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

The Florida Hotel & Conference Center
1500 Sand Lake Drive
Orlando, Florida  32809
July 27-28, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Chairwoman Patricia Lipovsky called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and opening comments.

Council Members Present: 9
Patricia Lipovsky, Robert Kelly, Paul Edwards, Mikey Wiseman, Lenora Marten, Sandra Burke, Howard Bell, Bruce Miles, Robert Doyle

Council Members Absent:
Charles Brooks, Gloria Mills

Council Staff:
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff
Bridget Giles, Allison Flanagan, Monica Moye, Walter Blackman, Mitchell Clark, Bryan Hudnall, Klause Extine, Ana St. Fort, Bobby Howard Davis, Pamela Ortiz, Jeff Whitehead,  Leigh Ann Bellamy, Janet Alterman, Bruce Emmerton, Robert Lewis, April Ogden, Brian Michaels, Michelle Levy, Carolyn Eleby, Madeline Davidson, Mireya Hernandez, Phyllis Heath, Joe Abraham, Sandra Brown, Genevieve English- Charles, Juan Diaz, Lee Anne Alderman, Ted Pobst, Donna Rhoades, Wayne Jennings, Bertha Hyche, Stacy Smith, Nancy Brown, Stael Exantus

Chair Patricia Lipovsky opened the meeting with a few comments.

  • Anyone wishing to comment should be members of the council only.
  • Anyone wishing to comment should address the Chair verbally by raising his or her hand.
  • All questions or comments should be held until the end of the speaker’s presentation.

Adoption of Agenda
Howard Bell made a motion to approve the agenda. Mikey Wiseman seconded the motion.  Chair Lipovsky stated two additions to the agenda; The motion passed approving the amended agenda.

Director’s Report
Director Robert Doyle presented an update on the Division of Blind Services (DBS).

  • DBS Recognitions
    • Bryan Hudnall MIS Director
    • Klaus Epstein – MIS
    • Mitchell Clark – Bureau Chief, Operations and Compliance
    • Monica Moya – Contract Supervisor
    • Abraham Sumner – Supervisor, District 5
    • Ted Pobst – District Administrator, District 6
    • Lee Ann Alderman- Program Consultant
    • Brian Michaels- Program Administrator
  • 854 Successful Outcomes for FY 16/17
  • DBS Employer Recognition Awards – SFY 2016-2017
    • Successful Closures Award
      • District 1 – Pensacola
      • Satellite 1 – Panama City
      • District 2 – Tallahassee
      • District 5 – Daytona Beach
      • Satellite 5 – Cocoa
      • District 7 – Tampa
      • Satellite -7 Lakeland
      • District 9 – Ft. Myers
      • Satellite – 9 – Palmetto
      • District 10 – West Palm Beach
      • District 11 – Sunrise
      • District 12 – Miami
    • Most Successful Closures – Carolyn Narayan
    • Most Placements – Steve Adams
    • District of the Year – District 12 – Miami
    • Most Improved District – District 12 – Miami
    • The Johnnie Slaton Award – Carolyn Narayan, Nancy Bateh
  • Director Doyle indicated he would like to create an annual event to recognize everyone for his or her hard work and success.
  • CSAVR Initiative - Vision 20/20
    • Expectations from consumers and  business
    • Addressing perception that VR is not progressive
    • Communicating on differences between state agencies
    • Collaboration
  • Orlando Roundtable is September 14, 2017
    • Collaboration between the General Agency and DBS
    • 20 consumers from DBS and Vocational Rehabilitation(VR)
    • Why did you seek VR Services; Did you get the help you expected; What one change do you suggest that would have made the program more responsive to your needs.
    • Consumer selection will be a joint collaboration with the District Office
  • RSA has no commissioner. Carol Dobak is the acting Commissioner.
  • US DOE Taskforce put together recommendations to address regulations
  • Director Doyle encouraged the FRCB to formulate comments on Regulations.
  • RSA Monitoring Comments
    • Definition of Competitive Integrated Employment
    • Prior approval for certain expenditures
    • Pre-employment Transition Services
    • Data collection requirements
    • Definition of Supported Employment
    • Technical Assistance Centers

Employee Recognition
District Six Administrator, Ted Pobst recognized the Hilton Orlando Bonnett Creek and Hilton Orlando Resort for their support and partnership.

Access Lynx Para Transit
David Franqui presented a reportAccess Lynx is a shared ride door-to-door transportation service serving the tri-county area of Orange, Seminole and Osceola.  Access Lynx serves over 2,100 passengers per day and is available 24 hours. 

The council had a discussion regarding accessibility and stressed the necessity of offering the application is an accessible format to visually impaired citizens.  Lee Nasehi stated that the Lighthouse of Central Florida is actively working with Access Lynx and has assurances that the app will be accessible.

RSA Monitoring Update
Director Doyle presented an update based on the exit conference on July 12. 

  • The draft report is anticipated within 60 days of June 30, which would be August 30.
  • DBS performance was exceptional based on 60-day process of application to eligibility and eligibility to IPE.
  • Average low wages for DBS clients across the state
  • Data Accuracy issues were noted relating to Supported  Employment Clients
  • DBS policies related to changes in the Rehab Act are not complete.
  • Estimated completion date for policies is October.
  • IPE process of 60-days versus federal law of 90-days
  • DBS needs to complete the work to update the SEA agreement with partners.
  • DBS needs to strengthen its processes for students that are potentially eligible for Pre-Employment Transition Services.
  • AWARE capability of tracking Pre-Employment Transition Services needs to be updated.
  • DBS is required to begin getting federal approval for capital expenditures over $1000
  • DBS needs representation on the local workforce boards.
  • Director Doyle and Aleisa McKinlay do not have a seat on the state workforce board.
  • Infrastructure costs

The council had a discussion regarding the DBS threshold for transition services of age 14 and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) of age 16.

Paul Edwards made a motion to set up a subcommittee comprised of Robert Kelly, Mikey Wiseman and Paul Edwards to prepare a document of comments that will be sent to the Council for input.  Howard Bell seconded the motion.   Director Doyle will provide a copy of his notes to the subcommittee.  The motion passed.

VR Report
Bridget Giles, Bureau Chief, Client Services presented an overview on the VR report for the fourth quarter of SFY 2016-2017. 

The division served 3489 consumers; The total number of closed cases is 570; the number of unsuccessful closures is 236;  the number of unsuccessful closures after receiving services is 115; the number of successful closures is 334; the number of partially or legally blind consumers successfully closed is 334; the number of other visually impaired individuals closing successfully is 82; the number of totally blind individuals closing successfully is 46; the number of clients closing successfully as a result of restoration is 51.  This brings our Rehabilitation Rate to 74%.

Meeting adjourned for lunch at 11:30 a.m.

The afternoon session began at 1:00 p.m.

Present via Phone: Sheila Young

Public Comment- None

District Administrators Report
Ted Pobst presented the District 6 report to the Council that serves Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Sumter Counties, along with the Villages.  Ted reported on the outstanding staff and their relationship with local Community Rehabilitation Programs, Lighthouse of Central Florida and New Vision for Independence.  A copy of the report is available upon request.

Lighthouse of Central Florida
Lee Nasehi, President of Lighthouse of Central Florida made a presentation before the council.   A copy of the report is available upon request. Ms. Nasehi stated her concerns over the decreasing numbers of referrals, contract remedies and the financial consequences facing the Lighthouse of Central Florida over the last four years.  Ms. Nasehi stated her position to work together with DBS and asked the council for support in the effort.

Director Doyle stated his intention of collaboration and transparency between the Division of Blind Services and the Community Rehabilitation Programs. He stated his plan to analyze the data closer to determine trends. Director Doyle emphasized the numbers on the contracts are estimates based on reasonable expectations based on data and trends.

Robert Kelly stated the need to gather facts to answer questions such as; what is the relative rate of referral to CRP’s; what specific services were associated with outcomes.

Jeff Whitehead, former District Administrator in District 6 stated a trend in a reduction in the number of vocational rehabilitation applications and an increase in medical cases.

Director Doyle stated that DBS is serving less people.
Robert Kelly made a motion to establish a committee to look at the issue of referrals and utilization of CRP’s. Paul Edwards seconded the motion.  The council had a discussion to include the Florida Association Serving.  The motion passed.

New Vision for Independence, Inc.
Jayne Maravola, Client Services Coordinator, New Vision for Independence presented a report.  Ms. Maravola gave an overview of the services offered, the service area, statistics of individuals served and the staff.  A copy of the report is available upon request.
Accessible Vocational Evaluation Update
Paul Edwards reported on the status of Dr. Karen Wolffe’s proposal.  Paul stated the proposal has been submitted, but not approved. Paul stated the objective is to work together with the DBS Evaluation Committee and come to an agreement by identifying areas of change, developing a set of vocational evaluation tools, and implementing those tools on actual clients to determine if they are work ready.

Director Doyle stated he had shared Karen Wolffe’s proposal with the DBS Evaluation Committee and recommended to include them on the next Blind Services Foundation meeting.

Pre-Employment Transition Services
Director Doyle presented an update.

  • There is currently a team working on draft policies.
  • The goal is to have a contract meeting within 7-10 days.
  • Use AWARE for the allocation of dollars.
  • Use technology for service provision.
  • Combine VR dollars and 15% Pre-Employment into one contract.  
  • Services for open-ended individuals who do not have to be clients paid by purchase order or authorization.
  • Service contracts operated through CRP’s, however, there would be services not provided by the CRP’s.

DBS Policy Update
Allison Flanagan presented an update.

  • New policies were submitted to RSA for review
  • Receiving technical assistance from WINTAC
  • Policy Team arriving August 7,8 ,9 will focus on Pre-Employment Transition Services
  • Create incentives to CRP’s who achieve higher outcomes
  • Estimated timeline for policy completion is second week in October.

The council had a discussion regarding potential clients, client choice, incentives. The council expressed concerns over more focus being placed on clients who have more skills and qualify for a higher paying job over clients who qualify for jobs that require fewer skills.

DBS Business Enterprise
Bill Findley, Bureau Chief, Business Enterprise presented a report.  For SFY 16-17, 6 individuals who were placed in a facility completed 12 months, six individuals entered their first facility and one stand-alone was added in Pensacola.  There are five new trainees and between now and January 1, 2018, 5 or 6 individuals are expected to be placed in their first facility. Sales figures for 2016 are $21,954,161.72.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Chairwoman Patricia Lipovsky called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and opening comments.

Council Members Present: 9
Patricia Lipovsky, Robert Kelly, Paul Edwards, Mikey Wiseman, Lenora Marten, Sandra Burke, Howard Bell, Bruce Miles, Robert Doyle

Council Members Absent:
Charles Brooks, Gloria Mills

Council Staff:
Selena Sickler

Council Business

Paul Edwards made a motion to accept the July meeting minutes.  Robert Kelly seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Dates of the May 2018 meeting

Bruce Miles made a motion for the dates of May 2-4, 2018 for West Palm Beach meeting.  Howard Bell seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

Dates of the July 2018 meeting
Paul Edwards made a motion to hold the July 2018 meeting in Orlando from July 25-27.  Mikey seconded the motion.  The motion passed. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the DBS administrative staff meeting.

Agenda Items for October 2017

  1. Updates:
    1. RSA Monitoring
    2. Contracts
    3. Pre-Employment
    4. Policies
    5. Data on the subcommittee
  2. Needs Assessment
  3. Client Satisfaction Survey Update
  4. Gifts and Donations
  5. Tampa District Office Opening by September/October
  6. District Report focusing on Lakeland
  7. Lighthouse for the Blind Winter Haven
  8. Sunshine Laws

Paul Edwards made a motion to have a conference call, if necessary, in between FRCB meetings to discuss options pending the outcome of the FSU Research Laboratory closing.  Robert Kelly seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

Mikey Wiseman made a motion to form a subcommittee to look at Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) & referrals. Sandra Burke seconded the motion.  The motion passed. The subcommittee members include; Sandra Burke, Howard Bell, Bruce Miles, Robert Kelly, Paul Edwards, Robert Doyle.  Paul Edwards agreed to be the chair of the subcommittee. Mikey Wiseman made a motion to invite Elly du Pre to be a part of the subcommittee.  Sandra Burke seconded the motion.  The motion passed.  The subcommittee agreed

New Business

Mikey Wiseman stated the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC) was getting ready for a transition and that several members were moving on. Mikey stated their upcoming meeting was in Bradenton, August 7, 8, 9, 2017. 

Mikey stated there had been communication between the staff from the FRC and the FRCB regarding joint participation for educating and advocating to legislators in Tallahassee.    Mikey stated the dates were October 9, 10, 11.    

The council had a discussion regarding joining the FRC when they come to Tallahassee in October.  Options discussed included, joining the other VR, putting consumer groups together along with FAASB and go separately or both.

Paul Edwards made a motion that the council entertain sending a representative to work with the larger Vocational Rehabilitation Agency on their information provision day but that this council also believe in creating a coalition to include consumer organizations along with Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind in setting up a separate opportunity to meet with legislators.  Robert Kelly seconded the motion.  Chair Lipovsky asks for any further discussion.  A vote was taken and the motion passed.   Bruce made a motion for Paul to travel to Tallahassee in October for the educating and advocating presentation to legislators.  Lenora Marten seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Open Discussion

Paul Edwards made a motion that the Chair notify Charles Brooks that he is being removed from the Council  and should he chose to reapply, action will be taken to the Governor’s Office. Robert Kelly seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

Mikey Wiseman made a motion to tap Director Doyle with the task of having a conversation with Michelle Dennard at their upcoming face-to-face meeting.  Sandra Burke seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m.