Florida Division of Blind Services logo



Doubletree Hotel Tallassee
101 s. adams street
tallahassee, FL  32311

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Meeting called to order at 8:10 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:  (15)

Bruce Miles, Paul Edwards, Robert Kelly, Donté Mickens, Sandra Martin, Lenora Marten, Ben Grzesik, Christopher White, Jesus Garcia, Sheryl Brown, Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Vicky Magliocchino, Leanne Grillot, Paul Kaminsky and Robert Doyle, Director. 

Council Members Present via Teleconference: (4) Dwight Sayer, Gloria Mills, Patricia Lipovsky, Joe Minichiello,

Council Members Absent: (1) Dan O’Connor

Council Staff: (1) Alise Fields

DBS Staff: (4)

Antionette Williams, Bureau Chief of Client Services, Lauren Williams, Wayne Jennings.

Attendees: (13)

Kathy Hebda, Chief of Staff of FL Dept. of Education, Minna Jia, Becki Forsell, Lenora Brighton, Eric Marten, Barbara Ross, Becky Kearse, David Herron, Roy Crossgrove, Molly Gosland, Mike Russ, Heather Marcgrove, Ronee Silverman, Emily Taylor.

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

Elections of Officers: 
Nomination to First Vice Chair: Dwight Sayer, and accepted.
Nomination to Second Vice Chair: Joe Minichiello, and accepted all in favor and acclimated.
Nomination to Chair: Bruce Miles remains and is accepted.
Chairman Miles welcomed Kathy Hebda to the meeting.

Kathy Hebda brought official greetings on behalf of the Commissioner of Education.

  • Recognized the wealth and range of services that DBS offers
  • Recognized the collaborative work of DBS

Mr. Doyle thanked Kathy Hebda for her support of DBS

Director’s Report

Robert Doyle presented the following:            

DBS General Update

  • Director introduced Alise Fields and David Darm as the new Government Operations Consultant II. Alise and David will work collaboratively with the Division, Council and Governor’s office.
  • Director introduced Jeri Booker (absent) as the Personnel Administrator and LaToya Mitchell (absent) as the Director of DBS’ Executive Assistant.
  • Launched a grant’s application program; DBS will provide up to $150,000 per year, per grant.
    • Funds will likely increase as DBS receives funds from DSO.
    • Grants are available for Florida not for profit organizations to provide innovative ideas that are beneficial to Floridians who are blind/visually impaired.
    • DBS does not anticipate that any individual grant will exceed $25,000.   
  • Communications Plan (Social Media Updates, i.e., Facebook, Twitter)
    • Specific to DBS and DOE
    • Targeted outreach
    • Creation of additional awareness
  • Contracts
    • Vocational Rehab and Transition Services contracts are set to expire in March. DBS is looking to make amendments to the contracts and extend them an additional six (6) months. Consulting with the Governor’s office on these extensions.
    • Soliciting feedback through CRPs and the public for ways to improve our service delivery models. Methods are too likely to include a RFI “like” and possible public hearings.
    • Contracts that are primarily funded through general revenue dollars are set to expire in June.


  • Governor’s Recommended Budget
    • Recommended budget for DBS is approximately $52 million.
    • Includes the Governor’s efficiency 4 positions that DBS has on hold and being considered for removal from DBS.
  • Legislative Process
    • Discussion about the background check clearing house to put forth legislation and identify a sponsor.
    • The Division is also working on legislation to encourage doctors to let parents of blind children know about DBS.
    • House Bill #849, Emotional Support Animals has been introduced.
    • Director sent Council copy of a joint letter from the Council of State Agencies; relating to Senate Bill 1356 that reauthorizes provisions of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Concerns are with the impacts with removing Voc Rehab from the DOE to the DOL. Proposals are to increase the amount of dollars dedicated to the transitions.
    • Director will forward more information out to the Council as it becomes available.
    • US Dept. of Education submitted a notice of proposed rulemaking related to ADA regulations.
    • Director’s office will send the link out to the council relating to the ADA regulations.

*Paul Edwards asked relating to the VR issues, why hasn’t the community concerned themselves with the US House Bill that has passed? The House Bill demotes the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration. Speaking on behalf of his consumer services organization, the organization would rather not have the rehabilitation services administration Presidential appointment.
*Mr. Doyle responds that there was not much momentum in the House Bill being accepted because it is not Bi-Partisan. The main concern is the Senate Bill because it is Bi-Partisan and Senator Harkin is pushing the Bill prior to his retirement. The Bill is attracting more Congressional attention as opponents speak up about the provisions. Efforts continue through organizations to promote the education of the Bill on Capitol Hill.
*Chairman Miles asks should the rehab Council support the letter sent to us by the Director.
*Paul Edwards motions the endorsement and signing of the letter and Jesus Garcia seconds the motion.
*Robert Kelly suggests that the letter be resent on the initiatives to our Congressional Delegation for maximum visibility.
*Paul Edwards will compose the letter on the Council Letterhead. Attached 4/17/14.
****All in Favor***

Job Placement Overview

  • Barriers to Employment (Challenges, Recommendations, Resources to be more competitive in the workforce)
  • Focus: More collaboration, Executive Order signed by Governor Scott to establish the collaborative effort.
  • Cooperative Agreement (helps to prioritize employment within state agencies
    • Meeting scheduled on February 12, 2014 to discuss the terms of the priorities
    • Report of recommendation is due in July.


  • Concerns with the accessibility to employment websites
  • Recommendations to include accessibility to websites in the cooperative agreement.
  • Commission has made recommendations and is going through the legislative process.
  • Employ Florida is preparing a better accessible website for persons with disabilities
  • A database is designed for persons with disabilities

Supported Employment Workgroup

  • Reviewing policies to improve rehabilitation rate
  • DBS encourages the FRCB and members of the National Federation of the Blind Florida to collaborate with the Business Enterprise Program to improve services, as it relates to the allegations made in the NFBF resolution.
  • Guidelines have been developed for job placement services
    • Existing guidelines and the balance of clients is currently under review
    • Discussion of Criteria of DBS staff will convene at a later date.
    • All resources are being considered

*Lenora Marten recommends that the FRCB ask the NFBF for more clarification/investigation as it relates to the NFBF resolution. Lenora suggests that a Committee be developed to ask that the resolution be revoked and so that the FRCB can be more proactive.
*Joe Minichiello has contacted the author of the resolution to ensure that the NFBF has proper        documentation. At this present time the resolution stands.
*Chairman Miles requests a written copy of the resolution for review and response.
*Joe Minichiello will provide the Council Chair with a written copy of the resolution.
*Director Doyle recommends collaboration of Council
*Patricia concerned about the collaborative efforts between agencies and counselors.
            -Patricia Lipovsky will send Antionette the names of the persons having trouble for follow up. *Update 4/17/14- All parties that were involved did not want to pursue this any further.

District Administrator’s Report

Ana Saint-Fort, DA provided the Council with the following report: Attached

  • Staffing
  • Paratransit
    • Collaborative Meetings on the White Cane Law

Employer Recognition

Ana Saint-Fort, DA recognized Children’s Medical Services as the recipient of the Employer’s Award. CMS has provided technology and assessments for equipment needed for clients.

A group photo was taken of Bruce Miles, Robert Doyle, Ana Saint-Fort, and Becky McGuire, Regional Director CMS representatives.

Morning Break

Lighthouse of the Big Bend Report

Barbara Ross, Executive Director of Lighthouse of the Big Bend provided the Council with a copy of her report. She will forego her report at this meeting.

VR Goals Update

Wayne Jennings provided the Council with his report and data previously.

  • Considering an expansion of the categories. Option “Other” will be disabled.
  • Procedures are in place with work experience opportunities.

New Braille Code

Leanne Grillot presented the following:

  • Unified Braille Code  (UEB) is replacing the English Braille, American Edition (EBAE) January 2016
  • Braille Code accessibility for Apple users is good! The default code is already UEB.
  • Current Books will NOT be replaced with the new Braille Codes. New books will be written with the new code after January 2016.
    • Examples: Snuggled Words (and, for, the, with) will mimic the print version of spacing. Double “D” will be removed and contractions will no longer be present.
  • Periodic changes are made by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).

FRC November Meeting Report

Paul Edwards discussed the following information:

  • Impacts
    • VR having to extend its order of selection which limits the availability of service
      • Due to the insufficiency of funds by the increase in salaries to the VR council.
        • Suggestion to lessen the difference the salary between the counselors of VR and DBS
    • Disability Portal
      • Counsel should support recognition for long-term change and planning for employment over the long haul.
      • Dissatisfaction with the Federal Legislative Level of support to VR. 

Lunch Break

Meeting resumed at 1:05 PM

DBS Policies

Lynn Ritter and Antionette Williams provided the following information:

Policy 6.07 Purchase of Access and Rehabilitation Technology –

  • Council Chair appointed Christopher White as Chair Lynn Ritter and Sheryl Brown are the members of the Sub-Committee to assist with revisions
  • Assessments will be performed through CRPs/Rehab Engineers
  • Negotiations are through the Dell Representative Chris Nazel
    • Dell contracts are on a three year warranty for equipment.
  • Installations are through authorized vendors


  • Policy is all inclusive
  • Clarification on the IDA
  • Policy will be revised for language


  • Include the location in the students’ IEP plan
  • Very short headings for direction
  • Regarding care and maintenance Exceptions Policy should be applicable to individuals that have equipment.

Policy 2.10 Self-Employment Services -


Mr. White has concerns with the language of the policy and it should be based more on the needs of the clients, B-8 specifically.

Mr. Doyle states that the language is designed to conserve resources.

Transportation Ad Hoc Committee

  • Barriers to employment
  • Links in the communities with the paratransit system
  • Continuance with Survey Questions
  • Possibility of Transportation Cooperative
  • Promoting of travel training
  • Solutions
    • Topic will continue at a later date via teleconference

*Mr. Doyle recommended that David Darm work with the committee to improve the challenges.
*Sylvia Perez states that the issues are that there are not any transit routes in many areas.

Client Satisfaction Survey Review

Dr. Minna Jai gave a brief overview of the data collected since the last survey ended.

  • DBS’ major function for employment services is being widely used.
  • Data determines that services are widely appreciated by participants.
  • Majority of participants surveyed agree that the most helpful service that DBS provides is trainings.
  • Majority of participants surveyed agree that the least helpful service that DBS provides is with equipment.


*Council concerns with the phone number that is being used to make contact with participants.

Afternoon Break

Council Business

Approval of October Minutes -

  • A motion to approve the July minutes and Public Forum notes received a second and passed.

Location and dates of February 2015 meeting -

  • A motion to have the February 2015 meeting in Tallahassee received a second and passed.
    • Proposed date for Public Forum on 2/10, Council Meeting on 2/11, Vision Summit on 2/12
  • Transportation needed for reception at the Aloft Hotel and for the Vision Summit at the Capitol on 2/13.

Agenda Items for April 2014 meeting

  • Transportation committee reports
  • New Deaf/Blind Coordinator to make a presentation about his position and how it contributes
  • Job Placement
  • State Plan
  • Director’s Report-Legislative Update
  • Public Forum in St. Petersburg

Previous/New Business/Open Discussion

Meeting adjourned at 4:15 PM.