee Program - Charles Wooten, Dan Kelly, David Genna
Representatives from Vistar demonstrated the Mars Flavia coffee system that makes single serve coffee. This system could be used in a micro-market and can also be used in offices.
Coca-Cola - Tom Castillo
Tom Castillo is a representative from Coca-Cola that will be working with DBS accounts. Operators expressed concerns about vendors not receiving DBS pricing when the prices are changed at the first of the year. Operators have been charged the wrong price and have had to wait several months before getting a refund or credit on the overcharge. Tom explained the changes in the Coke distributors throughout the state and gave the group a list of the three contacts in Florida. Coca-Cola would like to set up trainings for vendors throughout the state and will work on some competitive pricing for the blind in Florida for 2016.
BBE Training Class - Steve Moss
One trainee will be finished with OJT and two other trainees will be finishing classroom training in December. Another student will continue on with the next class in January. Steve Moss has been assisting vendor Dennis Iglesias with the operation of his first facility, Facility 415, I-4 Eastbound rest area.
Marketing and Site Development Updates - Don Meloy
MacDill Youth Center, City of Clearwater and Gulfport Senior Center have been added to Facility 500, Pinellas Park vending route. A Social Security Administration office has been added to Facility 590, Jacksonville vending route. The first phase of machines has been installed in Citizen's Insurance in Jacksonville. In the works are vending for the City of Lake Worth, Silver Springs, Anastasia State Park, Sarasota County, the state hospital at Chattahoochee, the MacDill Lodge, Pinellas County, CHI Miami, Tyndall, Sunland Center and the VA in Panama City. A statewide agreement for the Department of Juvenile Justice is in process. Some of these locations are already being serviced by BBE operators or third party vendors under contract to the BBE. A proposal is being developed for the Department of Children and Family (DCF) in Tampa. The program is recommending a micro-market and is meeting some resistance from the building management to our proposed plan.
Lourena Mellott asked about the VA facility at the Pensacola NAS. This facility already has a contract with another company and the program is unlikely to get vending where a relationship has already been established. Other VA locations that are future projects include a hospital in Jacksonville, mental health facility in Gainesville, and a clinic in St. Augustine. Brian Ashworth, Bill Findley and Don Meloy met with building management at a VA location in Tallahassee that is under construction with installation of vending scheduled for April 2016.
Don advised the group of a potential opportunity in prison commissaries. This is a very lucrative opportunity with a number of avenues for income. The program can partner with a company like VendEngine which handles inmate deposits and put together a proposal for the prisons.
Business Analyst Report - John Ahler
There has been a 5% reduction in reimbursements for the period of January - August 2015 as compared to the same period in 2014. Fifty-six monitorings have been done since March 2015. Some operators are reporting sales based on bank deposits rather than meter readings or cash register reports. This may be a good subject for a future CEU training session. John also talks to the operators about workman's comp insurance and the required work place posters. John recommends sending a link for the posters to all operators. John spent a week with the new operator of the Broward Sherriff's Office Complex Cafeteria, Facility 612 and the new operator of the snack bar at Kennedy Space Center, Facility 403. He has also worked with new food service operators in their facilities in Tallahassee. For the federal fiscal year 2013-14 sales were just under $20 million. Sales for FFY 2014-15 exceeded $21 million.
Type II - Maureen Fink
Twenty-seven facilities are currently under a Type II LOFA. Two, Kennedy Space Center headquarters snack bar and South Dade Community Health Center have uncertain futures. Two are special circumstances (an operator on medical leave and a location in transition pending construction) and three were awarded on the last selection cycle. Seven facilities will be available on the January or May selection cycle. Sales are being monitored at thirteen facilities to see if they would be viable as a stand-alone facility. It has been recommended that Facility 533, FCI Tallahassee be combined with 593, Tallahassee vending route east to make the route more viable. The VA facility currently under construction would be added to this route when it opens. Mike Renaud made the motion to combine Facilities 533 and 593. Seconded by Lourena Mellott. Passed without objection by all members present. District 4 representative was not in the room.
NFBEI Subscription renewal for 2016 - Tom Spiliotis
Woody Matthews moved to renew the NFBEI subscription for 2016. Benefits to the program included free advice on legal matters affecting the program. Their representative, Terry Smith travelled to the Biennial at his own expense and spoke to the vendors. He also accompanied Division staff to a meeting with the Lake Nona VA. Jose Quintanilla seconded the motion. Passed without objection by all present. District 2 and 4 representatives were not in the room.
Subcommittees - Tom Spiliotis
The Committee has six subcommittees: Grievances, Promotion and Transfer; Training, Retraining and Upward Mobility; Finance, Audit and Budgeting; Public Relations and Policy and Procedures. Tom will be asking Committee members to serve on these subcommittees. The Training subcommittee already has three members, Terri Bowen, Lilian Pemberton and Lourena Mellott. They have participated in assessment and exit interviews. A number of operators, including Don Tuell, Joel Rose, Tom Saunders and Lilian Pemberton have acted as mentors to new trainees.
The committee does not have a subcommittee for retirement planning. Operators could look into creating an association so that they can participate in an investment plan for retirement.
Compliance Officer Updates - Alan Risk
No grievances have been filed in the past nine months. The new period for CEUs started with the Biennial in August. No operators had to be removed in the 2013-2015 time period for failure to complete the CEU requirement.
Five facilities were offered on the September selection cycle and only four had applicants. Five operators were interviewed and four were offered facilities. This is the first facility for two operators, Mike McCrea, Facility 447 rest area on I-10 and Gerald Sanders, Facility 609 vending at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Two operators were awarded facilities that they are currently operating under a Type II LOFA., Randall Crosby, Facility 485 cafeteria at the Capital Circle Office Center in Tallahassee and Emmett Magee, Facility 286, Pensacola vending route.
Thirteen operators have been licensed this year and one more will finish OJT and will be licensed before the end of the year. A total of 14 new operators were awarded their first facility this year. Five of the new operators were licensed in 2014 and the rest were licensed in 2015.
Biennial Seminar - Janet Chernoff
One hundred and fourteen vendors participated in 2015 Biennial Seminar held August 28-29 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando. The seminar included educational sessions, a mini-trade show and the election of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee of Vendors. Tom Spiliotis and Jim Gaudette ran for Chairman and John Klindtworth and Jim Warth ran for Vice Chairman. Tom Spiliotis and John Klindtworth were reelected. Twenty-eight vendors received plaques acknowledging their years of service to the program and Tom Spiliotis received a plaque commemorating his service as Chairman of the Committee. Two vendors, Lilian Pemberton and Wanda Feldsteen were honored for their hard work and dedication to the program and their facilities. BBE Administrative Consultant, Janet was also honored for her contribution.
A survey was sent out to all operators and 75 people responded. The majority of the operators were happy with the overall scope of the Biennial, location and the time of year that it is scheduled. Most operators said that they prefer the opening session to be held on Friday at the beginning of the seminar and that they preferred the seminar to wrap up Saturday evening rather than Sunday morning.
Broward Sherriff's Office Complex Vending Route - Joel Rose
Joel Rose expressed concern about the viability of 617, vending route in Broward County. He requested that an operator be allowed to operate the route for a short period before signing the LOFA and also requested that the operator be given a stipend while operating the route. The route must be run by a licensed operator under a LOFA. Joel also asked why the FBI headquarters was not being run by the operator of the route, Facility 547 in the geographic area in which it is housed. The FBI requires a high level of clearance and the operator for Facility 547 has not been cleared. Facility 617 including the FBI location is being run by Lilian Pemberton who has been given clearance by FBI. It is too early to tell how much in sales these locations will generate.
Adjourned for the day at 5:00pm.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Tom Spiliotis called the meeting to order at 8:35am. John Klindtworth called the role.
Tom suggested that the meeting agenda be revised for a start time of 9:00am on Saturday with the earlier start time of 8:30am on Friday to accommodate the breakfast schedule of the hotel.
BBE Updates - Bill Findley
Bill Findley repeated that three military contracts, Camp Blanding, Panama City and Key West have been approved by the governor's office. Edward Spence was awarded the facility at Camp Blanding and Alton Palmore was awarded the facility at Panama City. The contract for Key West is a second option year.
We have been advised by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that the reopening of the two Leon County rest areas, Facilities 426 and 427 has been delayed until February or March. Once they reopen the rebuilding project for the two rest areas in Jefferson County, 571 and 572 will be started. There is currently no plan to renovate Facility 415, I-4 Seminole County eastbound but the westbound Facility, 416 is scheduled for renovations in the next year or two. Facilities 432 and 433, Skyway Bridge on I-275 are scheduled for a complete rebuild in two years. Facility 409, I-95 Southbound in Mims is scheduled for renovations in 2021 and two new rest areas are tentatively planned for Charlotte County, I-75 in 2021-22. The new rest area across from our existing rest area for Alligator Alley is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
The Consultants are working with operators on the new over the counter checklists which have resulted in a number of inspections with zero or minimal violations. The more proactive approach especially with the new vendors has resulted in compliments from building management and an overall improvement in the over the counter operations.
The program continues to work on VA locations. Talks continue with the Lake Nona facility in Orlando, but currently the program only has machines in three small locations. The program may need to get legal assistance to help obtain the retail store and vending in the main building. Problems at the Kennedy Space Center remain the same. The facility is not highly populated and the Headquarters building is scheduled to be torn down. A letter was sent to NASA on October 6 requesting that BBE operations be separated from the NASA exchange as there is a conflict of interest. The letter also requested that gift shops cease selling the same items sold in BBE snack bars and vending machines and to be consulted with regarding its business opportunity in the new HQ. No response to the letter to date.
As of October 2, 2015 there is $248,000 in the Bank of America account. $150,000 will be transferred to the spending account in November and that is expected to cover expenses into February 2016. Current finances are good and there is no need to increase or reduce set aside at this time. The program receives $43K-$44K per month from set aside. The program has requested an increase to spending authority to cover the recently signed military contracts. This is "pass through" money that the program receives from the military and pays to the vendor and their teaming partner.
The group briefly discussed ongoing construction projects. Department of Management Services (DMS) approval is required for any renovations in state buildings. This can result in a delay in a project. One such project at the State Regional Service Center in Miami has been a challenge. The operator was told by the Fire Marshall that he could not use the area he had been using for office and storage. DMS also quoted between $50-$90 thousand dollars to create a storage space in the building's basement for the Region Six consultant and on the 4th floor for the office/storage for the operator. The current BBE storage space has no electricity and BBE has been unsuccessful in finding a storage facility that will sign the DMS lease. The program is looking at private companies that have previously worked in the building in hopes of getting a more reasonable price for the work.
Regional Status/District Updates - Regional Consultants and District Representatives
Region 3 - Greg Coon
Vending at the Daytona Beach International Airport has been added to Facility 285, Daytona vending route. This route will soon lose three sites in Volusia County buildings that were awarded to another company on recent bid. Facility 378, Orlando cafeteria has had issues with cleanliness and pest control but the problems now seem to be under control. We are waiting for DMS approval to add hot water for the restroom sink. This facility needs to be upgraded in the near future. This region has had five changeovers since the May meeting. The micro-market in Facility 604, Federal courthouse has opened and sales are being monitored. Facility 415 is being operated by Dennis Iglesias as a Type II while the current operator is on medical leave.
District 6 - Jose Quintanilla
Everything is fine in District 6. Jose suggested working with students at the Deaf and Blind School in St. Augustine. The school has expanded their food service training and this would be an opportunity to develop interest in BBE operations either as employees or operators.
District 5 - Mitzi Tyler
Steve Moss has been working with new operator, Dennis Iglesias. Mitzi suggested that Steve visit other operations in the state.
Region 5 - Jim Carper
The rest rooms at Facilities 430 and 431 I-95 rest areas in St. Lucie will be closed for the next couple of months for renovations. Temporary facilities have been installed and the operators have posted signs advising customers that the vending is still available. Joe Bragg signed into Facility 612, Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO) cafeteria and is seeing an increase in sales every day. Lilian Pemberton is operating Facility 617, Broward Law Enforcement vending. Another location is expected to be added to the route soon.
District 9 - Joel Rose
District 9 will be having a holiday party on December 12. David Kaplan asked about the lack of security at the rest areas and said that the maintenance company is not doing a good job. The maintenance contract for this area is up for bid which may result in a change.
Region 1 - Brian Ashworth
Gerald Sanders will be taking over Facility 609 in December. Emmett Magee has been awarded Facility 286 on a Type I. Randall Crosby was awarded Facility 485, Cafeteria at Capital Circle Office Center on a Type I. Third party vendors have been contacted about operating Facility 532, Marianna FCI until a licensed operator can be found to run the facility. New kitchen appliances have been installed in Facility 371, FDLE cafeteria and replacement of the serving line is planned. Sales in this facility have improved and the operator recently had the second highest sales in the history of the facility. Facility 545, Twin Towers snack bar is scheduled for a remodel the week of Thanksgiving. The program is investigating the possibility of a micro- market on the first floor of the Turlington Building, Facility 361.
District 1 - Lourena Mellott
Lourena had nothing to add to Brian's report.
District 2 - Mike Renaud
Mike had nothing to add. The committee was asked to recognize Mike Renaud's efforts in the Turlington Building. They have improved the status of the facility with the DOE administration.
Region 6 - Alejandro Garcia
Facility 348, snack bar in the State Regional Service Center has received new floors, a paint job and the serving line will be replaced. Facility 455, snack bar in the Federal Justice Center has a new counter and the operator, Daniel Ochoa has sales of $500-$700 per day. Justino Colon, Facility 156, Dade County Justice Building made $3,500 on the opening day of the temporary snack bar on the first floor. Guillermo Alvarez, Facility 614, Doral route has increased sales from $4,000 to $7,000-$8,000 per month.
District 10 - Lilian Pemberton
Lilian has spoken with new licensees in the area. Laurel Lyew Sang will be working with new operator, Joe Bragg in the BSO cafeteria and Raiza Miranda is working with Faustino Rodriguez. There was short discussion about a possible organized effort to encourage vendors to hire licensed vendors who do not yet have facilities.
Region 4 - Tony Arduengo
Jim Warth is operating Facility 615, Hillsborough County Center on a Type II. A senior center in Gulfport and vending from the city of Clearwater has been added to Facility 500, Pinellas County Route. Woody Matthews has his website and an 800 number on all his machines. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce in two cities.
It was suggested that Woody Matthews and Jose Quintanilla would be good members for the Public Relations subcommittee.
Punta Gorda airport and Delnor-Wiggins State Park will be added to Facility 180, Vending route in Ft. Myers. Proposal for a micro-market is being put together for the DCF building in Tampa and vending in Sarasota will be added to Facility 555, Manasota vending route.
District 7 - Woody Matthews
Woody has been working with Don Meloy to obtain more locations for his route. Sales are better than expected at the Clearwater locations which are healthy snack locations.
District 8 - Tom Saunders
George Arthur is settled in his location, Facility 432 South end of Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Tom recently had problems with vandals putting out of order signs on his machines.
Region 2 - Bernie Kaiserian
Ed Spence signed into Facility 611, Camp Blanding on September 1. Ray Richards is operating Facility 610 at Northeast Florida State Hospital at MacClenny, Mike McCrea was awarded Facility 447, Rest Area I-10 Baker County and Jonathan Caudill is operating Facility 608, Tacachale vending on a Type II. Bill Perret is operating Facility 618, Citizen's Insurance on a Type II to get it started. The snack bar at the Jacksonville Police Administration, Facility 239 was recently updated. Currently there are three routes on the Jacksonville Naval Air Station and Bernie wants to look at reorganizing them into two routes. Two routes are being operated by George Colson and third is operated by Bill Perret.
District 4 - Patti Fulda
Patti is planning to raise her drink prices to $1.50. She will give her customers notice and will post the increase in their newsletter.
District 3 - Terri Bowen
Terri has spoken to new operator Edward Spence and is very impressed. She is looking forward to the new addition to their district, Mike McCrea
No round table discussion.
Adjourned at 11am.