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Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Embassy Suites, Jamaican Court
Orlando, Florida

Friday, June 8, 2018

Chairman James Warth called the meeting to order at 8:31 a.m. Vice Chairman Alton Palmore called the role.

The following individuals were present:
James Warth, Chairman
Alton Palmore, Vice Chairman 

District Representatives: Georgia Kellogg, District 1; Woody Matthews, District 2 Alternate; Mike McCrea, District 3 Alternate; Darryl Brinton, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Jim Anderson, District 6 Alternate; Sead Bekric, District 7; Steve Barnes, 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; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Don Meloy, Marketing and Site Development Manager; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Business Consultant; Greg Coon, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Alejandro Garcia, Region 6 Business Consultant; Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant. Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Business Consultant was unable to attend. Jim Carper, Region 5 Business Consultant retired effective on May 31, 2018.

Licensed Vendors: David Kaplan, Region 9 Alternate; Kurt Ponchak, Region 1 Alternate; Joe Bragg, Kliphton Miller, Edward Spence, Shirley Smart, Valerie James and Jennifer Hobbs.

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Instructors, Steve Moss and Jill Richardson; Trainees: Shannon Shelton, Joshua Kimrey, Thomas McCormick, Orlando Ramirez and Tammy Spain.

Guests: Virginia Bragg, Lamar Ward, Danny Murphy and Caya Hill of the Tom Spiliotis Retirement Fund.

Review of the March 2018 Minutes – Janet Chernoff

Janet Chernoff read a synopsis of the minutes. The full minutes had been emailed to all Committee members. Joel Rose moved to accept the minutes. Seconded by Darryl Brinton. Passed by voice vote.   

Remembering Don Tuell, George Arthur and Gene Harper – All

The program has experienced the loss of three long time vendors since the March meeting; Don Tuell, George Arthur and Gene Harper. Don and George were still operating facilities at the time of their passing. Gene Harper retired in 2016. Bill Findley, Jim Warth, Joel Rose, Lilian Pemberton, Alton Palmore, Maureen Fink, Tony Arduengo, Bernie Kaiserian, Steve Barnes and Woody Matthews shared their thoughts about the trio.   

BBE Updates – Bill Findley

The program will be experiencing some changes with the Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) staff. Jim Carper, Region 5 Business Consultant retired effective May 31, 2018. Don Meloy, Marketing and Site Development Manager will retire on July 6, 2018. The marketing manager position has been advertised and the consultant position will be advertised in the near future. Danny Strain, snack bar trainer at the Daytona Rehab Center has accepted another position at the Center. His position will be advertised soon. Jill Richardson, BBE instructor at the center will also be retiring in November and a replacement will need to be secured. Maureen Fink will be doing the visitations in Region 5 until a new consultant is hired. Alejandro Garcia, Region 6 Consultant will be overseeing the Broward Sherriff’s Office cafeteria, Broward County Government Center snack bar and the Palm Beach County vending route operated by new licensee, Antonio Gonzalez.

No new information is available on dates and locations for the BLAST conference in 2019. The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) is having trouble securing an appropriate location on the preferred dates. A conference call is planned for the week of June 11, 2018 to discuss options. 

A meeting is planned on Friday, June 15, 2018 with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to discuss vending machines in Florida State Parks. The program plans to request that we be notified when a contract is ending and that the program be considered for the vending. The program could also contact the park’s Citizen’s Support Organizations to ask to be considered to be their vending contractor. The program would consider paying commissions if it makes sense financially.

The gift shops at NASA have been selling products in direct competition with BBE vendors in violation of the Randolph-Sheppard Act. Bill Findley sent them a letter delineating our concerns. A meeting is scheduled on Thursday, June 21, 2018 to discuss the matter.

In late February the program was informed by the military that they would be cancelling our contract with Camp Blanding as a “termination for convenience” effective March 31, 2018. The matter was taken to Federal Court and an injunction was put in place to keep the BBE operating the facility per the contract. Even though the injunction was in place, the military did not do any task orders for meals and requested that the operator turn over his keys on March 31. The judge ruled that the military needed to issue task orders and meal service resumed as of April 23, 2018. The BBE will continue to operate the facility under the current operator, Ed Spence per the contract pending an arbitration hearing. The program won the decision on the Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) vending and the Air Force is appealing the decision. The BBE is considering going to Federal Court to get the arbitration decision enforced. The hope is that a positive ruling on Tyndall will help the program get a similar ruling on the vending at Eglin AFB. An arbitration panel has been selected to hear the case regarding Hurlburt Field but no date has been scheduled.  

Just prior to this meeting, BBE learned that it did not acquire the budget authority it requested for the Pensacola Naval Hospital military contract. This was quite unexpected and has impacted the ability of the program to pay all of the military contract invoices for the last few months for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. FDOE/DBS has the funds but does not have the authority to pay out the funds. It is possible that budget authority from other DBS categories can be used to offset some of the shortfall. The program has received the necessary budget authority for 2018-2019 but may have to use some of it to pay obligations from the previous fiscal year. Bill Findley will continue to work with the fiscal staff and Division Director to resolve this situation. Later in the meeting, Bill was advised that budget authority in the amount of approximately $233,000 could be moved to BBE from Client Services and that it is possible this could be done over the next couple of years. Mr. Findley did not share a budget worksheet with the Committee at this meeting because of the unknown impact the change in the budget authority has on the program’s finances.

Shortly after the start of the 2017-18 SFY, BBE was informed that the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will require pre-approval for all expenditures over $1000. Many states, including Florida, expressed their deep concern about the negative impact this policy has and will have on its respective programs, RSA has relaxed its position and is now allowing the program to bundle expected expenditures for kitchen and vending equipment which has helped. At this time, RSA will not approve renovations of space in buildings owned by other entities. They are approving equipment that can be moved and renovations designed to make a facility ADA compliant. The program may need to look at other funding sources to pay for renovations of its facilities. The Deputy Director, Robin Goldstone Garcia has been very helpful in assisting BBE comply with the RSA requirement.

On May 31, 2018 Bill Findley, Brian Ashworth and Alton Palmore and his contract staff met with members of the Navy contracting staff and the contract officer representative at the Panama City Naval Base for a teambuilding activity. The activity was mutually beneficial and helped resolve issues and built a stronger relationship amongst all parties involved.

Tom Spiliotis Retirement Fund – Lamar Ward

Lamar Ward and his associates, Danny Murphy and Kaya Hill spoke briefly about the benefits of insurance and retirement planning. The fund had been started in 2017 but was dormant when the previous point of contact retired.  Lamar Ward plans to reach out to interested vendors. 

Washington DC Fly-In – Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson and Jose Quintanilla participated in the Washington DC Fly-in in May. Appointments were scheduled for interested vendors by NABM. Jim and Jose visited the offices of Senator Bill Nelson and US Representatives Bill Posey and John Rutherford. Commercialization of rest areas, the delays of US Department of Education hearings and military dining contracts were their three talking points.

Daytona Training – Steve Moss

Steve Moss and Jill Richardson introduced the current trainees. Steve told the group about the new vending training room and confirmed that Jill would be retiring in November. Each trainee introduced themselves and four of the five trainees indicated a preference for food service. There was a brief discussion about refresher courses for experienced vendors and whether the vocational assessment used to gauge an applicant’s suitability for the program set a high enough standard.

Credit Card Readers Discussion – John Ahler

John Ahler is working with USA Technologies to create an umbrella account for card readers used by BBE vendors. The program was able to use the account set up for the snack bar at the Daytona Rehab Center. The program plans to move all state owned readers to this account and is encouraging vendors to move their credit card readers to the state account. Readers moved to the state account will not be subject to transfer fees and may have a lower monthly device fee. In addition readers purchased under the BBE account will not have activation fees and USA Tech will assist with installation. Prior to making these transitions the program will need to make sure that individual operators will only be able to access their reports. Other issues include the amount of lead time needed to effect the transfer and how the transfers would be handled. The committee members discussed the vendor’s concerns about card readers on older machines and the viability of card readers on machines with low sales. Card readers assist in more accurate reporting and allows an operator to monitor a machine with slower sales. The group discussed allowing the terminal service fee to be claimed as a business expense on the monthly business report. Bill Findley advised the group that the program will allow vendors to claim this fee. 

Lilian Pemberton made the motion that card readers should be put on all vending machines. Seconded by Darryl Brinton. The group discussed concerns about putting readers on low yield machines. Several operators reported increased sales when they added the card readers. The readers provide documentation of machines with low sales and this information can be shared with building management when the program wants to remove a machine. If approved the deployment of card readers to all machines would take time and the program would have to prioritize. A voice vote was taken and the Chairman determined that the motion to put card readers on all vending machines had passed.

Business Analyst Report – John Ahler

John has been working with three new operators, Barbara Hale at the FDLE cafeteria, Marylynn Giles-Robinson, vending at Marianna FCI and Jeffrey Estebo, cafeteria at the Jacksonville Police Administration building. All three seem to be off to a good start. John will be working with new vendors Crystal Hughes and Antonio Gonzalez starting the week of June 18, 2018. John has been reviewing rollup reports during monitoring reviews and have found that some operators are reporting incorrectly. These operators submitted amended reports and paid additional set aside and sales tax as required. Systematic reviews of rollup reports are planned to insure that all vendors are reporting sales correctly.

Type II Updates and Discussion – Maureen Fink

A list of the twenty-six Type IIs was emailed to committee members prior to the meeting. Three were awarded on the January selection cycle and will transition soon and five are on the current selection cycle. Seven were awarded as Type IIs within the last six months and will be on a future selection cycle. One will be on the September selection cycle and one is scheduled to be closed in the fall for rebuilding. Two locations will be added to the second Orlando route that is in development and four routes are still being developed and the disposition of two are to be determined. Expired Type IIs will be re-advertised and new LOFAs will be signed.

Marketing and Site Development – Don Meloy

Don Meloy will retiring effective July 6, 2018. Don has been instrumental in the expansion of the program by adding both facilities and locations to existing facilities. Appreciation was expressed for all his hard work. 

Since July 2017 there have been thirty-two surveys, eight proposals prepared and nine federal permits and fifteen agreements submitted. Since the March meeting agreements with Orange County Courthouse, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in Lake City, TSA in Pensacola and Sarasota, Space Florida and MacDill Inn at the MacDill AFB have been completed. Other activity includes the installation of machines at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NSWCTSD) in Orlando and TSA Sarasota. The program is still pursuing opportunities at Tyndall AFB and in Lee County. Current projects include the Florida National Guard locations, Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, Secret Service in Miami and projects in Florida State Parks.

The program has continued to pursue VA locations in Bay Pines, Gainesville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach. The program has two machines in the Bay Pines Eye Clinic and a permit has been signed for three machines for the Mental Health Clinic. A permit has been signed for Lake Baldwin in Orlando and machines have been installed on the first floor and additional machines on two other floors are expected to be installed in November 2018. A permit was signed for the VAMC Tampa and machines are expected to be installed in May 2019. Don attended a meeting with Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) on April 12, 2018 to view current services at VA facilities and to discuss expanding the program’s services. VCS indicated that they would be interested in discussing a commission arrangement. 

SWOT Analysis Review – Bill Findley

In March the group did a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the program. The lists were reviewed and some topics, card readers and accurate reporting had already been discussed. BBE staff and the budget have become weaknesses with recent retirements and budgeting issues. Vendor involvement, aging equipment and coffee machines were subjects determined to warrant more discussion.

Grievance Panel Elections – Alan Risk

Circumstances have left two open positions on the grievance panel. Alan Risk explained that a member of the grievance panel has to get approval of two thirds of the Committee to get elected. He also explained the importance of the position and that panel members need to be neutral, knowledgeable and willing to ask the tough questions. Alan limited each representative to one nomination each for panel members.

The following were nominated for the grievance panel:
David Kaplan (nominated by Joel Rose)
Wanda Feldsteen (nominated by Woody Matthews)
Terri Lindstrom (nominated by Darryl Brinton)
Shirley Smart (nominated by Steve Barnes)
Jim Gaudette (nominated by David Stevens)
Kurt Ponchak (nominated by Georgia Kellogg)
Jose Quintanilla (nominated by Sead Bekric)

The voting was done by secret ballot. After the first round of votes two candidates, Terri Lindstrom and David Kaplan had the most votes but neither had a two thirds majority. Terri Lindstrom was selected on the fourth ballot. On the fifth ballot David Kaplan and Kurt Ponchak had received the most votes. Neither received the two thirds majority needed in the next two rounds of voting and the voting was suspended until the following morning. Adjourned at 5:15pm for the day.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Chairman, Jim Warth called the meeting to order at 8:34am. Vice Chairman Alton Palmore called the roll.

Grievance Panel Elections – Alan Risk

Committee members were asked to vote one more time between David Kaplan and Kurt Ponchak for the empty position on the Grievance Panel. The vote ended in a tie and voting was suspended until the next meeting scheduled for August. Representatives will be asked to nominate candidates at that time. There are four alternates for the panel so the delay will not affect the grievance process.

Compliance Officer Report – Alan Risk

One vendor has been licensed since March for a total of six new licensees for the year. Five of the six new licensees have already been awarded a facility and the other is participating in the current selection cycle.

The January selection cycle was impacted by the selection of Randall Crosby for Facility 407. Randall had previously been awarded Facility 482, Rest Area at Alligator Alley. Randall relinquished his claim to Facility 482 and the location was accepted by Ray Richards. Facility 494, Orange County Courthouse has been awarded to Ray and he relinquished it to vendor Charlie Richardson. Charlie had been awarded Facility 485, Southwood Cafeteria. Southwood Cafeteria was offered on a Type II and awarded to new licensee Crystal Hughes. Facility 622, military dining at Pensacola Naval Hospital was awarded to Ed Spence. Facility 272, Brooksville route was awarded to David Wermuth; Facility 606, military dining at Key West was awarded to Ruby Adams; Facility 575, I-10 rest area in Jefferson County was awarded to Jim Perry; Facility 532, vending at Marianna FCI was awarded to new licensee Marylynn Giles-Robinson; Facility 371, Cafeteria at FDLE was awarded to new licensee Barbara Hale; Facility 239, cafeteria at the Jacksonville Sherriff’s office was awarded to new licensee Jeffrey Estebo and Facility 466, snack bar at Kennedy Space Center was not awarded and is listed on the current selection cycle. Four additional facilities are on the May selection cycle including one rest area, two non-highway facilities and a snack bar in Tallahassee. Seventeen applicants are scheduled to take the exam on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Interviews are scheduled for July 9-10, 2018 in Tampa.

One hundred and fourteen vendors are required to achieve CEU compliance for 2017-2019. Eleven vendors have less than one CEU. Fifty-four vendors have less than two CEUs, twenty-nine have at least two CEUs and twenty vendors have completed the requirement.

There has been one grievance hearing since the last committee meeting. The claimant, a new BBE licensee resigned from their first facility on February 16, 2018, leaving a working capital shortage of over $6,000.  On March 17, 2018, the claimant filed a grievance with the Division, stating that the facility failed to provide an adequate livable income and the ensuing financial hardship they experienced left them with no choice but to surrender the facility. The claimant asked that their debt be forgiven and that they be allowed to pursue other BBE opportunities. A grievance hearing was held on March 29, 2018, in which the grievance panel voted unanimously in favor of the Division. In their decision, the panel cited the Florida Administrative Code requirement that a Licensee is ineligible to apply for business opportunities if they have an outstanding debt due to the Division. The Director of DBS concurred with the panel’s decision.

Three changes are proposed to the Florida Administrative Code. Information on the changes was emailed to the committee prior to the meeting. One change that was proposed was to update references for regulations passed since last rulemaking. The second change is to align rule with the current requirements for applicants to the program as listed in the BBE Manual. The current rule does not reference the required vocational assessment, assessment interview or recommendation by the Licensor as stated in BBE Manual 2.0. The third change was done because the Florida Legislature is requiring state agencies to identify rule infractions that are considered minor violations. The program determined that five incidents were considered minor infractions. The Division will issue a notice of noncompliance and allow the licensee fifteen days to correct the violation. The five infractions are as follows:

(a) Rule 6A-18.0421(2) (e), F.A.C.; - The use of threatening, discriminatory, harassing, or abusive language at the Vending facility.
(b) Rule 6A-18.0421(2)(h), F.A.C.; - Failure to successfully complete, every two (2) years, three (3) continuing education units (CEUs) of courses approved by the Division.
(c) Rule 6A-18.0421(2) (k), F.A.C.; - Failure by the Blind licensee to pay the Division for: 1. Initial working capital when due; 2. Set-aside funds.
(d) Rule 6A-18.0421(2) (l), F.A.C.; - Failure by the Blind licensee to pay commissions or other financial obligations incurred in execution of the L.O.F.A., following due notice from the Division.
(e) Rule 6A-18.0421(2) (m), F.A.C. - Default on any repayment plan between the Blind licensee and the Division for initial working capital, Set-aside funds, or commission deficiencies. Default shall be determined as lack of satisfaction of the balance on said debt, following due notice from the Division.

Concern was expressed by some of members about considering the use of threatening or discriminatory language as a minor infraction. Steve Barnes made a motion to accept the changes. Seconded by Darryl Brinton. Passed by voice vote.

2019 Meeting Dates – Janet Chernoff

Dates for 2019 meetings will need to wait until a decision is made on the BLAST conference. Janet confirmed that the group would like to continue with the Friday-Saturday schedule for Committee meetings.

Rest Area Fire Alarms – David Kaplan

David is concerned because DOT is removing the fire alarm system from his rest area. It was determined that most rest areas do not have fire alarm systems. David is requesting that he be able to claim a system that he would like to purchase on his monthly business report as an approved expense. Other vendors have security systems and cameras and these have not been allowed as an approved expense.

Sub-Committees – Jim Warth

The following vendors have agreed to serve on Sub-Committees:

Grievance -Joel Rose, David Kaplan, Shirley Smart
Promotion and Transfer - Lilian Pemberton, Darryl Brinton, Mike Renaud
Finance, Audit and Budgeting - Kurt Ponchak, Mitzi Bowen, Jim Anderson
Public Relations - Joel Rose, Alton Palmore, Sead Bekric
Policy and procedures -Kliphton Miller, Mike McCrea, Sead Bekric, David Stevens
Retirement - Alton Palmore, Mitzi Bowen, Steve Barnes
Training, retraining, and upward mobility - Woody Matthews, Wanda Feldsteen, Terri Bowen

Regional Status/District Updates – All

Region 1 – Maureen Fink (for Brian Ashworth)

On April 2, 2018 new licensee Barbara Hale took over the Facility 371, FDLE cafeteria from Wanda Feldsteen.  On April 16th a second micro-market was opened in Tallahassee at the Carlton Building. The Carlton Building is part of Facility 593, Tallahassee vending route. On April 25 new licensee Marylynn Giles-Robinson took over Facility 532, Marianna Vending Route from Alton Palmore.  On April 26th Woody Matthews took over Facility 572, I -10 Jefferson County Rest Area Westbound as a Type II from Randall Crosby.  Jim Perry signed into this facility on May 24 as his Type I.  On May 3rd vending enclosures were installed at the I-10 rest area in Jackson County in order to help protect the vending machines. On May 25th new licensee Crystal Hughes took over Facility 485, Southwood cafeteria from Charlie Richardson as a Type II LOFA.

District 1 – Georgia Kellogg

Georgia asked about enclosures for Facility 539, rest area on I-10.  The vending machines at this location are under cover so an enclosure is not needed.  Georgia reported that everything is fine in her district.

District 2 – Woody Matthews

Woody reported that Jim Perry was settling in to his location and the area.

Region 2 – Bernie Kaiserian

New licensee Jeffrey Estebo signed into Facility 239, cafeteria at the Jacksonville Sherriff’s office. The new café is under construction at the Jacksonville City Hall. This location will be part of Facility 513, Jacksonville vending route and will be operated by a sub-contractor. A micro-market will be installed at DOT as part of Facility 599, Lake City vending route. Facility 610, vending at Northeast Florida State Hospital is down to eleven machines and the location’s viability as a stand-alone facility is being assessed. Credit readers and the new location at Job Corps have increased sales for three Jacksonville routes by $10,000. George Colson is operating Facility 388 and 397, NAS Jacksonville vending routes. Card readers and new machines have helped increase sales for these facilities.

District 3 – Mike McCrea

Everything is going well in his district. He has Facility 610 as a Type II and is evaluating the location.

District 4 – Darryl Brinton

Jacksonville over the counter vendors are having trouble finding employees. Darryl is arranging a CEU class with Sea Breeze Food Service in June.

Region 3 – Greg Coon

Renovations of Facility 378, cafeteria at the Hurston Building in Orlando are underway. The renovations will include new air conditioning, a wall, flooring, paint, furniture and reconfiguration of the serving line. Facilities 408 and 409, rest areas on I-95 in Brevard County have both added card readers. All facilities in Region 3 except one have readers. Charlie Richardson will be signing into Facility 494, Orange County Courthouse on Friday, June 15. Four machines at the Lake Baldwin VA will be added to Facility 586, Orlando vending route. A Department of Revenue location was added to Facility 603, Ocala vending route. Fifteen machines were installed on June 8 at NSWCTSD, the anchor location for Facility 624, the new Orlando vending route.

District 5 – David Stevens

There were some issues with access to Coleman prison but it has improved. David has had problems getting clearance for employees. It took a year to get access for his son.

District 6 – Jim Anderson

Construction on I-95 is almost completed. He has heard that NASA is growing.

Region 4 – Tony Arduengo

Vending at the hotel at MacDill will be added to Facility 124, Hillsborough County Courthouse vending. Four machines at Lover’s Key State Park will be added to Facility 180, Ft. Myers vending. The program has been talking to Lee County about its vending for over a year. If the vending is acquired it would be added to Facility 180 and the route would double. Business at Weeki Wachee and Homosassa State Parks is picking up. These facilities are part of Facility 272, Brooksville vending route. Locations at the Dade City Health department and four post offices are scheduled to be added to the Brooksville route. Machines at the Bay Pines mental health facility have been added to Facility 500, Pinellas County vending. Washers and dryers were installed in the Hillsborough River State Park. This location is part of Facility 396, Hillsborough county vending. The program is meeting with the federal courthouse to discuss installing a micro-market in place of the vending. Valerie James is running Facility 432, rest area on the Skyway Bridge on a Type II. She has increased prices, added card readers and painted the machines. The facility is expected to close in November for a complete rebuild. Facility 482, new Alligator Alley rest area is expected to open in July or August.

District 7 – Sead Bekric

Kathy Warth continues to have water problems at her location which has impacted her sales.  Sales on Facility 500 are improving. Sead is talking to customers at the VA location and trying to streamline his route.

District 8 – Steve Barnes

Everything is fine.

Region 5 – Maureen Fink

Facility 257, Palm Beach vending route was divided into two routes when the operator left. Lilian Pemberton and new licensee Antonio Gonzalez have the two routes. The facilities will be monitored to see if the sales are sufficient to support two vendors. Daniel Ochoa has gotten clearance for the 613, FBI at Miramar. The location has been closed as a separate facility and added to Facility 547, Broward County vending route.

District 9 – Joel Rose

Joel had an incident at a post office when an employee kicked the glass in on one of his machines.  District 9 had a good-bye party for Jim Perry.

Region 6 – Maureen Fink (for Alejandro Garcia)

The operator of Facility 15, Dade County Courthouse snack bar received training on food cost and the square register at the Daytona Rehab Center. The air conditioning at Facility 348, cafeteria at the State Regional Service Center in Miami needs to be replaced. A coffee machine is being purchased for Facility 510, Krome Detention Center and new machines are being purchased for Facility 512, Miami FCI. Vendor Lonnie Wilcox retired and Guillermo Alvarez was awarded Facility 519, post office vending on a Type II. This facility has been posted on the current selection cycle. Facility 530, Federal Detention Center needs a new shoppertron vending machine as the one at the facility cannot be repaired. Lilian Pemberton indicated that there is a machine on the Palm Beach County route that is not being used.

District 10 – Lilian Pemberton

Several managers in District 10 have added credit card readers. She plans to give her customers an hour of free coffee when she gets her new machine so that they can learn how to use it.

Round Table Discussions

Jim Warth created a committee to look at the problems with the RSA buying group. The committee will include Mike McCrea, Sead Bekric, Terri Lindstrom and Mitzi Bowen. Mike McCrea contacted programs in several states and confirmed that the problem was not just in Florida. Vendors have had problems recently including checks that are incorrect or don’t come at all. The RSA website is not blind friendly. Lilian has contacted them to get payments for vendors in her district.

Lilian asked if the District Rep could encourage area vendors to maintain their machines. She has concerns about machines that have light bulbs that are out. Maintaining vending machines is good for the program and the vendor. Sead asked if the program could get USA Technologies to provide the Cantaloupe system for free to program members or at a discount. Currently the charge is $2 a machine. The group spoke briefly about the pros and cons of the Cantaloupe system. Woody Matthews suggested additional subcommittees to deal with issues specific to food service, vending routes and rest areas.  Lilian Pemberton asked about a mentoring subcommittee.  Members of the training subcommittee help mentor training applicants and new trainees establish relationships with their work experience and OJT trainers and other vendors during training.

Georgia Kellogg moved to adjourn the meeting.  Seconded by Steve Barnes.  Adjourned at 10:38am.

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

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