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

Hilton Miami Airport
5101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, FL

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Chair Robert Kelly called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. the Pledge of Allegiance and introductions.

Council Members Present:
Mikey Wiseman, Nicole Attong, Robert Kelly, Robert Doyle, Bruce Miles, Paul Kurtz, Louise Peyton, Denise Valkema, Paul Edwards

Council Members via Phone:
Patricia Lipovsky, Howard Bell

Council Members Absent:
Rose Conry, Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Council Staff:
Tami Oates

DBS Staff
Bridget Giles, Robin Goldstone Garcia, Juan Diaz

Adoption of Agenda
Mikey Wiseman made a motion to accept the agenda. Paul Kurtz seconded. The motion passed.

Director’s Report
Director Doyle presented the Director’s Report.

  • DBS is working on improving the audio system for the FRCB meetings
  • The Panama City District Office appears to be a total loss due to Hurricane Michael.

Some DBS Staff have been significantly impacted by Hurricane Michael.  DBS is working with clients remotely.

  • Director Doyle introduced Marian Rezkallah, Program Administrator in Client Services.
  • Recruiting efforts are continuing to fill vacancies.
  • DBS counselor reclassification is complete.
  • DBS is currently working on realignment.
  • DBS is reviewing applications submitted for the Innovative Projects Program.
  • DBS Annual Staff Training held in Daytona was a success. David DeNortis gave an outstanding presentation. Dr. Kline presented on how to read eye charts. There was a presentation on creating a resume and completing a federal application.
  • New Contract changes have progressed smoothly.
  • RSA has provided a quick turnaround regarding prior approval process. 
    Robin Goldstone Garcia has been communicating with RSA frequently to move the process along.
  • DBS has discussed the sustainability study with George Washington University. The FRCB requested to have input. Director Doyle agreed.
  • Policy 2.09, post-secondary education, has been amended as of October 2, 2018.
  • DBS is looking at client financial participation.

The Council had a discussion regarding Policy 2.09. There was concern that DBS Staff provide written notification to the consumer of any denial of services.  Director Doyle assured that written notification is a natural part of the process.

There was further discussion of the policy regarding Out of State Fees, certain language and the responsibility of clients on social security. Director Doyle suggested looking at available time on the agenda to have a further discussion.  He stated that the client is responsible for Out of State Fees when the same service can be provided in state. He stated that exceptions are made on a case by case basis with the District Administrator, Bureau Chief or Director.  Director Doyle stated that DBS has very few requests for mediation.

The Council expressed an appreciation for Walter Blackman.

The Council had a discussion regarding the vacant position of the Client Resolution Specialist and how DBS is providing services. Director Doyle stated that Jeff Whitehead and Jim Woolyhand have stepped in to provide support in the interim. 

Chairman Kelly called for time.

VR Report
Bridget Giles, Bureau Chief presented an overview of the VR Report SFY 2018-2019 1rd Quarter.

The division served 3259 consumers; the total number of closed cases is 349; the number of unsuccessful closures is 240; the number of unsuccessful closures after receiving services is 140; the number of successful closures is 109; the rehab rate was 44%.

The top 3 reasons for unsuccessful closures were unable to locate or contact, refused services or no further services and failure to cooperate.

Bridget reported that part of Marian Rezkallah’s role would be analysis of data.

Morning Break was at 10:15am

There were carryover questions from the VR Report.

The Council discussed the decline in the number served over the past several years.  Director Doyle stated that DBS is monitoring the trend.  He stated there have been efforts to increase the intensity of outreach efforts.  He stated a need to communicate not only with eye doctors but with trauma doctors. 

Chairman Kelly stated to hear from Ana Saint Fort and then proceed with the agenda.  Ana St Fort stated that the Orlando District Office was moving to change their approach to outreach activities by strengthening relationship with CRPs and business partners as well as reaching out to hospitals and business in general in order to increase referrals.

CSNA (Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment)
Chaz Compton called into the meeting and presented a summary of the CSNA progress. 

Completed 327 face to face interviews.  The surveys were sent out and a total of 264 have been returned: 160 consumer surveys, 42 partners, 57 staff and 5 business.  Chaz stated once the agency specific data is returned, analysis will begin.

The Council had a discussion regarding specific targets for each group. Chaz responded that no particular targets were identified or targeted.

The Council stated concern over including questions regarding DBS during the same interview process as the General Agency. 

The Council expressed there are specific needs of blind people which is why there is a separate agency serving the blind. 

They also expressed there was a fundamental difference between employers attitudes of employing blind people vs people with other disabilities.

The Council discussed the opportunity to provide input before the report if final.  Chaz agreed.

Client Satisfaction Survey Annual Report SFY 2017-2018
Minna Jia presented the results of the SFY Annual Report 2017-2018. The report includes cases of employment bound clients whose cases closed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.  Beginning in July of 2017, the survey was modified to include questions regarding local service providers in addition to DBS.  The survey gathers perspectives of former DBS clients concerning program services, levels of satisfaction and areas for program improvement.

The meeting adjourned for lunch.

Employer Recognition
Juan Carlos Diaz, District Administrator for District 12, recognized IFB Solutions and Michelle’s Café.

DA Report
District Administrator, Juan Diaz presented a report regarding District 12 which includes Miami-Dade and Monroe County.  He reported on staffing, programs, open cases, successful closures, expenditures, occupational placements and activities of the district.  The report also highlighted efforts of interaction between the district office and Career Source in order to build relationships and create opportunities for job ready clients with vacant employment positions.

Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Ms. Virginia Jacko, President and CEO of the Miami Lighthouse presented a report.  The report highlighted Employee Statistics, Program Participants and Statistics, Achievements and Upcoming Events.  Director Doyle commented that the Miami Lighthouse was a national model for CRPs.  Director Doyle announced that the Miami Lighthouse proposal for “Mentoring Matters” has been selected for contract negotiation as part of the 2018-2019 Innovative Projects Program.

Competitive Integrated Employment
Mikey Wiseman stated that the subcommittee agreed at their meeting that Paul Edwards would draft a letter to express FRCB concerns regarding WIOA legislation of Competitive Integrated Employment. Paul Edwards read the draft letter. The Council had a discussion. The Council agreed to use the verbiage “people who are blind” instead of “blind people”. Mikey made a motion to move forward with the letter.  Bruce Miles seconded the motion.  The motion passed.  The Council had a discussion and agreed that there should be a broad range of recipients: RSA, Florida House and Senate, National Council of State Agencies Serving the Blind (NCSAB), National Council of Disability (NCD).  Mikey stated he would like to send the signed copy to the Florida Council of the Blind.

Approval of July 2018 Meeting Minutes
Paul Edwards made a motion that the Council defer approval until February 2019 and be available to offer any missing information as needed to complete the minutes. Bruce seconded the motion. The motion passed.

Agenda Items Daytona Beach, February 2019

  • Policy regarding Client Resolution Specialist- Bruce Miles
  • Agenda Items not covered from July 2018 – Bruce Miles
  • Report on Average Rate of Pay and Average Hours Worked for a Successful Closure – Mikey Wiseman
  • Vocational Evaluation Update – Paul Edwards
  • Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library, Conklin Center, Rehabilitation Center– Paul Edwards
  • Friends of the Talking Library
  • Gifts and Donation Report – Bruce Miles
  • DBS Appeal Process  - Howard Bell
  • Protocol for Policy Decisions – Mikey Wiseman
  • State Plan – Paul Edwards

Location & Date of October 2019 Meeting
Mikey Wiseman made a motion for St Petersburg.  Patricia Lipovsky seconded the motion.  The motion passed.  Bruce Miles made a motion for October 16, 17, and 18.  Denise Valkema seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

Old Business
The Council had a discussion regarding collaboration with other groups to inform the Legislature about the Division of Blind Services and how DBS can support their constituents.  Paul suggested including information regarding older blind services and accessible voting machines.  Mikey suggested boots on the ground in Tallahassee during Committee Week and providing Packets with Statistical Information.  Director Doyle stated that he supported the initiative.  Paul Edwards suggested that Denise Valkema chair a committee that would be responsible for coordination of all groups.  Denise agreed.

Bruce Miles shared information with the Council regarding Selena’s medical condition.

New Business
Director Doyle suggested the possibility of the DSO supporting the FRCB with refreshments at quarterly meetings.  Paul Edwards stated he would add the discussion to the next DSO meeting agenda.

Chairman Robert Kelly announced that Sylvia Perez had resigned from the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired & Blind. Chairman Kelly stated that Ms. Perez had asked him to share her concern over the elimination of Level 2 certification of Rehabilitation Therapist. 

Open Discussion
The Council had a discussion regarding attendance. The Council discussed the absence and lack of communication from Rose Conry, Career Source representative.  Paul Edwards suggested the Bruce Miles chair a committee to look at revision of the Bylaws regarding attendance.  Council members on the committee include Bruce Miles, Paul Edwards, Patricia Lipovsky and Howard Bell. 

Mikey Wiseman made a motion to excuse the absence of Sylvia Perez.  Denise Valkema seconded the motion.  The motion passed.

Mikey made a motion that the absence of Rose Conry be unexcused. Bruce Miles seconded the motion.  Director Doyle read Section 7B of the FRCB Bylaws. Paul Edwards moved to regard the absence as a first unexcused for this person until a process is created that informs a Council Member that they are in jeopardy.

Robert Kelly made a motion to adjourn. Bruce Miles seconded the motion. The motion passed. 

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.