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Quarterly Meeting Minutes (Thursday - April 18, 2013)

Embassy Suites
1100 SE 17th Street
Ft. Lauderdale

Bruce Miles, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:30 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:  Bruce Miles, Paul Edwards, Andrew Raines, Vicky Magliocchino,   Donté Mickens, Sheryl Brown,  Joe Minichiello, Sandra Martin, Lenora Marten, Leanne Grillot, Gloria Mills, Ted Hull, Christopher White and  Aleisa McKinlay, Interim Director. 

Patricia Liposky attended as the representative of the Independent Living Council.

Council Members Absent:  Ben Grzesik, Paul Kaminsky, Dan O’Connor, Dwight Sayer and Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff:  Antionette Williams, Patrick Regalado

Interpreters:  Christie Cohn and Jodi Raffoul

Attendees:   Elly du Pré, Susan Hoffman

Mr. Miles asked for a moment of silence for those affected by the Boston bombings.

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

District Administrator’s Report

Antionette Williams informed the Council that Ivy Romero resigned her position as the District 11 Administrator two weeks ago.  She stated that Michele Levy the District Administrator in Miami will assume the position beginning May 8th.  DBS will advertise the vacant position for the District 12 Administrator in Miami. 

Patrick Regalado, District Supervisor presented the DA report as follows:

  • The Ft. Lauderdale DBS office moved December 31, 2012 to its current located on 7771 W. Oakland Pk. Blvd. Suite 185, Sunrise, FL.
  • The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is located in the same office building.
  • There are nine employees:  1 supervisor, 3 VR counselors, 1 Children and ILAP, 2 Rehab Techs, 1 support staff and 1 Bureau of Business Enterprise consultant.
  • There are currently 3 vacancies:  the District Administrator, one staff assistant and one VR counselor.  
  • The district has received approval to hire an Employment Placement Specialist (EPS).
  • District 11 data:
    • Currently serving: 247 VR clients; 35 Transition, 27 Blind Babies program ages 0 to 5; 44 Children’s program ages 5 to 13; 75 Older Blind program and 9 under the age of 55.  
    • Closed this year:  Successful -36 VR (5 are totally blind and 25 are legally blind)  Anticipate closing 48 successful by the end of this fiscal year of which 6 are totally blind 34 legally blind and 8 with other visual impairments. 
  • The five year average of successful closures for district 11 is 52. 
  • In the Independent Living Program, 91 clients have met their goals.
  • As a result of the increased number of referrals, another VR counselor will be hired.
  • The district’s relationship with vendors and service providers has and always been positive.
  • The communication with the Lighthouse of Broward is open, cordial and professional.

Lighthouse of Broward County (LHOB)

Elly du Pré, Executive director handed out a Fact Sheet about LHOB that in three different languages: English, Spanish and Creole    The Fact Sheet included main bullet points regarding LHOB services.

Ms. du Pré’s presentation included highlights of LHOB as follows:

  • Initiatives working on:
    • Reaching out to the South Florida Leadership Group. (The industry group for federal contractors.)
    • Partnered with Low Vision Systems. They represent Cannon the office products manufacture who now makes a copier/printer/scanner/fax machine that is fully accessible to the blind or visually impaired.
  • LHOB hired an Occupational Physical Therapist and have added an OT Assistant.
  • LHOB has been approved by Medicare as providers.  This will supplement clients who are not covered by DBS.
  • Broward County has the highest rate of people who are blind or visually impaired in Florida.
  • LHOB has a good relationship with DBS, having frequent meetings with counselors as well as supervisors to discuss clients, which has been working well. 
  • Ms. du Pré gave accolades to the LHOB staff, the alumni association and volunteers.
  •  Has a good relationship with the Florida Reading and Vision Center, a retail store with a wide range of products to make life easier for individuals with visual impairments.
  • LHOB conducts and/or attend technology fairs throughout the year.

Ms. du Pré’s response to Council Questions:

Ms. du Pré informed Mr. Mickens and Council that LHOB had a computer lab with beginning, intermediate and advanced classes for IBM and Apple products.

Ms. du Pré informed Mr. Edwards and Council that LHOB has been promoting the Cannon product nationally to the business Alliance, agencies serving the blind and also with Hadley.  She stated that LHOB is in the process of a 6 month strategic plan and hired a facilitator, who is an industrial engineer, to do the plan and a side duty is to help market the product.

Ms. du Pré informed Mr. White and Council she was dissatisfied with the transportation system and feels the lack of customer service mentality has gotten colder.  She believes it impacts the business and providing service to individuals attending LHOB.   The employees using public transportation do get to work on time, but have to deal with excessive time waiting for transportation before and after work.

Ms. du Pré response to Mr. Miles request for a little history of LHOB:

  • LHOB just celebrated its 40th anniversary.
  • LHOB started out in space donated by the Lions Club and eventually rented space in a public housing facility.
  • LHOB purchased the building where it is currently located in 1983.
  • The building is a little less than 12,000 square feet with air conditioning and includes another 11,000 square foot building.
  • A bus stop is located at the building.
  • The building is a “Gator” orange color and it’s the only building on the entire block.

Ms. du Pré informed the Council that FAASB probably won’t set the date for the next Vision Summit until after the legislative session is over.  She will let Ms. Dill know the date chosen.

State Plan, VR Goals Update and Needs Assessment Update

Antionette Williams addressed the State Plan as follows:

  • A hard copy of the report will be sent to the Council by May 6 with a conference call scheduled soon after.
  • Attachment 4.2 has four recommendations by the Council.
  • The Council recommended to DBS, that for transition students only, a recommendation from a CRP which attests relevance and proficiency goes to a Counselor who then follows up with Rehab Engineering and then a purchase of an iPad can be approved.
  • The Council requested DBS send members the final State Plan by the end of May for Council to review.  Council comments will be given via a teleconference call on June 4th with DBS submitting the State Plan to the Commissioner soon thereafter.
  • The Council requested DBS to provide them the schedule of the DBS Regional Meetings.
  • The Council suggested that DBS check into adding criminal background info in the AWARE system.

Mr. Raines moved that the Council schedule a conference call on May 14th at 3:00 PM with a follow-up on May 22nd at 3:00 PM.  Motion received a second and passed.

The Council discussed the new contract for the Client Satisfaction Survey and if they should continue with Mary Stutzman.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that Ms. Stutzman indicated to her that the Research Lab is trying to rebuild since she will be retiring in October and she was not sure of the quality of work that would be done.  She recommended Linda Schrader as a possible replacement.  Ms. Schrader indicated that it was something her department would be willing to do if the Council so decided.

Mr. Edwards moved that the Council authorized DBS to negotiate with Linda Schrader to conduct the Client Satisfaction Survey this next year.  Motion received a second and passed.

Mr. Edwards moved to give Ms. Schrader the dates of May 1st and May 8th for her to decide on which one fit her schedule for a conference call with the Council.  Motion received a second and passed.

Mr. Edwards moved that the Council present a plaque of recognition to Mary Stutzman for her work with the Client Satisfaction Survey at the July meeting.  Motion received a second and passed.

VR Goals Update

Ms. Williams provided the following update:

Fourth quarter closures since April 1st:
Total Closed cases -74

  • Unsuccessful Closures – 53
  • Successful Closures – 21
    • Partially and legally blind – 10
    • Other visually impaired – 5
    • Totally blind – 3
    • Restoration – 3
    • No veterans

Total number of Closures year to date: 1513

  • Unsuccessful Closures – 1052
  • Successful Closures – 461
    • Partially  and legally blind - 214
    • Other visually impaired -  118
    • Totally blind – 52
    • Restoration – 77
    • Veterans  - 16

Total secondary disability closed year to date – 364

  • No secondary disability – 175
  • Diabetes – 47
  • Other physical not listed 21
  • Cardiac condition -21
  • Other visual impairment - 12
  • Psychosocial impairment - 10
  • Cognitive impairment - 9
  • Other mental impairment -8
  • Muscle Skeletal impairment– 8
  • Hearing impairment - 7
  • Other therapeutic impairment -7
  • Mobility orthopedic/neurological impairment - 6
  • Respiratory impairment – 4
  • General physical impairment – 4
  • Other visual impairment – 3
  • Hearing loss primary communication visual – 3
  • No impairment – 3
  • Legally blind excluding totally blind – 3
  • Legally blind including totally blind – 2
  • Deaf-blind – 2
  • Community impairment – 2
  • Cancer – 2
  • Mobility – 1
  • Deafness, primary communication auditory – 1
  • End stage retinal disease - 1

Ms. Magliocchino and Mr. Edwards recommended that DBS combine all the categories involving dual sensory impairments and use that total for Deaf-Blind when referring to the public, but keep the status break-down.

Mr. Edwards asked if DBS would get data on how many individuals with secondary disabilities under the age of 65 are on the Agency of Persons with Disabilities (ADP) rolls.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that DBS is now collecting data on ethnicity.

First quarter -

  • Asians - 44
  • African American -  897
  • Caucasian  - 1617
  • Hispanic/Latino  - 522
  • Multi-racial - 12
  • Not available  - 4 (information was not provided)
  • Total  - 3096

Ms. Williams stated she would provide the Council a copy of the definitions the VR counselors use related to disabilities.

Morning Break

Needs Assessment

Ms. Williams informed the Council that DBS was waiting on Ms. Schrader to provide the Budget to go along with the Scope of Work. As soon as it's received it will be processed and she will begin.

Ms. Williams stated that the eight goals listed on the teleconference January 16th will be incorporated. 

Mr. Edwards summarized the Needs Assessment and the notes of the teleconference January 16th and what the Council anticipates in the future.

Ms. Williams asked the Council to notify her if they know of any client not getting a job because of technology issues. 

Ms. Magliocchino commented on the difficulties deaf-blind individuals have with obtaining services when DVR says they need to go to DBS and then DBS says they need to go to DVR.

Ms. Williams stated that DBS is working with DVR to address the issue.

Ms. Magliocchino suggested DBS hire a specialist regarding deaf-blind to train Counselors on working with the deaf-blind.

Ms. Williams stated that she would be interested in getting the name of someone to provide the training.

The Employer hadn’t arrived so the Council approved addressing a few items from Friday’s Agenda.

FSU O&M Presentation

Mr. Miles read the language for a plaque to be presented to the FSU O&M Program.

Mr. Edwards made a motion to approve presenting a Plaque of Appreciation for FSU’s Visual Disabilities and O & M Program’s 50 year anniversary at the Statewide FAER conference in September in Tallahassee.   Motion received a second and passed.

Council Business – Moved from Friday’s Agenda

Motion to accept minutes of the February meeting received a second and passed.

Relocation Expenses

Ms. Brown read Policy 6.13 Relocation Expenses.

Mr. Minichello stated that he would support the Policy with reservations.

Employer Recognition

Mr. Patrick Regaldo presented the employer award to Teleperformance. 

He stated that Teleperformance has been exceptional with clients in providing all the necessary accommodation they require to successfully do their jobs at their working place on a daily basis.  DBS has been working with Teleperformance since their original name was The Answer Group or TAG for short as everyone used to know them.  DBS formed the partnership that has continued over the years for them to continue offering job opportunities to our clients.

Stephen Butaski, Teleperformance Director of Human Resources accepted the award.  He has been with the company since February 2010. And manages a staff of 8 in the HR area and 25+ in Security and has more than 15 years of progressive experience in human capital administration and best practices, benefits planning and pay administration, employee relations, recruitment and retention, performance learning and development strategies.

Lunch Break

Meeting resumed at 1:15 PM.

Director’s Report – Aleisa C. McKinlay, Interim Director

Ms. McKinlay’s report included the following:

Update on the DBS Director’s search

  • Elaine Jordan, in the Governor’s Office, took the lead 3 to 4 weeks ago in the Director’s search.
  • A one page summary of the position was sent to Stephen Wooderson for posting on the Rehab network with RSA and Chip Kenny for posting on the TACE list serve.
  • The postings came out on April 15th.
  • Elly du Pré, FAASB president, gave Ms. Jordan contact information for NCSAB.
  • A timeline has not been set.

Legislative Update

  • It has been a low key session for DBS and DVR and primarily watching to assure that funds are maintained.
  • There is no indication that either stands to lose any funds this year.
  • The only thing in question for DBS is the Governor’s budget having a staff reduction of 12, the Senate having a reduction of 3 and the House was zero.  They will go to conference and will know if there will be any positions lost in a few weeks.

Sequester – The federal initiative that reduces funding for a lot of programs.

  • Will cover all of the state’s VR reduction out of the DVR budget and there will not be a reduction for DBS in that category.
  • DVR doesn’t have funds to cover the reduction to the DBS Independent Living budget, so there will be a 5.2% reduction to IL funds.
  • All in all, the sequester will not be as hard on Florida as some other states.

DOE Changes

  • Dr. Tony Bennett was appointed the new Commissioner in January.
  • Dr. Bennett has been in the process of evaluating DOE for the last 3 – 4 months.
  • Dr. Bennett brought 5 people with him and others on a contract basis to consult with the department.
  • Ms. McKinlay believes the effect on DVR/DBS will be minimal.
  • What will be affected are the inter-workings of DOE.
  • Vacant positions are being filled as soon as possible.
  • There are some positions in headquarters that will not be filled until the new Director makes the decision.

Information Technology

DBS recently hired Bryan Hudnall as the Chief for MIS.  His first order of business will be to access and determine what is needed in terms of improvement of the infrastructure for DBS.

Invitation to negotiate

  • Hopefully, by the end of the month it will be posted and people will be notified.
  • Questions and answers are submitted to one person and there is to be no discussion by anyone else.
  • Answers will be posted on the website for all potential applicants to see.
  • There will be an evaluation team and a negotiations team.
  • The current contracts will be extended, so there won’t be a lapse in service when there’s nothing in place.

Ms. McKinlay informed the Council she has had several meeting with the Commissioner and she meets monthly with his Chief of Staff, Dale Chu.

Talking Book Library  

  • Library renovations are coming along timely.
  • The Library is now digitalized.

Budget

  • The budget is fine in terms of no problems.

Ms. McKinlay stated that it had been a privilege and pleasure to serve as the interim Director of the Division.  She stated that she will work to make the relationship between DVR and DBS better.

  • Ms. McKinlay stated that Centers for Independent Living was also funded through RSA and is supposed to be a partner with DBS and DVR.
  • Ms. McKinlay emphasized that the “Triad” – CIL, DBS and DVR, need to work more closely together all the way down to the local level.

Two Joint Meetings involving DVR and DBS staff

  1. Steve Holmes, Executive Director, Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantage met with DVR, DBS and representatives of other organizations.
  1. The Helen Keller Center met with DVR and DBS to get a better understanding of how to serve people who are deaf-blind.

Gifts and Donations

  • DBS has a draft of policies and procedures that will provide a greater oversight of the funds.
  • Looking at the best way to make a connection between the Gifts and Donations funds and the DSO which would require: Oversight of funds - Fiscal responsibility- Ability to monitor where the money goes and what is done with it.
  • It will require a review board to set what the solicitation would be (maybe twice a year); what would be the topic, what would be the type of program and type of solicitation.
  • When applications are returned, the group would use objective scoring criteria to determine where the funds should go and provide oversight to insure the funds are spent appropriately.
  • The method of conducting solicitations would depend on how it is staffed.

Other Information

  • The Governor’s Commission on Employment for Persons with Disabilities continues to meet.  
  • The Department of Economic Opportunity’s web site currently has a Veteran’s portal that has a market place for job seekers to hook up.  DEO stated that they want to create a disability portal. 
  • The Commission wants to come up with a single point of access so that employers looking or willing to hire someone with a disability would have an easier time to make that happen.
  • There are two things to take before the legislature next year.
    1. A Bill dealing with babies who are blind and getting info to parents as soon as possible. There was a similar bill this year for babies who are deaf.
    2. Background screening of individuals who work in the Business Enterprise Program and for DBS contractors.  Blind services was not included in legislation passed in 2012 and will be working on it for next year.

DSO Update

Mr. Miles gave the Council a brief history of the Blind Services Foundation (DSO) and a few points of interest as follows:

  • Five members of the Council serve on the DSO Board.
  • A new Board came into place two years ago.
  • Main source of funding is through Bikers Care with approximately $60,000 year.
  • In January 2012, a Bikers Care Partners Committee was formed consisting of one representative from each of the 5 groups.
  • A 7 year audit of the DSO is currently being conducted.
  • The DSO is looking to cut expenses.
  • In The first five years approximately $130,000 per year was spent.
  • The projected expenses for next year are under $15,000.
  • The DSO returned $500,000 to the DBS Gifts and Donations in June 2012.
  • The DSO donated $32,292 to the Blind Babies Program.
  • There’s currently $41,000 in investment accounts and $38,000 in bank accounts.
  • The Board is considering the DBS Gifts and Donations as a means for handling the DSO donations.

Location and Dates of the April 2014 meeting – moved from Friday’s agenda

A motion to conduct the April 2014 meeting in St. Petersburg or Clearwater received a second and passed.

The date set for the meeting:  April 23, 24, & 25, 2014.

Meeting adjourned at 2:25 PM.

New member Orientation immediately followed the meeting.


Quarterly Meeting Minutes (Friday - April 19, 2013)

Bruce Miles, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:30 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:  Bruce Miles, Paul Edwards, Andrew Raines, Vicky Magliocchino,   Donté Mickens, Sheryl Brown,  Joe Minichiello, Sandra Martin, Lenora Marten, Leanne Grillot, Gloria Mills, Ted Hull, Christopher White and  Aleisa McKinlay, Interim Director. 

Patricia Liposky attended as the representative of the Independent Living Council.

Council Members Absent:  Ben Grzesik, Paul Kaminsky, Dan O’Connor, Dwight Sayer and Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff:  Antionette Williams, Patrick Regalado

Interpreters:  Christie Cohn and Jodi Raffoul

Council Business

Agenda Items for July 2013.

  • Client Satisfaction Survey
  • Update on Needs Assessment
  • Report on State Plan Submission
  • Budget – included with Director’s Report
  • Local Transportation Disadvantaged – Warren Jernigan & Escambia County TD Board
  • FSU O&M Presentation Attendance

Ms. Dill reminded the Council of the upcoming expired terms and for those eligible for reappointment to complete the questionnaire and return to her when requested.

Mr. Edwards moved that the Chair of this Council contact the Chair of the VR Council with the view of creating a position on each Council to have a representative of the other Council.  Motion received a second and passed.

Project Florida Support Service Provider for Deaf-Blind

Darlene Liabi-Crowe handed out two brochures concerning Florida Deaf-Blind Association and Florida Support Service Program.  

  • The Florida Deaf-Blind Association (FDBA) was created in 2004.
  • The FDBA mission is to enhance independence through economic and social opportunities for all people who are Deaf-Blind in Florida.
  • Ms. Liabi-Crowe gave the following overview of the FSSP (Florida Support Service Program)
    • FSSP serves Florida residents over the age of 18 who have been declared legally blind and are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
    • FSSP trains, match, and provide SSPs to the Deaf-Blind consumers in the state of Florida.
    • Support Service Providers (SSP) interprets the environment and become the 'eyes' and/or 'ears' for the Deaf-Blind Floridians in the community and on the job. They may also help with transportation
  • A SSP Training workshop was conducted March 9th in West Palm Beach and one is planned for July in Tallahassee and September in Orlando.
  • FDBA goal - NO DEAF-BLIND LEFT BEHIND
  • Florida Deaf-Blind Registry:  http://fldeafblind.org/registry.html
  • Ms. Liabi-Crowe suggested creating a position for a Deaf-Blind Specialist that would work between DBS and DVR.
  • Would like to be able to pay the SSP $16 an hour to assist deaf-blind individuals in their area.
  • The difference between an interpreter and a support service provider:
    • Interpreter – Certified to communicate with the deaf or deaf-blind only through regular, close vision or tactile sign language.
    • Support Service Provider (SSP) – Is not certified, but will communicate through a clear voice, close vision or tactile sign language and also be their sighted guide, provide transportation and relay what is going on around them.
  • Other states have SSP programs and are funded.

Ms. Laibi-Crowe informed Ms. Grillot and Council that the Florida Registry for Interpreters (RID) was aware of the SSP Program.

Darlene Laibi-Crowe’s e-mail address is:  dlcrowe@fldeafblind.org

Previous/New Business/Open Discussion

Ms. McKinlay informed the Council of apparent miscommunication with Dr. Stutzman not being interested in continuing a contract with the Council to conduct the Client Satisfaction Survey.   She wanted the Council to know there was still an option for the FSU Research Lab to conduct the survey.

Mr. Edwards moved that the Chair of the Council be empowered to work with DBS to develop a recommendation for the Client Satisfaction Survey contract for next year.

Motion received a second and passed.

Ms. Grillot informed the Council there were two Digital Pilot Programs in the state. 

  1. Sarasota has taken the 6, 7 &8 grades science and math courses and making them digital.  She is working on gathering information on students who are visually impaired in those grades to see how they are working on this process.
  1. Broward is being split up.

This year both counties are gathering materials and next year they will be doing the implementation.

Ms. Grillot stated she was still gathering more information and will keep the Council posted.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30 AM.