Florida Division of Blind Services logo


Quarterly Meeting Minutes (Wednesday, February 6, 2013)

Doubletree Hotel
101 S. Adams St.
Tallahassee 32301

Paul Edwards, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:05 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:  Paul Edwards, Andrew Raines, Bruce Miles, Vicky Magliocchino, Paul Kaminsky , Donté Mickens, Sheryl Brown, Dan O’Connor, Joe Minichiello, Sandra Martin, Dwight Sayer, Ben Grzesik, Lenora Marten, Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Leanne Grillot, Gloria Mills, Ted Hull and Brian Funk designee for Christopher White.   Aleisa McKinlay, Interim Director joined at 11:00 AM.   

Council Members Absent:  Christopher White

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff:  Antionette Williams, Wayne Jennings, Beth Crain, Ana Saint-Fort, Johnnie Slaton, Jeff Whitehead, Sue Velasco, Brian Michaels, JoAnn Carrin, Phyllis Vaughn

Interpreters:  Pam Hill and Shannon Simon

Attendees:   Tracie Inman, Kevin Inman, Roy Cosgrove, Susan Hoffman, Mary Stutzman,  Eric Martin, Barbara Ross, David Wygle, Bill Mercer, Mary Stutzman  

A motion to adopt the Agenda received a second and passed. 

Election of Officers

Dan O’Connor conducted the election of Chair. 

Nominations for Chair:

Dwight Sayer nominated Bruce Miles and Ted Hull seconded the nomination.
There were no other nominees.  A motion to close nominations received a second and passed.  Mr. Miles was elected by acclamation.

Mr. Miles assumed the position of Chair and continued with the election of officers.

Nominations for First Vice Chair:

Andrew Raines nominated Dwight Sayer and Sandy Martin seconded the nomination.
There were no other nominees.  A motion to close nominations received a second and passed. Mr. Sayer was elected by acclamation.

Nominations for Second Vice Chair:

Dwight Sayer nominated Paul Kaminsky.  Mr. Kaminsky declined nomination.
Paul Kaminsky nominated Joe Minichiello and Sheryl Brown seconded the nomination.
There were no other nominees.  A motion to close nominations received a second and passed.
Mr. Minichiello was elected by acclamation.

Council Business

The motion to approve the October minutes received a second.  Motion passed.

A motion to conduct the 2014 meeting in conjunction with the Vision Summit in Tallahassee received a second.  Motion passed.
Agenda Items for the April 2013 meeting in Ft. Lauderdale:

  • DSO Update
  • State Plan
  • Needs Assessment
  • Budget
  • Gifts and Donations
  • Project Florida Support Service Provider for Deaf-Blind
  • Relocation Expenses – Joe Minichiello

The Council agreed to conduct a public forum in Ft. Lauderdale.

Lighthouse of the Big Bend

Barbara Ross, Executive Director of the Lighthouse of the Big Bend (LBB) gave an overview of the Center.

  • LBB serves eleven counties: Franklin; Gadsden; Hamilton; Jefferson; Lafayette; Leon; Liberty; Madison; Suwannee; Taylor; and Wakulla Counties.
  • LBB serves clients from age 0 to 5 and 14 to114+ who are legally blind.
  • LBB has 15 staff.  Everyone except Ms. Ross and the Office manager does nothing but direct service.
  • LBB is fully accredited by the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Impaired (NAC).
  • LBB has five contracts with DBS.
    1. Early Intervention – contracted to serve 34 babies annually.  Currently serving 38.    $91, 494 General Revenue – No Federal dollars. Currently every CRP in the state is given $2691 per client.
    2. Transition - LBB is contracted to serve 28 Teenagers 14 until graduate high school and are currently serving 18.  Funding per client is $9,600 across the state for a total of $268,800. The summer program is 8 weeks of intensive services Monday through Thursday.
    3. VR Program – Serves working age individuals teaching job readiness skills and job development.  Contracted to serve 109 and currently at 68 clients. Funding per client is $2,442 across the state for a total of $375,000. Independent Living Program has two contracts. 1 contract 55 years and older
      Contract is for 98 individuals and currently over serving at 100 clients.  Funding per client is $2,100 across the state for a total of $205, 800.
    4. 1 contract under age 55 and can’t go to work.
      This population can’t have any Federal Match. Contracted to serve 16 and currently serving 19.  Funding is all State Funds; per client is $2,100 across the state for a total of $33,600.
  • LBB also provides Orientation and Mobility in all the contracts as well as computer skills and adaptive technology.
  • LBB will celebrate its 30 year anniversary July 27th.  Former names were: Rural center for Independent Living in Gadsden County; Independence for the Blind (IB); Florida Institute of Rehabilitation Education (FIRE) and currently, Lighthouse of the Big Bend (LBB).
  • LBB staff includes three who are blind: a Computer instructor; Independent Living instructor and the receptionist.
  • Each year, the Lighthouse holds the Paula Bailey “Dining in the Dark” benefit in the fall.
  • LBB’s website has a How to Manual for putting together a Dining in the Dark function.  The address is:  www.LighthouseBigBend.org 

Before continuing with the agenda items, Mr. Miles addressed appointments of the Planning and Evaluation Committees.

Planning Committee –

Sheryl Brown, Chair
Ben Grzesik
Ted Hull
Paul Kaminsky
Joe Minichiello
Andrew Raines
Christopher White
Vicky Magliocchino
Lenora Marten

Evaluation Committee –

Paul Edwards, Chair
Donte Mickens
Dan O’Connor
Sylvia Stinson-Perez
Leanne Grillot
Gloria Mills
Dwight Sayer
Sandy Martin

Executive Committee -

Bruce, Miles, Council Chair
Dwight Sayer, First Vice Chair
Joe Minichiello, Second Vice Chair
Sheryl Brown, Chair, Planning Committee
Paul Edwards, Chair, Evaluation Committee

Client Satisfaction Survey Update

Mary Stutzman, PhD provided an update of the survey since last year’s final.  It covered May through December 2012.  Highlights were:

  • They have reached a third of the individuals they tried to contact.
  • The survey takes from 20 to 30 minutes to administer.
  • Nothing has changed dramatically.
  • 51% of individuals stated they were a first time DBS client.
  • Over 40% of individuals stated they were clients before with 8% being from out of state.
  • Individuals’ receiving medical services was down from 54% to 50%.
  • Response from Counselor has maintained at the 78% level.
  • 95% response to Counselor informing them of the rights and responsibilities of the VR program.
  • 90% of individuals feel had adequate input in establishing their goals.
  • 80% of individuals felt their equipment needs were met.
  • 98% of individuals are very satisfied with independent living skills training.
  • 86% of individuals stated they were aware their case was closed.  This has increased since 2009.
  • 67% of individuals were aware of post-employment services being available.
  • 95% of individuals would recommend services to others.
  • 86% of individuals were satisfied with services.

The Council recommended that VR Counselors and CRPS inform the client, upon closure, that they will be receiving a call from FSU to conduct a survey on their services from DBS.

Vicky Magliocchino suggested that a message is left for deaf-blind closures and that the calls are made through the Florida Relay.

Employer Recognition – Ability 1st

Ms. Saint-Fort, District Administrator gave the Council a summary of Ability 1st and its relationship with the district.
Ability 1st is the Big Bend Area Center for Independent Living of North Florida.  Mrs. Judith Barrett is the Executive Director and Mr. Dan Moore is the Director of Programs and Services.
It is a community-based non-profit org that provides  crime victim assistance, community education, deaf services, mental health outreach, nursing home transition program, youth transition High tech, permanent supportive housing/leasing assistance)  to various disabilities. 

Ability 1st has between 20 – 49 employees and has hired two DBS clients that are blind/visually impaired.

Mr. Bruce Weaver, Independent Living Coordinator expressed his appreciation to DBS, Lighthouse of Big Bend and Ability 1st for giving him the opportunity to be where he is today.

Mr. Moore accepted the Award.


District Administrator’s Report

  • District Two serves 11 counties: Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Madison, Franklin, Suwannee, Gadsden, Hamilton, Liberty, and Lafayette.
  • Currently there are 11 staff: 1 DA, 1 Supervisor, 3 Voc Rehab Counselor (VRC), 1 Independent Living/Adult Program/ CP Specialist (IL/CP),  2 VR Techs, Staff Assistant and Word Processor, 1 vacant  position/ CSS.
  • Four staff is blind or visually impaired.
  • Goals: Closure 2011-2012  Total 57,  # of Veterans 3; # of Legally Blind 18; 27 Children’s Program; 39 Blind Babies; 114 IL, AP, OB; 20 Transition; 45 College Students; 105 VR. 
  • The College Counselor goes to FSU once a week, and once a month to TCC (Tallahassee Community College).
  • FAMU however, if client needs to see the counselor, home and office visit appointments are scheduled based on client’s schedule.
  • District Two continues to collaborate with the local CRP facility/ LHBB in ensuring that services are rendered to our clients.
  • The local CRP handles the following intake: AP, BB/EI and Older Adults/IL.

Update on Outreach to Underserved/Unserved

Antionette Williams brought the Council up to date on what DBS is doing about the underserved and unserved population.

  • The 2011 Needs Assessment revealed that 4 of the 10 districts were in low density areas (more than 50% of the population served is in a rural area).
  • The areas were: Pensacola, Tallahassee Gainesville and Ft. Myers.
  • The outreach efforts have included working with the Department of Health, local businesses, churches, libraries and doctor’s offices.
  • The Pensacola office has more than doubled the transition population because of its outreach.
  • Headquarters in Tallahassee has networked with the IT department on building a report that tracks and captures the data by districts, county, ethnic, the secondary disability and age.
  • DBS recognizes the deaf-blind population as also being underserved and has been working with DVR to provide services to this population.

Ad Hoc Committee Report and Needs Assessment 2014

Paul Edwards reported to the Council that the Ad Hoc Committee adopted 4 of the 5 goals from the 2011 Needs Assessment and added 3 more goals.  He informed the Council that because of the time the last Needs Assessment was submitted to RSA there is a substantial period of time for conducting this Needs Assessment. 

Goals adopted at the January 16th meeting:

  1. Identification and Status of VR Clients with Most Significant and Significant Disabilities
  2. Identify Minorities receiving  VR services
  3. Identify the Characteristics and VR needs of Underserved  Individuals
  4. Identify the Characteristics and needs of Unserved Individuals
  5. Identify issues that significantly alter the performance of unsuccessful closures
  6. Identify the degree of technological readiness of individuals in status 20 (job ready) for job placement.
  7. Identify issues with transportation associated with individuals getting to employment.
    • Because there wasn’t data involving transportation it was suggested a survey be given to everyone in status 20.
    • Committee suggested reaching out to consumer organizations and conducting focus groups that is broader than current DBS clients to reach the unserved and underserved groups in the transportation area.

Dwight Sayer suggested including the mobility folks of the Department of Transportation.

Ms. Williams informed the Council of new procurement process that may require getting quotes from other vendors before awarding the contract to FSU.

Aleisa McKinlay explained the difference between significant and most significant disabilities and how they relate to Order of Selection.  She stated that VR was operating under an Order of Selection.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that a significant disability is two or less significant disabilities and most significant disability is four or more functional limitations.  RSA is looking at barriers to employment or independence as the limitations.

Lunch Break

Meeting resumed at 1:30 PM.

VR Goals Update

Wayne Jennings gave the Council current data on the VR goals for the first, second and third quarters.

Number Served – Total 4282

1st  quarter - 3580
2nd quarter – 3615
3rd quarter – 3366
Total Number of Closed Cases - 1155

1st  quarter - 441
2nd quarter – 475
3rd quarter – 239
Number of Unsuccessful Closures                                                                          

1st  quarter - 314
2nd quarter – 315
3rd quarter – 168
Total – 797

Number of Successful Closures – Total 358

1st  quarter – 127 included:
   Partially or Legally Blind - 59
   Other Visually Impaired – 27
   Totally Blind – 13
   As result of Restoration - 28
   Total - 170

2nd quarter – 160 included:
   Partially or Legally Blind - 81
   Other Visually Impaired – 41
   Totally Blind – 18
   As result of Restoration - 20
   Total 87

3rd quarter – 71 included:
   Partially or Legally Blind - 30
   Other Visually Impaired – 19
   Totally Blind – 7
   As result of Restoration - 15
   Total - 63

Rehabilitation Rate Percentages – Total 31%

1st  quarter – 29%
2nd quarter – 34%
3rd quarter – 30%

Number of Veterans Closures

1st  quarter – 2
2nd quarter – 7
3rd quarter – 4

Digital Learning

Leanne Grillot went over the following with the Council:

  • DSB is working with online learning providers to evaluate the courses offered and the accessibility features available.
  • Currently Florida Virtual School has signed on for this review from DBS.
  • Ms. Grillot has been involved in the review of full time online providers and 508 compliance. This review is basic but does encourage correct formatting for accessibility.
  • You may contact Center for Online Learning and Students with Disabilities at: http://centerononlinelearning.org/
  • The COLSD workgroup has picked three main areas for research, in conjunction with FLDOE and online providers.
    1. Investigate what students, parents, and district administrators/staff know about virtual education across the state.
    2. EPs- development, implementation, and monitoring in the virtual schools.
    3. Investigation into executive functions needed to be successful in virtual schools.

Gifts and Donations Update

Ms. McKinlay informed the council of where things stood with the process for the Gifts and Donations.

Director’s Report

Ms. McKinlay’s report included:

  • Combining DBS and DVR is not currently under discussion.
  • She has met with the Chief of Staff and believes that the Department will do a serious search for the new Director.  She will also encourage the Commissioner to involve the Council in some way in the selection process.
  • She spoke on the contract process, in general terms.
  • She provided information about VR’s service delivery and contracting processes and shared  that DVR will be opening one more privatized office in Citrus County on the West side of I-75.

Paul Edwards moved that a letter be sent to Commissioner Bennett concerning selection of the new Director and the Council being a part of the process.  Paul Kaminsky seconded the motion.  Motion passed.

Before the meeting adjourned, Mr. Edwards read the letter he composed.  The Council agreed that it be sent to Ms. Dill to put on Council letterhead.

The Council asked that Ms. Dill also attach the criteria the Council provided Commissioner Blomberg for the last Director selection. 

Meeting Adjourned at 4:00 PM

Respectively submitted, Phyllis Dill, AAII