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

The Terrace Hotel
329 East. Main Street
Lakeland, Florida  33801
October 26-27, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 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:
Patricia Lipovsky, Robert Doyle, Bruce Miles, Lenora Marten, Paul Edwards, Robert Kelly

Mikey Wiseman, nonmember, waiting on reappointment.

Council Members Absent:
Howard Bell, Nicole Attong

Council Staff:
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff
Mireya Hernandez, Ana St. Fort, Nancy Brown, Bridget Giles, LeeAnn Alderman, Brian Michaels

Adoption of Agenda
Bruce Miles made a motion to accept the agenda and Robert Kelly seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Paul Edwards made a motion to move the selection of the October 2018 meeting to the October 26 agenda. Bruce Miles seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

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

  • Director Doyle stated his appreciation to District 7, the FRCB and partners for their participation in the Tampa Office Grand Reopening.
  • Madeline Davidson is providing leadership over the Jacksonville District Office.
  • DBS is continuing to look towards moving to a regional restructuring of the DBS District Office to a single manager for each office and a regional manager to oversee several district offices.  This would reduce the amount of supervisory conflicts, create upward mobility and increase salaries for staff. Director Doyle stated DBS was looking at college system as a regional structure to emulate.  Paul Edwards asked DBS to consider the importance of level of expertise and competence when determining level of compensation for job placement specialist. 
  • DBS is working to increase their rate.
  • RSA Monitoring Report is not expected until after the first of the year.
  • RSA suggested that DBS apply staff time as part of the 15% of pre-employment transition services.
  • RSA rescinded nine memorandum considered outdated.
  • Workforce Development Board held their annual gathering in Tampa. The meeting concluded with a CareerSource State Board meeting.
  • The Department of Labor insisted on having a representative from VR and DBS on the CareerSource State Board despite concerns over violation of Sunshine Laws.
  • Director Doyle has a seat on the State Workforce Board representing VR and DBS.
  • DBS is in the process of developing an infrastructure-funding template to submit to local workforce boards.
  • Patricia asked for recommendations that would assist seniors who are struggling with hearing loss and need hearing aids. Bruce suggested contacting the Lyons.
  • Paul Edwards stated there was a need for more DBS representation by on local workforce boards and suggested including funding information into DBS policies. Director Doyle agreed.
  • Director Doyle identified a representative for the CareerSource seat on the FRCB.
  • Director Doyle presented a video produced by Lauren Williams and Stephanie Lambert. The video shows people with visual disabilities living life despite and participating in activities their disabilities. The video is part of DBS’s effort to increase communication and outreach.

VR Report
Bridget Giles, Bureau Chief of Client Services presented an overview on the 2017-2018 first quarter.  A complete copy of the report is available upon request.

The division served 3310 consumers; The total number of closed cases is 388; the number of unsuccessful closures is 283;  the number of unsuccessful closures after receiving services is 160; the number of successful closures is 105; the number of partially or legally blind consumers successfully closed is 41; the number of other visually impaired individuals closing successfully is 22; the number of totally blind individuals closing successfully is 10; the number of clients closing successfully as a result of restoration is 32.  This brings our Rehabilitation Rate to 40%.

Bruce Miles made a motion to postpone the decision of the location of the 2018 October meeting until after lunch. Paul seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Paul Edwards made a motion to hold a Summit on February 5 from 1-4 in Fort Lauderdale. Robert Kelly seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Sunshine Laws
Brent McNeal presented a report to the council.

Brent read the recent case law opinion regarding government in the sunshine of Florida, Florida Statute Chapter 413.011 and summarized Florida Statute 286.011 specifically as it pertains to any gathering of two or more members of the same board who knowingly discuss some matter which will foreseeably come before that board for action.

Brent held a question and answer session with council members.

A scenario was proposed as follows: Is it violation of the law for the staff member of the council to distribute materials received from other council members prior to a regularly scheduled meeting in preparation for the discussion at the meeting? 
The council had a discussion. Brent stated there should be written guidance on the practice as described above and he will get with Director Doyle to work on a draft.

Brent stated that two weeks’ notice is good for the FRCB meetings and that one week is acceptable on a case-by-case basis. He stated that in an emergency, less time would be adequate.

Brent read Florida Statute 119 regarding public records. The council had a discussion regarding whether the names of clients who register their attendance on the comment cards when attending the public forum is considered a public record. Selena stated that the cards were used for drafting the meeting minutes but that the name of the client was omitted.  Brent stated he thought that process was acceptable.

Brent stated the recording of the meeting would be considered a public record and would need to be redacted before disseminating.

Brent stated that he and Taylor Wolfe had recently taken on the task of advising DBS on public records laws.

Brent stated he was available to answer any questions by the council and offered his phone and email address.
The meeting adjourned for a morning break.

Employer Recognition
Mireya Hernandez, District Administrator for District 7 and the Lakeland Satellite office along with Sheryl Brown, Executive Director for Lighthouse of Tampa recognized Winter Haven Hospital for the Employer Recognition Award.

Policy Update
LeeAnn Alderman reviewed policy revisions for 2.02, 2.16, 2.35, 2.37, 6.07 and 6.11.

The council had a discussion on policy 2.02, #5 under “Methods or Sources for Facilitating Informed Choice”.  There were concerns about its broad nature leaving a lot of room for interpretation by the client.  The council suggested a more structured presentation of information.  Director Doyle stated it was within the intent of the law and agreed there was opportunity for further tailoring.  He agreed to work on a revision by adding more detail in the counselor’s manual.

Meeting adjourned for lunch at 11:50 a.m.

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

Public Comment- None

LeeAnn Alderman continued her presentations of policy revisions 2.35, 2.37 and 6.07.

Mikey stated his concern regarding mainstream transition students being earmarked for VR services instead of being referred to DBS. Paul Edwards stated that he would like to see the responsibilities of colleges added to the transition policy. Director Doyle agreed.

Paul stated that DBS should review the agreement of understanding with post-secondary institutions and adult centers to ensure they are providing accessible equipment.  Sheryl Brown asked if there was a reason why policy 6.07 did not include language stating that referrals for AT evaluations could be made to Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRP’s). Director Doyle stated that the overall flow of the policy needed to be looked.

District Administrators Report
Mireya Hernandez, District Administrator presented a report focusing on the Lakeland Satellite office. Mireya stated that an outstanding staff, communication and collaboration were key factors in serving clients.  A complete copy of the report is available upon request.

Lighthouse for the Blind Winter Haven
Sheryl Brown, Executive Director presented a report on the Lighthouse for the Blind Winter Haven that serves clients in 19 cities in Polk County. The Lighthouse employs seven staff members.  Sheryl stated that in the third quarter, the Lighthouse has spent $49,138 on cabs and $15,610 on mileage in Polk County.  A complete copy of the report is available upon request.

Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired & Blind
Sylvia Perez, Executive Director presented a report on the Lighthouse that serves clients in Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties. She stated that counselors drove 85,000 miles in last year in order to serve clients.  The Lighthouse employs 18 people and seven are visually impaired. Sylvia stated she had sent Director Doyle a questionnaire of 10 questions to assist counselors when accessing potential clients. Sylvia stated that construction was beginning on a 17,000 square foot facility.  A complete copy of the report is available upon request.

CRP Contracts Update
Paul Edwards presented an update to the council. Paul stated that gathering the data has been difficult.  He stated the initial data gathered was not sufficient.  Paul stated that before filters were applied, the referral rate to CRP’s was 40% and after filters were applied, the referral rate was 64%.  The rates have remained constant.  Paul stated we do not know much about the population making up the 36%.  Paul stated he like the suggestion of using Comprehensive Functional Assessment (CFA).  Paul stated the subcommittee would continue to do its work.

Director Doyle stated that there is a lot more data to look at. He stated that utilizing CFA’s makes logical sense as far as progression. He stated there are technical/legal issues to look at. Director Doyle presented additional data and reviewed data regarding the Lighthouse of Central Florida. Director Doyle agreed that is was important to take the time to review the data. Sheryl Brown stated her efforts were focused on marketing. 

Location and Dates of October 2018 Meeting
Bruce Miles made a motion for Miami.  Paul seconded the motion. The motion passed.  The council agreed on 17, 18, 19.

Chairperson Lipovsky recognized Sandra Burke from the public.  Ms. Burke stated that she like the public service announcement focused on leisure activities and asked if additional funding for artistic activities was being considered.  Director Doyle stated that the video was a complimentary to the Comcast video and the intent was to highlight a variety of DBS programs.  He stated there were no current intentions on additional funding.

Ms. Burke stated her concern over the number of vacant seats on the council. Director Doyle stated there had been recent communication with the Governor’s appointment office by phone and email to encourage the appointments of current applicants. He also encouraged more applications to be submitted specifically in Business/ Industry category. The council had a brief discussion about recruiting people.

Robert Kelly made a motion to table the discussion and move forward with the agenda.  Paul seconded the motion. The motion passed.

New DBS/Contracts
LeeAnn Alderman gave a power point presentation regarding DBS updates on the new procurement contracts.  LeeAnn outlined the different groups served under the contract, defined each major program and eligibility categories for students, reviewed policy updates, and outlined the process flow for Transition/VR Contracts.

Director Doyle gave a brief overview and answered questions. 

Paul asked if the deliverables in the new contract were determined by prior years like in the previous contract. Director Doyle said there would be carryover and added that clients to receive a high level of services under authorization.

Director Doyle stated that students who turn 22 and still in high school may be eligible to continue receiving transition services.

Sheryl Brown stated her concerns about cash flow while transitioning from the old contract to the new contract.

Director Doyle stated there might need to be a manual adjustment.

The meeting adjourned at 4:32 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:
Patricia Lipovsky, Robert Kelly, Lenora Marten, Bruce Miles, Robert Doyle

Council Members Absent:
Howard Bell, Nicole Attong,Paul Edwards

Council Staff:
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff:
Bridget Giles, Ana Saint Fort

Council Business- Council members present did not constitute a quorum.  The council members present continued with a discussion.

Agenda Items for October 2017

  • Client Satisfaction Survey Annual Report
  • Needs Assessment
  • Unified State Plan
  • Paratransit
  • Bylaws-Thursday
  • Lighthouse of Broward
  • CRP Subcommittee Report
  • Summit on Wednesday
  • Election of Executive Members
  • Committee Appointments
  • Gifts & Donations
  • Vocational Evaluation Update
  • Approval of July 2017 Meeting Minutes

The meeting adjourned at 9:59 a.m.