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Quarterly Meeting Minutes (Thursday, April 7, 2011)

Embassy Suites Miami-Airport
3974 South River Drive
Miami, FL 33142

Paul Edwards, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:40 AM with the pledge of allegiance following.

Council Members Present: Paul Edwards, Ted Hull, Jesus Garcia, Henry Alexander, Ben Grzesik, Bruce Miles, Dan O’Connor, Sue Townsend, Paul Kaminsky, Sheryl Brown, Dwight Sayer, Vicky Magliocchino, Michele Polland, Andrew Raines, Christopher White and Joyce Hildreth.

Council Members Absent: Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Joe Minichello, Donte Mickens

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff: Antionette Williams, Lynn Ritter, Beth Crain, Wayne Jennings, Gail Sterner

Audience: Virginia Jacko, Bertha Alexander, Bob Hildreth

Interpreters: Accessible Communication for the Deaf – Brenda Adkinson, Mimi Penate

District Administrator’s Report

Gail Sterner presented the Council with an update on activities in District Twelve.
District Twelve serves Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Employer Recognition

Gail Sterner, DBS District Administrator and Virginia Jacko, President of Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired presented Marriott Hotels Global Reservations a plaque of appreciation for employing individuals with visual disabilities. Mr. Chris Hoppe accepted the award on behalf of Marriott Hotels.

A photo was taken of Mr. Hoppe, Ms. Hildreth, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Sterner and Ms. Jacko.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind & visually Impaired

Virginia Jacko, President gave the Council an overview on the Miami Lighthouse by comparing data between 2004 and 2010. She summarized her becoming its president and the accomplishments made at the Lighthouse.

Morning Break

Committee Break-Outs

Planning Committee – Sheryl Brown, Chair

State Plan – Antionette Williams
Policy Reviews – Lynn Ritter

Evaluation Committee – Bruce Miles, Chair

Client Satisfaction Survey – Joyce Hildreth
Needs Assessment – Joyce Hildreth

11:30 AM Lunch

Meeting reconvened at 1:05 PM

Committee Reports

Planning Committee – Sheryl Brown, Chair

State Plan

Ms. Brown gave the Council a summary of the Committees discussion with DBS concerning the State Plan and a brief synopsis of the State Plan requirement for this year. The Needs Assessment with FSU was also discussed.

The Planning Committee moved that the Council accept the revised State Plan as discussed. Motion received a second and passed unanimously.

Policy Reviews

Ms. Brown informed the Council that a policy the Council did not receive to review was recently sent out by the Contracts and Compliance office. It states that contracts would be based on the cost analysis of doing business. The Committee accepted the new policy and the policies that were sent out for review with a few changes.

The Planning Committee moved that the Council accept the policies with revisions. Motion received a second and passed unanimously.

Evaluation Committee – Bruce Miles, Chair

Client Satisfaction Survey

Mr. Miles informed the Council the committee discussed and agreed to amend the current Client Satisfaction Survey’s dates so the survey will adhere to the State Fiscal Year. The amendment would be to end the current data collection that would include March closures, April 30th with FSU submitting a draft report to the Council by May 15th. The Council would share the draft report with DBS to review (for grammatical and technical errors only) and return the draft with any comments and corrections to FSU by June 15th. FSU would deliver the final report by June 30th and submit the invoice for payment. Dr. Stutzman would attend the July meeting and give the oral presentation to the Council. The data from April, May and June would be included in next year’s data as would each year’s contract thereafter.

The Evaluation Committee moved that the Division of Blind Services continue to contract with FSU conducting the Client Satisfaction Survey and the amended dates apply to this year and next. Motion received a second and passed unanimously.

Needs Assessment

Mr. Miles informed the Council the Committee asked Ms. Hildreth to check on removing the Termination Based on Convenience paragraph.

The committee discussed the Council being more involved with the Needs Assessment and working on the format each year leading up to the next Needs Assessment.

The Council favored the break-out sessions and would like Ms. Dill to check on securing separate rooms at the next meeting.

Bureau of Client Services Update

Antionette Williams asked Wayne Jennings to give the Council the expanded employment elements of closed cases.

The difference in numbers is based upon different reports pulling information from different places. One example of this is some reports pull closed cases after Eligibility and others pull all which includes applicants.

Total number of successful closures – 431
Number of clients closed as a result of restoration - 129
Number of totally Blind closed cases - 24
Number of partially or legally blind Closed cases - 153
Visually Impaired - 116

Rehab Rate – 37%
Number of veteran’s closure - 59

Type secondary disability at closure –

Note: Currently DBS does not have a reporting mechanism in place to report the numbers of each secondary disability category.

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Other Physical Impairments Not Listed
  • Blindness
  • Cognitive Impairments
  • Other Visual Impairments
  • Both Mobility and Manipulation Impairments
  • Psychosocial Impairments
  • Mobility Orthopedic/Neurological Impairment
  • Other Mental Impairments
  • Hearing loss, Primary Communication Auditory
  • Cardiac Condition
  • Hearing loss, Primary Communication Visual
  • Other Orthopedic Impairments
  • Deafness, Primary Communication Visual
  • Deafness, Primary Communication Auditory
  • Musculoskeletal Impairment
  • General Physical Debilitation (fatigue, pain etc.)
  • Other Hearing Impairments (Tinnitus etc.)
  • Respiratory Impairments
  • Communicative Impairments
  • No impairment
  • Cancer
  • End stage renal disease, genitourinary disorders
  • Manipulation Impairments

Total number of unsuccessful closures – 1151

Closure Reasons:

  • (Not Completed)
  • All Other Reasons
  • Client Institutionalized
  • Death
  • Deceased
  • Disability Too Severe/Unable to Benefit
  • Does Not Require VR Services
  • Extended Employment
  • Extended services not available
  • Failed to Cooperate
  • Failure to Cooperate
  • Goal(s) Met
  • Institutionalized
  • No Disabling Condition
  • No Impediment to Employment
  • No Severe Impairment
  • Other Reasons
  • Refused Services
  • Refused Services or No Further Services
  • See Case File. Converted Data.
  • Transferred to Another Agency
  • Transferred to Other Agency
  • Transportation Not Available
  • Transportation not Feasible/Available
  • Unable to Benefit/Disability Too Severe
  • Unable to Contact/Locate or Moved
  • Unable to Locate, Contact or Moved
  • Withdrew

Ms. Williams informed the Council that DBS was updating AWARE and more informative reports will be produced.

The council agreed to continue with Friday’s agenda since there was enough time before the Public Forum.

Approval of February Minutes

A motion for acceptance of the February 2011 minutes was seconded with no discussion. Minutes were accepted unanimously.

Location and date of April 2012 meeting

Sheryl informed the Council that FAASB will conduct the Vision Summit next January probably on the third Thursday (19th) and will try and obtain space in the new Capitol.

The Council agreed not having a Public Forum in Tallahassee in 2012. After discussion a motion to have the meeting on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning was seconded and passed. Phyllis will confirm the date to be in conjunction with the Summit.

Phyllis read a few proposals from hotels around the State.

Jesus Garcia moved to conduct the April 2012 meeting in Orlando.
Motion received a second and passed.

The Council agreed on April 19 & 20, 2012.

Agenda Items for July 28 & 29 in Ft. Myers

  • Needs Assessment
  • Client Satisfaction Survey
  • Employer Recognition
  • Legislative update – Director’s Report
  • Endowment Fund Foundation (DSO) Update
  • FCAT – Standard High School Diploma – Paul Kaminsky
  • Mentoring – Antionette Williams
  • Tabled motion on Assistive Technology

On-Going Agenda Items

  • Director’s Report
  • District Administrator’s Report
  • Local CRP Report
  • Committee Break-Outs
  • Committee Reports
  • Approval of previous meeting minutes
  • Agenda items for next meeting
  • Location of the following year’s meeting and date
  • Update of VR Goals
  • DBS Policy Reviews
  • Old/Unfinished Business

Director’s Report – Joyce Hildreth

Legislative Update

  • House and Senate have a gap in budget recommendation.
  • House has proposed $850,000 reduction from client services category
  • Blind Babies is 100% General Revenue
  • Library is 100% General Revenue
  • DBS uses other General Revenue to meet the need for seniors and non vocational goals and puts $2.5 million to service over and above the grant amount.
  • Blind Babies contracts total $1.6 million.
  • Services to seniors will be cut by 25% in July because of the stimulus.

Jesus moved that the Council Chair prepare a letter to Governor Scott concerning cuts.
Motion received a second and passed.

  • DVR and DBS were included in a bill that created the Jobs Florida Agency.
  • Senator Lynn gave a passionate plea to keep DBS and DVR in Department of Education.
  • The amendments were pulled and it was agreed to keep DBS and VR with DOE for this year and be considered again next year.
  • There has not been any discussion this session of combining DBS and VR.
  • The most significant issue is that DBS and VR remain separate where ever they are placed.

Ms. Brown informed the Council that under influence, Senator Wise was leaning toward DBS and VR being under the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) and with Bill 115 just sitting there, she believes a lot can happen between now and the end of session.

Council agreed that Paul Edwards contact and/or write a letter to Senator Wise opposing moving DBS under APD.

Assistive Technology – Paul Kaminsky

Mr. Kaminsky demonstrated the Canopy Reader and Victory Reader Screen. The cost for both is approximately $1,800.

Mr. Kaminsky moved that DBS provide the equipment for individuals that are on the Council.
Motion received a second.

Ms. Hildreth explained the DBS policy only allowed providing equipment for eligible clients that has a vocational goal. It will be a matter of resources and whether or not it can be done. She will have Antionette Williams check on it.

Mr. Sayer moved to table the motion until the July meeting.
Motion received a second and passed.

New/Unfinished Business/Open Discussion – Phyllis Dill

Action Items from the February meeting were completed with the following items being tabled to the July meeting.

  • Report on DBS applications for the Inter Agency Council for Infants and Toddlers.
  • The agreement between VR and DBS are still in negotiations and can not be discussed at this time.

Ms. Hildreth informed the Council that Paul Edwards drafted a letter to Commissioner Smith on developing guidelines to be distributed by DOE to technical schools and community colleges that provide instruction to the blind and visually impaired population. She stated that once it was finalized she will ask Mr. Edwards to come to Tallahassee and they will present it together. She believes it would be best to wait until after the session.

Meeting adjourned at 3:15 PM.

Respectively submitted,
Phyllis Dill