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FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND (FRCB)
QUARTERLY MEETING MINUTES

LEXINGTON HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTER
JACKSONVILLE RIVERWALK
1515 PRUDENTIAL DRIVE
JACKSONVILLE, FL 32207

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Meeting called to order at 9:00 AM with the Pledge of Allegiance following roll call.

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT: 10

Robert Kelly, Donte Mickens, Gloria Mills, Patricia Lipovsky, Mikey Wiseman, Jesus Garcia, Charles Brooks, Sandra Burke,  Robert Doyle, Director

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE: 3

Lenora Marten, Sylvia Perez, Leanne Grillot

COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT: 3

Vicky Magliocchino, Ben Grezesik, Bruce Miles,

COUNCIL STAFF: 1

Sharon Scurry

ATTENDEES: 2

Paul Edwards, Howard Bell

Robert Kelly introduced Jennifer Stelmach

Camp Abilities

Ms. Stelmach reported that she is a teacher of students with Visual Impairments in the Jacksonville area.  The Camp Abilities had its first year of Camp Abilities in Florida this past summer.  The program served eight students and six transition students who came from the vision education rehab center. Camp Abilities is a developmental sports camp for students with visual impairments and is located in Green Cove Springs, Florida. This year’s program has about 20 staff members and is located in Clay County at Chowenwaw Park.

The camp consist of camping (in cabins), s’mores, camp fires, cookouts, and all the fun that goes with camping.  The campers will have the opportunity to participate in fishing, beep baseball, swimming, canoeing, hiking, tandem biking and stand-up paddle boarding. We had a lot of fun. The program also hosted a dinning in the dark event.

Comments

Each camper had a one on one counselor that was with them at all times.  The ages ranged from 9 to 14 years old, and transition students were ages14 to 22 years old.   Also, included is a food specialist, nurse and two orientation and mobility specialist.   Most of the parents were able to bring their children. The total cost of the program estimated at $7,000.  
 
Robert Kelly – Thank you very much for your presentation. A true grass root effort and some unbelievable work on your part.  Thank you.

If you would like to know more about Camp Abilities please contact:
Jennifer Stelmach
Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments
stelmachj@duvalschools.org
(904)556-9287

Council Business

  • Approval of July Minutes –

A motion to approve the July minutes was made.  The motion second and passed unanimously.  

  • Next FRCB Meeting – February 9-11, 2016 in Tallahassee, Florida. There will be a public forum.

Agenda Items for February 2016 Meeting

  • See Different Initiative
  • Quarterly update from Minna Jia – Client Satisfaction Survey
  • Report from Subcommittee regarding the Consumer Satisfaction Survey
  • Robert Doyle – In terms of revamping the survey and looking at the contract cycles, we would need to get something in place for a contract effective July 1.  It is important that we know what those changes are by February.
  • Mikey Wiseman – That should give us enough time to report to the council our recommendations and some targeted bullet points and complete a final draft before the contract is in place.
  • Robert Doyle – That would give us some basis on developing the contract itself.
  • Mikey Wiseman – Speaking for the committee, how would we go about scheduling that first call? Director Doyle give me your thoughts so that we can work with those parameters and make sure we are in sync.
  • Gifts and Donations
  • New Children Programs

Comments on Agenda items

  • Donte Mickens - Tallahassee Community College (TCC) – We would like for TCC to talk about their program and give us an insight on the types of services they provide.
  • Mikey Wiseman – I would like to know what their perspective is on DBS relationships to the students that they serve. What’s working and talk about some of the common denominating challenges? What are some of the normal obstacles that they encountered? Students at that level know that they are on the right track with post-secondary education. They are on their way to what we hope to be employment.
  • Paul Edwards – Question to Leanne Grillot – Would there be some advantage in doing an update on UEV implementation?
  • Leanne Grillot – It very well could be something that is beneficial.
  • VR Goals – Standard DBS package
  • Camp Opportunities

Location and date of October 2016 Meeting

A motion to have the October 2016 Meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida was made.  The motion passed.

  • Council  travel day is October 19, 2016
  • Council Meeting and Public Forum is October 20, 2016
  • Council Meeting October 21, 2016

Report on the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) Meeting

Mikey Wiseman- We were not present at the FRC Meeting.

Term Vacancies/Appointments

Robert Doyle - Stated that applications had been sent to the Governor’s office for the appointments/reappointments.

Old Business/New Business/Open Discussion

  • Paul Edwards – In the Director’s report, maybe Mr. Doyle can report on what his budget initiatives might be this year.
  • Robert Doyle - Our budget has been presented and is consistent to where it was the previous year. We were asked to identify for the governor’s budget, positions that may not be filled. That is the biggest area in the budget. We went through and looked at where it would hurt the least, should positions not be filled. We also know that from the special appropriation to the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind (FAASB), the Children Program was given $1Million. Half of that is recurring funds and other half was one-time dollars. We are aware that FAASB is working with the legislature and maybe even the Governor’s Office to get those additional funds put in for the Children’s Program as well.  We submitted a draft contract to FAASB several weeks ago, and I received a call from Ms. Foster last evening regarding scheduling a meeting tomorrow or Monday to discuss the Children’s Program concerning those budgetary dollars. Those are the biggest things that are in the recommended budget for DBS going into next year.
  • Jesus Garcia – It seems that VR has been getting raises and DBS has not. What are we prepared to do about this?
  • Robert Doyle – DVR received a large increase the previous year, but that was due to some budgetary issues. In terms of DBS, over time, we are going to need additional funds to meet the needs of our consumer based. With what we have right now, we are serving the populations in that regard, but as I talk to the CRP’s, I do believe that we need to invest some dollars. I call it a sustainability study that will enable us to look at how services are provided across the state and make some comparisons to what other states are doing. Taking into account what the populations and the expected populations of people that need to be served through that study, it is going to reveal what we need to do to think about moving forward.  We would use that as a tool to educate the administration, the governor’s office and others regarding funds that need to come into our system.  We want to make sure it is backed up with some research.
  • Paul Edwards – I am especially thinking about staff salaries.  I don’t think DBS staff has seen an increase in salaries in years and it’s starting to show. People are not willing to hang around for the same amount of money they were making 10 years ago.
  • Robert Doyle – We are aware of that and have the same interest in terms of seeing increases.  We tried going through the legislature a few years ago to request some additional increases and were unsuccessful. The legislature has given bonuses, and they also gave one time raises in 2013. We have searched within the division trying to find ways we can utilize some incentive funding.  We did not get too far in the initial review.  We need to go back to see if there are some options on that end. If not, we may need to try the legislature again after next year. I do think there could be some potentials, as we talk about WIOA, particular about people co-locating and looking at job classifications across various areas that may create some opportunities.
  • Paul Edwards – Is there a specific timetable for the sustainability study?
  • Robert Doyle – Dacia Drury is heading up our contract team at this time, and is reviewing information that had been put together previously. It will probably take about a year or more to secure someone who has a right study or real study.

Public Forum Comments

There was a discussion regarding providing feedback during the public forums.  Discussions included ensuring that clients are receiving a follow-up to their concerns.

  • Robert Kelly – Also, a mechanism for limiting comments during our normal discussion. A structured approach might be needed to accommodate the situation we had the other day.
  • Robert Doyle –My goal is to always make sure we are giving folk the proper customer service. We are happy to address as professionally as we can situations.  We had staff in the audience that would speak with the clients and get their information so that we can follow-up. The Council certainly has the right to ask us to follow through. At the last meeting, I think we gave a summary on a number of complaints whether they had been resolved or not.  We can report that back to the council. 
  • Mikey Wiseman – Referencing the FRC, Director McKinley gives part of her report regarding those escalated attempts at resolution.  I found that report to be really an eye opening as far as how many goes to arbitration or through the Client Assistance Program. I think that a brief report on those types of situations may give us a sense of closure to some of the issues that are being brought up without getting into specifics.  At some point, I would really like for you to touch on that, even enlighten us what the normal procedure would be as far as the uptake of escalation.
  • Robert Doyle – I would be very happy to add that as a standard part of my report. Giving you an understanding of what our resolution process is.  Walter Blackmon actually heads up that area and also how many case situations that are moving forward.  I think that DBS has done fairly well these last few years.  The last administrative hearing we had was actually couple of years ago.

Motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:30 AM received and second and passed.