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

Hyatt Place Pensacola Airport
161 Airport Lane
Pensacola, Florida 32504

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Chairwoman Patricia Lipovsky called the meeting to order at 8:26 a.m. (CT) with the Pledge of Allegiance and opening comments.

Chairwoman Patricia Lipovsky recognized the passing of FRCB Council Member Jesus Garcia with a moment of silence.

Chairwoman Lipovsky stated that at the general meeting of the council, only FRCB Council Members were permitted to speak or comment unless the chair made an exception. There would be time for Public Comment at a later time. Chair Lipovsky asked to please hold all questions for the speaker until after the speaker was done with their presentation and to try and keep those questions or comments brief. Chair Lipovsky also requested that if council members would like to speak, to direct that request to the chair verbally for recognition.

Chair Lipovsky then called for introductions.

A suggestion was made by Director Doyle to ask for public comment before a vote is taken by the Council. The chair was in agreement with this suggestion.

Council Members Present: 8
Robert Kelly, Robert Doyle, Sandra Burke, Bruce Miles, Paul Edwards, Mikey Wiseman, Patricia Lipovsky, Gloria Mills

Council Members via Phone: 1
Lenora Marten, Howard Bell

Council Members Absent: 2
Charles Brooks

Council Staff: 1
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff:
Bridget Giles, Allison Flanagan, Cynthia Lyons, Genevieve English Charles, Lauren Williams, Stephanie Lambert

Attendees
Victoria Gaitanis

Adoption of Agenda
Bruce Miles moved to adopt the agenda and Mikey Wiseman seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Director Robert Doyle presented an update on The Division of Blind Services.

  • New Employees
    1. Allison Flanagan- Deputy Division Director
    2. Bridget Giles- Bureau Chief, Client Services
    3. Genevieve English Charles – District Administrator Pensacola
    4. Monica Moye – Senior Management Analyst II, Contracts Unit
  • Promotions
    1. Jeff Whitehead – Program Administrator Rehab Center
    2. Ted Pobst – District Administrator Orlando
  • Employee Departures
    1. Dacia Drury
    2. Carlos Montes
  • Director Doyle participated in the Friends of the Library celebration in Daytona for 100 volunteers at the library.
  • Legislation
    1. The Blind Services Foundation was saved from repeal.
    2. Workers Comp Bill 1468 did not pass.
    3. House Bill 371 passed
  • Budget
    1. There were no cuts to positions.
    2. $250,000 additional dollars for the Children’s Program.
    3. $150,000 dollars for the Miami Lighthouse Senior Group Program.
    4. $1.5 million additional dollars for the Lighthouse of Pasco.
    5. $97,000 funds allocated for library shelving.
  • Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) monitoring focused on fiscal operations, supported employment expenditures, performance outcomes for the last 3 years, workforce integration, membership on other boards, infrastructure funding and implementation of WIOA. Monitoring will continue until June 30 at which time a draft report will be submitted followed by discussion. The final report will be shared with the council.
    1. RSA wants DBS to submit certain expenditures for preapproval. The federal threshold is $5,000 but Florida’s procurement levels may reduce this to $1,000.
    2. Infrastructure Funding Agreement should be in place by January 2018
    3. RSA wants assurances that all students who are eligible for Pre-Employment Transition Services are receiving those services.
    4. Director Doyle encouraged the council to be vocal regarding their support of the age requirement of fourteen at which students become eligible to receive pre-employment transition services and to wait until the final RSA report becomes available to consider communicating the council’s position with RSA by means of letter.
  • Governor’s Appointment Office has requested more applicants to apply for seats on the FRCB in order to have more to choose from.

Mikey Wiseman made a motion to draft a letter to CareerSource for solicitation of applicants. Robert Kelly seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Adjourn for morning break.

Employee Recognition
District Supervisor Cynthia Lyons presented the employer recognition award to Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County. Bruce Watson accepted the award. Shoreline Foods International Market & Deli was not in attendance. 

Outreach Communication Strategies- Lauren Williams and Stephanie Lambert
Lauren Williams and Stephanie Lambert reported on the success of the DBS 75th Anniversary celebrations and the Successful 75. Other successful marketing strategies include marketing videos and increasing exposure through social media exposure. Local outreach initiatives include community fairs and the See Different Initiative. Upcoming projects include updating the DBS Website, new brochures and a new marketing video. Future advertising strategies include highlighting stories on DBS clients and medical meet and greet sessions.  

FRCB Joint Taskforce Report
Paul Edwards reported to the council the recommendations that arose out of a conference call on ways to strengthen the level of cooperation between DBS and the FRCB.

(1) Tell DBS story to legislators.

(2) Increase the awareness of the council’s position regarding WIOA regulations and the impact on people who are visually impaired.

(3) Develop clear and concise council position with RSA regulations

(4) Cooperation among all people who provide services to the visually impaired such as holding periodic meetings like the one held in Fort Myers in July 2016.

(5)How to extend cooperation beyond the state level.  

Director Doyle will follow up with legal regarding the council’s interaction with legislators to insure the council is educating and not lobbying.

The council had a discussion on the next steps moving forward. Suggestions included increasing participation of council members and a possible discussion with Lauren Williams. Paul Edwards suggested adding this as an agenda item at the July meeting to discuss results from Director Doyle’s discussion with legal.

Paul Edwards read a draft of the CareerSource letter. The council had a discussion regarding vacancies, known applicants and unknown applicants. A list of known applicants was read.

Robert Kelly made a motion to approve Chair Lipovsky to send the letter to Career Source encouraging them to submit applicants to the Governor’s Appointment Office. Howard Bell seconded the motion. There was no public comment. The motion passed unanimously. Mikey Wiseman suggested forming a standing committee regarding the Joint Taskforce. Paul Edwards suggested tabling a motion pending the outcome of Director Doyle’s discussion with legal and the discussion at the July meeting.

District Administrator Report
Cynthia Lyons presented a report regarding District 1, which is comprised of an office in Pensacola and a satellite office in Panama City. District 1 covers 10 counties with a large proportion of clients in very rural areas. The report highlighted performance goals, programs offered and open cases, occupational placements and District 1 activities. A copy of the report is available upon request.

Adjourn for lunch

Meeting resumed at 1:00 p.m. (CT)

Public Comment– No public comment

Council Members via Phone: 1
Lenora Marten, Howard Bell

Sheryl Brown presented a report.  A summary is below.

Attendees via phone
Kim Carr

Client Satisfaction Survey Report

Dr. Minna Jia presented a report on the results of the Client Satisfaction Survey for the first 3 quarters of 2016-2017. The report includes cases closed between July 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017. The survey gathers perspectives of former DBS clients concerning program services, levels of satisfaction and areas for program improvement.

Minna Jia also reported on the status of the revision and testing of the Client Satisfaction Survey. Early feedback received included less confusion by clients and an easier flow to the interview process. The new survey has reduced the survey time for clients receiving DBS services only and clients receiving services from both DBS and local service provider, there is a slight increase in time. The new survey is expected to rollout July 1.

Independence for the Blind of West Florida (IB West)
Becky Kirsch presented a report. A summary is below.

The mission of IB West is to teach independent living skills, computer and adaptive technology, and to provide vocational training and employment-related services to people who are blind or visually impaired so they can achieve maximum independence. Each year, our counselors log more than 6,000 hours of instruction time and work with more than 200 clients throughout our ten county service area. IB West has focused on efforts such as The Eye Ball, the development of a fitness area for both seniors and youth, and working with local volunteers and the Division of Blind Services, in order to bring awareness about the services available to the citizens in the Pensacola area. 

Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services
Victoria Gaitanis presented an update.

  • Currently (2016-2017 school year), 13.4% of students in Florida schools have been identified as a student with a disability. This is up from 13.2% for last year and 13% for 2014-2015.
  • There was a slight increase in students identified as visually impaired or dual sensory impaired from 2014/15 to 2015/16.
  • Performance of our students with visual impairments on statewide assessments consistently surpasses the performance of students with disabilities in general – with a slight improvement in scores on average from 2014-15 to 2015-16.
  • This year, districts had the choice on whether to order tests in the old code, EBAE, or the new code, UEB. For the 2017-18, grades 3-5 will be offered in UEB only with all other assessments offered in either code. For 2018-19, grades 3 to 8 and for the Civics and Algebra I End of Course exams – only UEB will be offered for assessment with all other assessments offered in either code. All tests will be offered in only UEB for the 2019-20 school year.
  • College Board tests will switch to UEB beginning in August of 2017.

WIOA and Policy Discussion
Director Doyle stated that RSA had expectations that DBS policy revisions were further along than they actually were. He stated that DBS needs to show progress has been made by June 30. Director Doyle suggested holding a special meeting with the council to discuss policy revisions.

Director Doyle stated that there had been a lot of discussion regarding supported employment. Director Doyle stated that DBS was considering taking action to refuse accepting supported employment dollars based on the extensive degree of requirements by RSA. Director Doyle stated that DBS is considering giving their supported employment dollars to Division of Vocational Rehab (VR) and perhaps receiving the equivalent in general dollars from VR.

The council had a discussion regarding how this action would influence clients receiving those specific services, the cooperation between DBS and VR, the narrow focus of RSA regulations on the blind population of the most significantly disabled and the legal implications. Director Doyle indicated that precedence had been set by another state. He also stated that he had discussed this with RSA.

Paul Edwards made a motion stating that the Florida Rehabilitation Council for the Blind has no reservations concerning the decision presented by the Division of Blind Services to not accept supported employment dollars. Mikey Wiseman seconded the motion. There was no public comment. The motion passed. Director Doyle agreed to provide an update at the July meeting.

Escambia County Community Transportation
Ms. Yolanda Cooper, General Manager, provided a report. Escambia County Community Transportation (ECCT) is the local Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC), which coordinates medical and non-medical transportation services, including ECAT’s ADA complimentary Paratransit Services for the Transportation Disadvantaged community and Non-Sponsored Services. ECCT’s primary goal is to provide citizens with access to places for work, medical care, and shopping so that they can live vital, productive, and rewarding lives.

Paul Edwards suggested extending the Friday meeting until noon and hold our public forum on Wednesday. No vote was taken.

Rehab Document

Paul Edwards read his Rehab Document. Mr. Edwards stated the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of services delivered by developing a model by measuring the ongoing retention of skills.

The meeting adjourned at 4:51 p.m. (CT)

Friday May 12, 2017

Council Members Present: 9
Patricia Lipovsky, Mikey Wiseman, Paul Edwards, Gloria Mills, Sandra Burke, Robert Kelly, Robert Doyle, Bruce Miles

Council Members via Phone: 1
Howard Bell

Council Members Absent: 2
Charles Brooks, Lenora Marten

Council Staff: 1
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff:
Bridget Giles

Council Business

Bruce Miles made a motion to accept the February meeting minutes. Mikey Wiseman seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Agenda Items for July 2017

  • RSA Monitoring Update
  • Transportation
  • Update on DBS declining Supported Employment Dollars
  • Gifts and Donations Update
  • Accessible Evaluation Update
  • DSO Funding for Accessible Evaluations
  • UBER
  • DBS Update on Pre-Employment Transitional Services
  • VR Report including cumulative successful closures
  • DBS Policies Update
  • DBS Organization Structure
  • DBS Administrative Staff Training
  • DBS State Fiscal Year End
  • FRCB Joint Taskforce Report

Location and Date of May 2018 Meeting
Paul Edwards made a motion for Key West. Bruce Miles seconded the motion. Bruce Miles made a motion to include West Palm as a second alternative. Mikey Wiseman seconded the motion. Paul Edwards amended the motion to include the West Palm area. The amended motion passed.

Old Business
The council discussed implementing direct bill process for transportation travel. Director Doyle agreed.

Robert Doyle reported that the Tampa Office had received all its permits, which would allow progress to begin with anticipated completion in the fall.

The council had a discussion regarding the extensive absence of Charles Brooks at council meetings. Article V Section 1.C of the FRCB By-Laws were read aloud. Council Chair requested a set of the FRCB By-Laws. Bruce Miles made a motion to not follow up on dismissal of Charles Brooks from the council. Robert Kelly seconded the motion. The motion passed with one opposing vote by Paul Edwards.

Mikey Wiseman suggested to Chair Lipovsky to consider a FRCB By-Law revision regarding telephone participation of council meetings.

Robert Kelly made a motion to have Selena contact Mr. Brooks about his intention to apply for a second term, or not, and if he intends to apply for a second term, to advise him of the councils concern with attendance of the meetings. In addition, to express the council’s expectation that he be willing and able to attend meetings and if not, help identify a replacement. Robert Kelly amended his motion to have the chair draft the letter. Paul Edwards seconded the motion. The amended motion passed.

Mikey Wiseman suggested the FRCB Public Forum Committee have a teleconference two weeks prior to the July meeting.

Robert Kelly suggested that the council be included on communication of the formal announcements regarding the public forum.

Bruce Miles made a motion to schedule the policy meeting by conference call on June 6 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mikey Wiseman seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Paul Edwards made a motion to schedule a second policy meeting on June 13 from 3:00 to 6:00p.m. Bruce Miles seconded the motion. The motion passed.

New Business - No New Business

Open Discussion - No Open Discussion

Paul Edwards moved to adjourn and seconded the motion. The motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10 a.m. (CT)