Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors
Embassy Suites International Drive
Orlando, Florida

Friday, January 29, 2016

The meeting was called to order at 8:35am by Vice Chairman John Klindtworth who also called the roll.  The Chairman, Tom Spiliotis was unable to attend the Friday session.

The following individuals were present: Tom Spiliotis, Chairman (Saturday session only)
John Klindtworth, Vice Chairman

District Representatives: Alton Palmore, District 1 Alternate; Georgia Kellogg, District 2 Alternate; Terri Bowen, District 3; Patti Fulda, District 4; Mitzi Tyler, District 5; Jose Quintanilla, District 6; Woody Matthews, District 7;  Tom Saunders, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; Lilian Pemberton, District 10.  

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff: Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; Don Meloy, Marketing and Site Development Manager; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Business Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Business Consultant; Greg Coon, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Jim Carper, Region 5 Business Consultant; Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant.  Region 6 Consultant, Alejandro Garcia was unable to attend the meeting.

Licensed Vendors:  Brian Britt, District 7 Alternate; David Kaplan, District 9 Alternate;
Shirley Smart, Todd Bowen, Jim Warth, Kathy Warth, Shirley Smart, Sead Bekric, Paulette Williams.

Rehabilitative Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Instructors, Steve Moss and Jill Richardson; Trainees: Tasha Doan, Lea Nicole Parker, Kevin Wheeler, Kevin Nealey, David Wermuth.

Guests: Representatives from MEPSouth, Gene Rudisill, Mike Holt, Ronnie Taylor, and Eva Taylor (Saturday session only); Marion Matthews, June Matthews.

Janet Chernoff read a synopsis of the minutes of the November 2015 meeting.  The full minutes had been sent out previously by email.  Joel Rose moved to accept the minutes.  Seconded by Georgia Kellogg.  Passed without objection.

BBE Updates – Bill Findley

The BBE staff held a kick off meeting January 11-13, 2016 in Tallahassee.  Consultants for all six regions attended along with state office staff, Maureen Fink, Don Meloy and Steve Moss. The group visited local food service operations and reviewed past accomplishments and set goals for 2016. 

In 2015, fourteen vendors were licensed and fourteen vendors were placed in their first facility.  Five of the vendors placed had been licensed in 2014.  The Florida program exceeded all other state programs with these numbers.  Average earnings for vendors for the Federal fiscal year of 2014-2015 was $62,531 as compared to $59,306 for the previous year and sales reached a new high at $21.2 million. Two new facilities were added, military dining in Camp Blanding and Panama City. This information was used to determine program goals for 2016.

Goals for 2016:
1. Increase gross sales to $21.5 million
2. To have 75% of new operators remain in their first facility for one year
3. Add two new facilities or the equivalent in new locations added to existing facilities
4. Make progress with VA locations
5. To reach out to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to educate transition students on the program and possibly facilitate work experience or internships
6. Establish a micro-market in the Turlington building
7. Complete the Rules revision
8. Finish the Operations manual
9. Receive approval from NASA on planned renovations
10. Complete planned renovations at other over-the-counter facilities.

The BBE staff visited the micro-market in the George C. Young Federal Courthouse in Orlando during their consultant meeting on Thursday, January 28.  The business in the micro-market is off to a slow start, but will hopefully build with planned population increases. 

The program continues to work on VA locations.  Drink machines have been placed in the parking garage of the Orlando area VA facility at Lake Nona with estimated sales of $500 for the year. The Division will use this sales information to show that the garage location is not a viable alternative to the vending in the building.   A letter was sent to NASA on October 6, 2015 requesting that BBE operations be separated from the NASA exchange as there is a conflict of interest. The letter also requested that gift shops cease selling the same items sold in BBE snack bars and vending machines and asked that the Division be consulted regarding any business opportunity in the new Headquarters building.  No response has been received so a follow up letter will be sent to NASA from the Department of Education Office of the General Counsel (OGC).

We have been advised by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that the reopening of the two Leon County rest areas, Facilities 426 and 427, is tentatively scheduled for March 25th.   Once they reopen, the tear down and rebuilding project for the two rest areas in Jefferson County, 571 and 572 will be started. Tentatively that is planned for April 1. There is currently no plan to renovate Facility 415, I-4 Seminole County eastbound but the westbound rest area, Facility 416 is scheduled for renovations in the next year or two.  Facilities 432 and 433, Skyway Bridge rest areas on I-275 are scheduled for a complete rebuild, which could begin as early as the first quarter of 2017.  A new rest area across from the existing rest area at Alligator Alley is scheduled to be completed during 2017.

The Division is making a determined effort to obtain vending at Eglin and Tyndall Air Force Bases.  We have filed for arbitration concerning the vending for Tyndall Air Force Base. At the previous arbitration hearing in May 2015 it was agreed that the Division should have the vending, but this has not come to fruition and additional action was deemed necessary.

As of December 31, 2015 there is $221,633.40 in the Bank of America account and $152,656.27 in the 595 Spending Account. Funds will be moved into the spending account as needed. The program has not yet received the requested increase to spending authority to cover the new military contracts.  This is “pass through” money that the program receives from the military and pays to the vendor and their teaming partner. 

Maureen Fink reported on upcoming projects.  Projects for the 2015-2016 fiscal year will include vending machines for Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) locations throughout the state, remodels in over-the-counter locations in Tallahassee, Jacksonville and Miami and the micro-market in the Turlington building.  Projects for the 2016-2017 fiscal year include renovations in over-the-counter facilities at locations in Tallahassee and the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), a potential facility at the Department of Children and Family (DCF) in Tampa and storage for the Krome Detention Center in Miami.  Some of these projects may be moved to the current fiscal year should funds be available.

Type IIs – Maureen Fink

Twenty-three facilities are currently under a Type II LOFA.  The KSC Headquarters snack bar recently closed and South Dade Community Health Center has an uncertain future.  Two Type II facilities are special circumstances with an operator on medical leave and a location in transition during construction.  Four Type II facilities will be available on the January selection cycle and three more will be on a future selection cycle.  Sales are being monitored at thirteen facilities to see if they would be viable as stand-alone facilities.  Bernie suggested that Facility 608, Tachachale vending be paired with Facility 599, Lake City vending as a Type I and Type II combo to create a viable facility.  Bernie also recommended the locations from Facility 389, Jacksonville Naval Air Station (NAS) vending route now being operated as a Type II be split between the two other NAS routes.  The two operators have signed off on the plan including the geographic lines proposed.   Woody Matthews moved that locations from Facility 389 be divided between Facility 388 and 397 per the proposed plan and geographic lines agreed to by the current operators and the Division.  Seconded by Tom Saunders.  Passed without objection.  

Proposed Rule Changes to the Administrative Code – Alan Risk

A subcommittee consisting of Woody Matthews, Tom Saunders and Tom Spiliotis has met several times via conference call to discuss the rule changes.  Once the proposed revisions are agreed upon they will be submitted to the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC). This is planned for March and will be followed by public meetings held to discuss the changes.  The purpose of the review is to put policies already approved by the committee into rule and to clarify language.  The subcommittee has reviewed the conditions of removal from a vending facility and suspension of license and looked at the wording and recommended when the words “may” or “shall” should be used.  All recommended changes will be reviewed by the Office of the General Counsel (OGC).  The subcommittee did not address the selection cycle process as a separate subcommittee will review these procedures. Woody and Tom Saunders indicated that they were trying to give the Division some leeway on penalties so that individual circumstances can be considered without creating liability for the Division when there is a grievance.

Joel Rose requested that copies of the completed rules with the changes be sent to all operators once it is finalized.

John Klindtworth recommended that operators be required to provide proof of legal blindness every two years.  Improved technology and medical procedures could recover a vendor’s sight to the point that they are no longer eligible to be in the program.  There was a brief discussion about the process and whether proof would be required by all vendors or if the policy would apply only when there is concern about eligibility.  There was also a discussion whether it should be required every two years or every five years.  It was agreed that this standard should be applied to all licensed vendors. Lilian Pemberton moved that all vendors should be required to provide proof of legal blindness every two years.  Seconded by Terri Bowen.  Passed 7 to 3. Alan Risk will check with the OGC on how this policy should be implemented.

BBE Training Class – Steve Moss

Five trainees are currently in the class.  Two, Lea Nicole Parker and Tasha Doan are in class with Jill Richardson and the rest, David Wermuth, Kevin Nealey and Kevin Wheeler are in class with Steve Moss.  All the students except Tasha Doan started on January 4th.  Tasha started in October 2015.  One student asked about the program’s direction over the next five years and there was a brief discussion about opportunities through expanding the number of facilities and through retirement of existing operators.

Marketing and Site Development Updates – Don Meloy

Five agreements are awaiting signatures and six federal permits are awaiting responses.  Agreements that are waiting for signatures include DJJ statewide locations, Department of Revenue (DOR), Sarasota County, City of Lake Worth and DCF vending in Tampa. Imminent projects include Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee, National Guard armories and the Florida Park Systems.  The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has promised to provide an advanced list of park locations coming up for bid this year. Future projects include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Palm Beach, Department of State Purchasing in Ft. Lauderdale, a Medical Center and Cancer Infusion Clinic in Bay Pines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Miami. The potential opportunities in inmate commissaries are being investigated and two companies, VendEngine and Turn Key Corrections will be contacted for more information.


Business Analyst Report – John Ahler

Sales have increased but reimbursements are remaining constant.  Ten monitorings have been done in 2016.  Some vendors are still reporting deposits rather than sales on their monthly reports.  Sales are determined by meter readings, cash register tapes or reports from card readers.  John will work with Steve Moss to get a sample USA Technology report to show vendors how to read the report.  Some vendors are underreporting non-taxable sales or paying too much sales tax. Machines that have ice cream or perishable food need a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).  This is a compliance issue and vendors need to get the required licenses. Consultants will advise affected operators of the requirement and will begin noting non-compliance on the next quarterly (April – June) visitation.

Selection Process Consultant Questionnaire – Bill Findley/Alan Risk

The value of the consultant questionnaire as part of the performance points has been questioned.  Operators in a facility can receive up to ten points for the questionnaire, up to six points for being under a LOFA and up to nine points for achieving net profit.  There was concern that consultant questionnaire, which only looks at a vendor’s performance at the time it’s submitted, could be contradicted by visitation reports.  Another worry was that if the questionnaire was removed the panel would not receive the consultant’s input.  Alan Risk explained that the panel receives a synopsis which includes copies of the visitation reports and any other documentation that speaks to the operator’s performance in the facility.  Consultants need to make sure that they include complete information both good and bad about the operation on the visitation reports. It was suggested that the ten points be split between the points for net profit and credit for experience.  The possibility of adding a third category was discussed.  A subcommittee will be put together to examine the selection process. 

Compliance Officer Updates – Alan Risk

Debby Malmberg’s term on the selection panel expired in December.  The terms of two alternates, Mike Renaud and Shirley Smart have also expired.   Tom Saunders moved to renew Debby Malmberg’s term on the selection panel.  Seconded by Joel Rose.  Passed without objection.   Joel Rose moved to renew Shirley Smart’s term as alternate. Seconded by Alton Palmore. Passed without objection.  Woody Matthews moved to renew Mike Renaud’s term.  Seconded by Georgia Kellogg.  Passed without objection. 

One new operator was licensed in December for a total of 14 new operators in 2015.  Nine of the 14 have been awarded their first facility.  Four locations are available on the current selection cycle and four applications have been received so far.  Only 11 vendors out of 121 active vendors have no CEUs for the 2015-2017 period.  Alan has requested that each consultant provide a CEU opportunity each year.  The BBE staff will be doing a road show that will give operators the opportunity to earn ½ CEU in late 2016 or early in 2017.  No grievances have been filed since February 2015. 

  Biennial Seminar – Janet Chernoff

Plans are in process for the 2017 Biennial.  Per a survey to all participants the opening session will be held at the beginning of the Friday session and the voting will be done at the end of the day on Saturday.  A mini-trade show will be held both days.  The agency will not be making any arrangements for a hospitality room for the 2017 event.

Regional Status/District Updates – Regional Consultants and District Representatives

Region 6 – Alejandro Garcia was unable to attend the Committee meeting.

District 10 – Lilian Pemberton
Nothing much has changed since the November meeting.  She has contacted Tom Castillo at Coke for assistance in getting equipment for new postal locations.  She has also made arrangements for training so vendors in her district can get CEU credit.

Region 5 – Jim Carper
Joe Bragg is doing well with Facility 612, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) cafeteria and is seeing an increase in sales of 10-15% each month. Don Gerschick, Facility 469, Palm Beach Courthouse snack bar has added credit card readers to his machines and has had soda sales double in the first month. The rest rooms at Facilities 430 and 431, I-95 rest areas in St. Lucie are closed for renovations.  Temporary facilities have been installed and the operators have posted signs advising customers that the vending is still available.  Ron Light, Facility 430 has added Coke products and has seen a 20% increase in sales. 
District 9 – Joel Rose
Sales were down the end of the year in part due to the holidays and decreasing population in post offices.  The Pembroke Pines post office, a location on the Facility 547, vending route is scheduled to be closed the end of the summer.  Joel is trying to contact postal officials about adding other post offices to his route. 

Region 1 – Brian Ashworth
Brian and Don Meloy are investigating new locations to add to existing facilities.  Locations include DJJ in Pensacola and Panama City and the State Hospital in Chattahoochee.  Don Meloy will be meeting with building management at the State Hospital next week.  This location could be added to Facility 532, FCI location in Marianna. There is also a possibility of starting a Panama City route now that there is a vendor in the area. Facility 470, Ft. Knox snack has two DBPR inspections that have had no violations. Sales have increased by 20% at Facility 371, FDLE Cafeteria. Renovations were done at Facility 545, Twin Towers snack bar and additional renovations are planned for Facility 441, Larson building cafeteria and Facility 273, Collins snack bar.  A micro-market is planned for the Turlington Building, Facility 361.
District 1 – Alton Palmore (Alternate)
Alton had nothing to add to Brian’s report.

District 2 – Georgia Kellogg (Alternate)
Georgia related concerns from District 2 vendors that Gregory Pest control is only inspecting facilities and is not spraying them unless pests are evident. The Division is aware of this and will follow up.  It was also recommended that the Division make sure that when a new vendor signs into a facility that new machines have new coin mechs or their equivalents.  Recently an operator took over a location that had older coin mechs installed that were not comparable to the original parts that came with the machine.

Region 2 – Bernie Kaiserian
Gene Harper retired on January 4 and new vendor Mike McCrea took over Facility 447, Rest Area I-10 East in Baker County.  Eighteen machines have been installed into Facility 618, Citizen’s Insurance.  Machines are on nine floors of the building with a population of 1000-1200 people. The operator of Facility 239, Jacksonville Police Administration has added card readers to his vending machines.  One operator from Region 2 asked if a conference call could be arranged so that operators could listen to the committee meetings.  The Division had investigated this previously and it is not logistically and economically feasible. 

District 3 – Terri Bowen
Facility 424, Wellborn Eastbound lost water recently which closed restrooms and negatively impacted vending sales.  Facility 425, Wellborn Westbound was not affected.

District 4 – Patti Fulda
Patti commended Bernie Kaiserian for assistance he gives to vendors in her district.

Region 4 - Tony Arduengo
Three machines have been installed in the Punta Gorda Airport and two more will be installed after the renovations of the ticketing area are finished.  This location has been added to Facility 180, Fort Myers vending route.  A permit is in process for three machines for a DCF building in Tampa.  The Division has proposed a micro-market for this location but the building is requesting a full service cafeteria. The building does not have a large enough population for a cafeteria to be viable location for a BBE vendor.  The vending at this location will be added to Facility 605, vending at the James Haley VA clinic. A permit for fourteen snack machines for vending in Sarasota County is also in process.
District 7 - Woody Matthews
Healthy vending locations on his route are allowing more non-healthy options.  Card readers on the City of Clearwater machines are not being utilized. 

District 8 – Tom Saunders
Locations on the Skyway Bridge are scheduled for a rebuild.  Tom requested that the agenda for the quarterly meeting be sent to all vendors.  Currently the agenda is only sent to Committee members.  The agenda will be sent out to all vendors and they will be advised to contact their Committee Representative with any questions or comments on agenda items.

Region 3 – Greg Coon
The operator of Facility 403, snack bar at KSC had his contract cancelled.  The operator of Facility 150, KSC Headquarters building has accepted this location on a Type II.  His location has been closed as the building is slated to be demolished and rebuilt.  To date we do not know our status in regard to a facility in the new building.  Facility 285, Daytona Vending lost three Volusia County sites.  Vending in the Daytona Beach International Airport, and in a DOR and a DJJ building will help offset the loss of those locations. The program was not awarded the Marion County vending which would have been added to Facility 603, Ocala vending to make it a viable route.  Facility 586, Orlando Route has had its best month of sales since the route was started.  All three routes in Region 3 have card readers and the last of the rest area vendors in Region 3 is preparing to add them to their machines.

District 6 – Jose Quintanilla
Three of the locations on his route were lost because the Division was not awarded the bid for the Volusia County vending.  The program requested that he be able to keep the locations that are currently on his route, but the county said no.  Don Meloy indicated that it’s possible the Division lost the bid because Volusia County does not require new machines and the other company offered a higher commission.  In addition, the Division bid on two of the three zones and the vending was awarded to a company that bid on all three.

District 5– Mitzi Tyler
Mitzi reported that operator, Dennis Horn suggested that the program consider the Avanti Company for micro-market locations.  The company was invited to bid on the Orlando micro-market and did not respond.  She had nothing else to report.

Jim Carper and Don Meloy suggest that a plaque or letter of recognition be given to organizations, such as city and county buildings that use BBE vendors and are not required to by the Randolph Sheppard Act.

There was a brief discussion about problems with Coke pricing.  Coke raises its prices the first of the year and vendors are being overcharged.  It was suggested that vendors call Tom Castillo if their local sales person is not responsive to their inquiries.  Sead Bekric is having problems with Pepsi pricing.  It was suggested he contact Anthony Munroe. 

Adjourned for the day at 4:25pm.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tom Spiliotis called the meeting to order at 9:10am.  John Klindtworth called the role. Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant and Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Consultant represented the Division.

Retirement Planning – Tom Spiliotis

Four representatives from MEP South spoke to the Committee about forming an association of vendors for the purpose of providing retirement options and other services for the licensed BBE operators in Florida, their families and employees.  The company would survey the vendors, meet with individual groups and with individual vendors that are interested in participating.   There would be no obligation for a vendor to participate and each vendor could pick the options that would work for them.  They could offer the plan to their staff but would not be financially obligated to contribute on their behalf.   Once established the group could open it up to vendors in other states. A subcommittee will be put together to investigate this further.

Subcommittees – Tom Spiliotis

Grievances-Joel Rose, David Kaplan and Georgia Kellogg
Promotion and Transfer-Lilian Pemberton, Patti Fulda, Don Tuell and John Klindtworth
Training, Retraining and Upward Mobility-Lilian Pemberton, Terri Bowen, Lourena Mellott and Jose Quintanilla
Finance, Audit and Budgeting-Mike Renaud, John Klindtworth and Mitzi Tyler
Public Relations-Jose Quintanilla, Woody Matthews, Alton Palmore and Lilian Pemberton
Policy and Procedures – Woody Matthews, Tom Saunders and Tom Spiliotis
Retirement–Jim Lover, Krekor Sampadian, John Klindtworth, Mitzi Tyler

The Promotion and Transfer Subcommittee will look at the selection process with input from the selection panel. The Retirement Subcommittee will investigate forming a vendor group for the purpose of offering retirement and insurance options for vendors.

Round Table Discussion

The committee discussed the RSA buying group.  Tom Spiliotis recommends the program to all vendors and will assist Lilian Pemberton on checking on the status of her account. 

Tom advised the group that Pepsi is putting together a healthy vending program and wants to work with the Division.  They would provide glass fronts without the Pepsi logo.

Kathy Warth inquired about how OJT trainers are assigned as she has received calls from trainees asking her to be their trainer.  OJT is assigned by the Division with input from the Training Subcommittee and Committee Chairman.

Adjourned at 11:30am.  

Return to top of page

DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.