Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Friday, December 4, 2020

Chairman James Warth called the meeting to order at 8:30am. Vice Chairman Terri Lindstrom called the role.

The following individuals were present:
James Warth, Chairman
Terri Lindstrom, Vice Chairman

District Representatives: Kurt Ponchak, District 1; Mike Renaud, District 2; Mitzi Bowen, District 3; Randall Crosby, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Phil Hubbard, District 6; Jose Quintanilla, District 7; Sead Bekric, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; Alicia Villeda, District 10, Alternate.

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff: Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Greg Coon, Marketing and Site Development Manager; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Business Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Business Consultant; Jay Payne, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Rafaella Diershaw, Region 5 Business Consultant; Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant; Mary Ellen Harding, Administrative Assistant.

Division of Blind Services: Robert Doyle, Director.

Florida Department of Education: Brent McNeal, Deputy General Counsel; Taylor Wolff, Assistant General Counsel.

Licensed Vendors: Debby Malmberg, District 1 Alternate; Colton Knight, District 2 Alternate, Mark Turner, District 3 Alternate; TJ McCormick, District 7 Alternate; Mary Hayes, District 8 Alternate; David Kaplan, District 9 Alternate; Woody Matthews, Debbie Hietala, Mike McCrea.

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Training staff Steve Moss and Angela Elgaard and trainees William Daniel, Tyler Collins, David Alvarez, Monica Vasquez and Wayne Mercer.

Guests: Terry Smith, National Association of Blind Merchants.

This meeting was held via Microsoft Teams. A number of vendors participated in the meeting as observers, but the minutes only list members of the Committee and Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) staff, guest speakers and vendors who made comments during the meeting.

Jim Warth asked for a motion to approve an addition to the agenda. A revised agenda with the addition of a report by Woody Matthews on behalf of Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Florida (RSVF) had been sent to all vendors the previous day, Thursday, December 3, 2020. Jose Quintanilla made a motion to approve the addition to the agenda. Seconded by Mike Renaud. Approved without objection by all members. Janet Chernoff read a synopsis of the minutes from the August meeting. The full minutes had been emailed to all members prior to the meeting. Joel Rose made a motion to accept the minutes as written. Seconded by Phil Hubbard. Approved without objection by all members.

BBE updates – Bill Findley

Covid-19 has negatively impacted the program like it has for many businesses. For the period of March through September 2020 sales are down forty-five percent and profits are down forty-eight percent as compared to the same period in 2019. The prison vending facilities have been the hardest hit as the vendors were not allowed to access the machines. Access is opening up at these facilities but visitors are not allowed to use the vending so sales are minimal. Bill Findley has reached out to Nicky Gacos and National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) as well as Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to see if they had any updates on the prisons. They had nothing to report. Over the counter food service is the next most impacted with facilities that are either closed or are serving reduced populations. Post office locations are doing well with the increase of on-line shopping and rest areas are seeing a gradual increase in business. The two rest areas in Jackson County that closed in 2018 due to Hurricane Michael reopened in November.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) contract expired on November 30, 2020. The terms of the contract were not optimal for the operator or the program. Amendments have been approved over the years, but the program wanted to negotiate a new contract. Rafaella Diershaw, Maureen Fink and Greg Coon have been included in the discussion and a six month amendment is being routed for signatures while we work on a new agreement. The Division has educated BSO on the program and vendor responsibilities. BSO has said that they want to partner with the program and support its mission. Bill Findley indicated that he is interested in continuing a relationship with BSO because he feels they better appreciate the program and because they are planning to add a parking garage and training facility. This should result in increased business and vending for the location. He is also reluctant to lose a facility unnecessarily as the program expects the current health crises to impact facilities and that could result in combining or closing facilities. The program has advised BSO that they are willing to give up the facility if the new agreement is not more favorable for the program.

The program is in its second year of the contract with US Army Special Forces Operations School in Key West. The operator, Antonio Gonzalez also services a post office in Key West and the program is working on adding a location at a state park. A new contract with Naval Support Activity in Panama City has been signed. This was done through direct negotiations and the contract dollar amount has increased as they are serving more meals. Alton Palmore is the operator of this facility. The program is accepting applications for a vendor for a military dining opportunity at Hurlburt Field. This has been a long process and, because of the hard work of Brent McNeal and Taylor Wolff, the program has the opportunity to submit a proposal for this facility. Brent filed for arbitration when the military would not allow the program to participate because it is not considered a small business. As our attorneys worked with theirs it became increasingly apparent that the Randolph-Sheppard priority applied. The Division won the arbitration a couple of years ago but there has been no communication since the victory. Recently there were decisions in Texas and Kansas that were favorable to the Randolph-Sheppard program. The attorneys followed up and the solicitation should include the Randolph-Sheppard priority. The solicitation is expected after the first of the year and if the program is awarded the contract the selected vendor would start in April, 2021. An arbitration hearing decision in the program’s favor also resulted in vending at Tyndall. Machines have been installed and the location has been added to Facility 620, Panama City route operated by Shannon Shelton as a Type II LOFA. The program plans to pursue other opportunities at Tyndall and Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) and Hurlburt Field where appropriate. Kurt Ponchak suggested that the program look at options to maximize the set aside from military dining contracts. Bill Findley explained that Florida’s military dining contracts are relatively small as compared to other states. The program and teaming partner need to be cautious in order to ensure that our proposals are competitive.

Bill Findley briefly touched on the Sunshine Law. The program has been in discussion with the attorneys from the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and their communication to the program is based on rule and direction from the Department of Education (DOE). The subject will be discussed later in the meeting and attorneys Brent McNeal and Taylor Wolff will be available to answer questions.

The General Services Administration (GSA) put out a draft permit a couple of years ago that was not optimal for the Randolph-Sheppard program. This was due in part to poor service and non-responsiveness from the State Licensing Agencies (SLAs) in other states. One problem was that the requirements for food service were also being applied to vending locations. Bill Findley is part of the group discussing the permit and reported that they are working on changes. The permit will detail the process for how GSA will proceed when there are issues with the vendor and/or the SLA, as well as procedures for the SLA in addressing issues with GSA. The next meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2021.

Finance, Audit and Budgeting Subcommittee Report – Kurt Ponchak

Sixty-four thousand dollars in reimbursement payments have been made this fiscal year. This is approximately half of what is usually spent. Set aside payments coming into the program are also at about fifty percent. Set aside is averaging $25,000 per month as opposed to the previous average of $45,000. There is $173,617 in the Bank of America account and $34,855 in the Treasury account. In the first five months of the 2020-21 fiscal year the program has spent $215,000. This includes encumbrances for pest control, hood cleaning and grease trap maintenance as well as money for the vending machine contracts. The program should continue to monitor the budget. The program is spending less due in part to facilities being closed, so overall the program’s financial picture is good. Many of the projects in the works were stopped or delayed and the program is installing equipment that was purchased during the previous fiscal year. Kurt Ponchak advised the group that seventy-five percent of the state trust fund that is used for unemployment has been used. Vendors can expect to see a significant increase in their unemployment tax and that could impact set aside. At the August 2020 meeting the Committee voted to waive the net profit expectation through the end of 2020. Kurt Ponchak made a motion to waive the net profit expectation through March 2021. Jose Quintanilla seconded the motion.  Bill Findley confirmed that the program has no problem with this action. Passed without objection by all members.

Bill Findley advised the Committee that the program has sufficient budget authority to cover the Hurlburt Field contract if it is awarded to the program. The program retained the budget authority that it had for the Camp Blanding and Pensacola Hospital contracts. Kurt advised the group that the program is on the right track and he plans to schedule a meeting with the Budget subcommittee and BBE staff after the holidays to look at opportunities to save money. Maureen Fink advised the group that the program spent forty-eight percent less than the previous year from the 1.5 million account and fifty-seven percent less than the previous year from the set aside account.

RSVF Update – Woody Matthews

Woody Matthews is president of RSVF and serves on the board of the Randolph Sheppard Vendors of America (RSVA). RSVF is focusing on how to help the program and find solutions to any issues. To achieve this RSVF is focusing on training, communication and representation. Randall Crosby is their Training and Mentorship Director. He has been in contact with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) to create awareness of the program. RSVF is also planning to offer a scholarship to FSDB students. First Vice President Colton Knight is focusing on communication with a podcast that provides coverage of the Committee meetings as well as interviews and round table discussions. RSVF also has a website, Facebook page and email group. Second Vice President Alton Palmore along with Woody and Colton travelled to the Sagebrush Conference in February to make sure that Florida vendors are represented on the national front. The focus of RSVF is enhancing the overall prosperity of vendors. To this end the RSVF is creating a catastrophic relief fund and a survivor fund for family of vendors who pass away unexpectedly. RSVP is planning fundraising events involving operators and the general public. Vendor Jim Perry is their Fundraising Director. RSVF raised funds that allow them to send $100 gift cards to vendors impacted by the pandemic. Randall Crosby orchestrated a 10k run, Run with a Vision that raised $2000. Vendor Phil Hubbard is planning a golf fundraiser. RSVF is rewriting their by-laws and planning to set up as a 501c so that they will be more effective and can do more fundraising. Woody plans to set up a statewide meeting with vendors and will contact them next week.

Statewide Update – Robert Doyle

The Division of Blind Services (DBS) is staying within its current budget. Expenditures have been cut back and only essential travel is being approved. The Division is also using a staggered approach to hiring. Budget cuts are expected and the Division has been directed to hold back six percent of its current budget. The Division is waiting for additional instructions but the expectation is that state agencies will be asked to cut between eight to ten percent of their budget for the next fiscal year. The current unemployment rate in Florida is at six and half percent which is about half of what is was in May as people return to work. The Division will use discretion in expenditures and hiring and keep a good fiscal position. DBS programs that are funded with federal dollars are in a better position financially. State funded programs are more challenging. Programs that are funded with state monies include the blind babies program and the program for adults from ages 18-54 who are not looking to enter the workforce. These programs would be most likely to lose funding if budgets were reduced. Overall DBS has seen a seventeen percent reduction in applicants as compared to the previous fiscal year. The employment program was the least impacted with only an eight percent reduction in persons receiving services. The older blind programs have seen the largest decrease at twenty-eight percent. DBS has been doing more remote learning and engagement and finds it challenging as consumers are becoming fatigued with video conferencing or do not have access to the technology or the training to use it. The Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) are serving consumers as best as they can. Some are providing services remotely and others are bringing people back into the offices. The CRPs must provide services to get paid. Workforce programs are being evaluated and may result in a realignment. A report is expected in early 2021.

The contract for the Conklin Center was terminated earlier this year and the Center is merging with the Center for the Visually Impaired. The organization will be called the Conklin Davis Center. DBS is in discussion about a future relationship with the new Center. DBS is also in talks with the DOE about the status of the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Daytona Beach. DBS does not want to delay services to consumers but needs to address health and safety concerns before reopening the center to students.

The Director briefly addressed concerns about the impact of the Sunshine Law. Management and staff of DBS, BBE and the OGC have discussed the matter and the OGC provided a written opinion that none of the arguments have any standing and have concluded that there are no exceptions. Training is planned for all Committee members and BBE staff so that they know the procedures and their responsibilities. Sead Bekric asked about an exemption based on procedures for competitive solicitations because the vendors are independent contractors. He was told that this was addressed in the written opinion and was not a valid argument for an exemption. Debbie Hietala asked whether a meeting had to be open to the public or if a transcript would suffice. Meetings need to be open to the public so that people have an opportunity to attend and ask questions. Mike Renaud expressed concern about the selection process, as it is a competitive process and applicants that interview last have an unfair advantage since they will have advance knowledge of the questions being asked by the panel. The Division will work on procedures to make sure that the process is fair to all while adhering to the Sunshine Law.

National Update – Terry Smith

The NABM continues efforts for financial relief for vendors and a waiver to allow programs to use federal dollars for working capital. NABM had requested thirty-five million dollars for vendors and programs and hoped that it would be included in the first or second relief package. That has not happened. To date there is twenty million in the House appropriations bill but nothing in the Senate bill. Congress is working out the differences in Committee. The NABM is also working on a waiver that would allow programs to use federal monies to replace working capital. The waiver is in the House version and the Senate is still talking. The appropriations and relief bill is expected to be out by December 16, 2020.

The GSA work group to discuss the federal permit was created because of ongoing issues in one state. Bill Findley is part of that work group and progress has been made on amending the permit. The main issue is conflict resolution between the GSA and the SLA. Both parties need to be responsive when there are problems. The next conversation with the GSA will be about the status of cafeterias. Many large scale cafeterias may no longer be viable as staff continues to telework. If a location changes facility type to a snack bar or micro market then the Randolph-Sheppard priority applies. The impact of the pandemic is still uncertain. One state went from sixteen to seven vendors. The future holds many challenges and it is expected that more facilities will be combined. Recent wins in Texas and Kansas show that the military is acknowledging the program and putting Randolph-Sheppard priority in their bids. The military is also using direct negotiations which it was not using previously.

NABM is planning a number of networking and training events over the next few months via Zoom. A presentation originally planned for BLAST from Second City is scheduled for January and leadership training based on lessons from the Godfather movies is also planned. NABM has been conducting monthly meetings with State Committee Chairmen and is planning a training session on the practical application of the Robert’s Rules of Order and how to run an effective meeting. A series of webinars on the Randolph-Sheppard Act is also planned. No BLAST is planned for 2021 but one may be held in 2022. Mike Renaud thanked Terry Smith and the NABM for all their efforts and wanted to acknowledge the help of Michael Dalto with Social Security questions.

NFBEI Subscription Service 2021

Kurt Ponchak made the motion that the program renew the NFBEI subscription for 2021. Seconded by Mike Renaud. Passed by all members without objection.

Kurt Ponchak made a motion to recess the meeting until 1pm. Seconded by Mike Renaud.

Daytona Training Report – Training Staff

Steve Moss told the group that snack bar trainer Angela Elgaard has perfected the contactless payment system using the micro market system and the Koin app. They are continuing with virtual training and currently have two students Monica Vasquez and Wayne Mercer. Steve Moss told the group that DOE has still not approved opening the Rehab Center for trainees and that the program is looking at other options. One idea is if they will allow day students, then trainees could stay at a hotel. Another idea is to do the hands-on training with vendors if available. Trainee William Daniels has moved to on-the-job training and the program may start on-the-job training with David Alvarez after the first of the year. Both William and David have completed all the training that can be done virtually.

Wayne asked about military dining opportunities at MacDill AFB and was told that the program has never seen a solicitation from them. It is believed that the location using military personnel for their dining services. Monica asked the group for any advice as a new vendor. Mike Renaud encouraged her to research any facility that she is interested in and to talk to fellow vendors for advice.

New Vendor Q & A – Jose Quintanilla and Janet Chernoff

Jose and Janet would like to take advantage of the technology offered by TEAMs to set up Q & A sessions with trainees, newly licensed vendors and vendors in their first facility. They plan to schedule their first session after the first of year. They will focus on topics that concern new vendors and will include experienced vendors in the discussion.

Sunshine Law – Alan Risk/All

On November 19, 2020 Alan Risk emailed a memo from Brent McNeal, Deputy General Counsel to the members of the Policy and Procedures Subcommittee regarding to the applicability of the Sunshine Law to boards and panels created in Chapter 6A-18 Florida Administrative Code. Brent McNeal and Taylor Wolff of the OGC are here to answer any questions from the members.

Alan Risk advised the group that both the Selection and Grievance process fall under the Sunshine Law. Grievances will be posted on the BBE website and interviews and deliberations will be open to the public. For the Selection process the exam results and performance points are public record but will not be discussed in an open meeting. The interview phase and scoring for the Selection process would be open to the public. Sunshine Law requires that meetings be open to the public, that reasonable notice be provided prior to a meeting and that minutes of the meeting be taken. The program will implement the Sunshine Law immediately and will put together a training for Committee members, vendors and staff. Kurt Ponchak is planning a meeting of the Selection and Grievance panel members to discuss the process and will rely on attorneys from the OGC for input. Brent McNeal told the group that implementing the Sunshine Law is an opportunity to create a better historical record on how decisions are made by the Committee and its panels. Joel Rose asked if CEU events were subject to the Sunshine Law and Brent told the group that training is separate from Committee business. Kurt Ponchak asked about the elections held biennially and was told by Alan Risk that there are no secret ballots under the Sunshine Law. Sead Bekric asked if District meetings were covered by Sunshine Law and were told that more research is needed but that the law may apply. The group was advised that Committee members can not engage in private discussions about anything that is going to come in front of the group. You cannot use BBE staff as an intermediary or ask them to poll the group. The law is all about transparency. 

Rest Area Locks – Sead Bekric

Rest area operators have been concerned for some time about the security of their product at rest areas. The Department of Transportation (DOT) will not allow cameras so vendors have been looking into smart electronic locks for storerooms. The smart lock will use an internet connection and can be monitored remotely by the operator. By assigning individual codes the operator can know when staff, repairmen, delivery men or DOT representatives enter the storeroom. This allows DOT to access the space in an emergency while allowing the vendor to be sure that their storage is secure. At the August meeting the Committee voted to put together a group to work with vendors and BBE staff to put together a proposal for DOT. A meeting was held with DOT on November 18, 2020 and they were receptive. Mike McCrea has tested a sample lock at his home and reported a favorable test. There was a discussion about cost to the program. DOT has agreed to a pilot program and the plan is to install locks over a period of time to reduce the financial impact. Concerns were expressed about the internet connection. This is in the initial stages and a task force will need to be put together to identify the specifications of the system and review options. Terri Lindstrom told the group that it will take time to work out the details but appreciated that DOT is receptive to the idea. In previous interactions DOT has tended not to be responsive to program suggestions regarding security.

Type II Report – Maureen Fink

Currently there are twenty-three facilities under Type II LOFAs. Three are on the current selection cycle and one has a changeover scheduled for February 1, 2021. Six facilities may be on the January 2021 selection cycle. With the recent health crises it has been hard to get accurate numbers on the facilities and determine viability. The program will continue to monitor facilities and will put them on the selection cycle when appropriate.

Marketing and Site Development – Greg Coon

In the Federal fiscal year 2019-20 ending on September 30, 2020 seventy-one surveys were done. Of the seventy-one locations surveyed, thirty-seven were accepted and fifteen are pending. In 2018-19 eighty-six locations were surveyed, forty were accepted and twenty-four were pending. Since July 1, 2020 twelve locations have been surveyed, twenty-two new locations have been added and sixty-eight machines have been installed. No new stand-alone facilities or micro markets were established between July – September of this year. New locations include Tyndall AFB, Palm Beach County Utilities, Florida National Guard in St. Augustine and post offices in Naples. A proposal has been submitted for Sarasota County snack and drink vending. The deadline for the current submittal has been extended to December 11, 2020. The program currently has a contract to do vending for snacks only. Upcoming installations include Leon County School District, three State Parks, Department of Children and Family (DCF) at the Centre of Tallahassee, Eglin AFB vending and the Florida National Guard in Miramar. The Centre of Tallahassee installation for DCF includes eight machines and a micro market. The program will wait until population returns at this location before installing a micro market. Twelve GSA locations with 1100 employees have been delayed until the last quarter of 2021. Greg is also working on renewal options on agreements. He is updating those agreements so they have one five year renewal rather than five one year renewals. The program has a signed permit with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) but the building has made it very difficult to install machines. The company that owns the building is requiring that the vendor have a large insurance policy that would eliminate the ability to make a profit on the location. The program had spoken with an attorney at GSA several months ago and they agreed with the program but there was been no resolution. A letter has been sent to the attorney and if the program does not receive a response by the December 18 it will turn it over to legal. This an example of a problem that could be resolved by the new GSA permit.

Business Analyst Report – John Ahler

John has completed seventeen monitoring reviews since July 1, 2020 and is planning to complete eight to ten more before the end of the state fiscal year. Twelve of the monitorings have been virtual and five were in person. Virtual monitorings have their own challenges as there is no opportunity to view locations or equipment. Most operators are able to send documentation via email and at least one operator sent their receipts by mail. John has been reviewing receipts and is advising vendors to make sure that any personal items are not included in business receipts. John conducted two coaching visits with vendors Natasha Ginarte and Stefan Mitchell. He reported that both are good vendors, are hardworking and are responsive. Vendors like these two are the future of the program.

John Ahler has just submitted the RSA-15 for the Federal Fiscal year of 2019-2020 that ended on September 30, 2020. Revenues are down 25.6%, purchases are down 25%, profit is down 26% and payroll is down 21%. Average vendor earnings in 2018-19 were $73,000. Average earnings for 2019-20 were $54,000. The median vendor earning in 2018-19 was $64,000 and is $47,800 for 2019-20. Food service and prison vending were the most affected. Overall the numbers are slowly trending up.

An email is being sent to all vendors advising them of a credit to their USA Tech accounts. This is due to problems with card readers in September. USA Tech calculated a credit on service fees and also gave credits on possible free vends during the service interruption. The credit will be applied to the device fee on one reader. USA Tech also sent the program fifty-seven replacement telemeters at no charge. Joel Rose advised the group that Brady Foore had done two CEU trainings in Region 5 and 6 and planned to do more in other regions. John reported that he is getting fewer calls about card reader issues and for the most part things are going well.

Compliance Officer Report – Alan Risk

At the last meeting Alan reported that the program planned to make a change in the Monthly Business Report (MBR) so that operators could itemize their approved business expenses. This would allow the program to track commission and rent payments as well as audit reports to make sure that expenses are approved as per program policies. To date the change has not been made and Alan has reached out to SYLNX to get an update.

Seventy-three of the one hundred and thirteen vendors required to achieve CEU credits in the current two-year reporting period have already completed the requirement. Twenty-four vendors have at least two CEUs, thirteen vendors have at least one CEU and only three operators have less than one CEU credit. Alan advised vendors to email him if they participate in any of the upcoming NABM training sessions so that they receive credit.

One vendor, Ryan Akeley has been licensed since the last meeting for a total of four new licensees in 2020. Of the four, one new licensee has been awarded a facility and two others are participating in the current selection cycle. Three of the eight vendors licensed in 2019 have not been awarded a facility.

There has been one request for grievance hearing filed since the August 2020 Committee meeting. On October 12, 2020, a BBE vendor requested a grievance hearing regarding a letter of warning they received for operational deficiencies. The vendor felt that the letter amounted to excessive administrative punishment without proper notice and without due process. A grievance hearing was held on October 28, 2020. The Board considered the issues and recommended rescinding the letter of warning and issuing a letter of non-compliance. The Director concurred with the Board’s recommendation. A total of three grievance hearings have been held during the 2020 calendar year, one in favor of the Division and two in favor of the claimant.

Four facilities were posted on the September 2020 Selection Cycle including one cafeteria, one snack bar and two non-highway vending facilities. Seven applications were received and two of the vendors withdrew prior to the exam. Five applicants were scheduled to interview via video conference on November 9, 2020 but the interviews were postponed until December 14, 2020 at the request of the State Committee in order to address concerns about implementing the Sunshine Law. The program was recently made aware of a military dining opportunity at Hurlburt Field and posted it on November 20, 2020 with a deadline of December 4, 2020 to apply. To date seven applications have been received and the test will be administered on December 7, 2020 and interviews held on December 14, 2020.

Selection Panel Election – Alan Risk

Darryl Brinton was elected to the Selection Panel to fill Jim Lover’s term. That term expires the end of this year. Kurt Ponchak advised the group that the Sunshine Law does not allow any of the Committee members to abstain during a vote. Sead Bekric nominated Darryl Brinton. Mitzi Bowen nominated Debbie Hietala and Kurt Ponchak nominated David Stevens. Darryl, Debbie and David all accepted the nomination.

In the first vote the members voted accordingly:

Kurt Ponchak – David Stevens; Mike Renaud – Darryl Brinton; Mitzi Bowen – Debbie Hietala; Randall Crosby – Darryl Brinton; David Stevens – David Stevens; Phil Hubbard – Darryl Brinton; Jose Quintanilla – Darryl Brinton; Sead Bekric – Darryl Stevens; Joel Rose – Darryl Brinton; Alicia Villeda – Debbie Hietala; Jim Warth – Debbie Hietala and Terri Lindstrom voted for Debbie Hietala.  Because no candidate had required two thirds vote there was a run off between Darryl Brinton and Debbie Hietala.  Kurt, Mitzi, David, Alicia, Jim and Terri voted for Debbie Hietala. The other six members voted for Darryl Brinton making the vote a tie. Both David Stevens and Debbie Hietala withdrew their names from consideration. Mike Renaud made a motion to elect Darryl Brinton by acclamation. Seconded by Sead Bekric. Passed without objection.

Kurt Ponchak nominated Debbie Hietala as alternate for the Selection Panel. As a result of no other nominations, Debbie was voted as an alternate by acclamation. Kurt Ponchak nominated Joey Garcia as an alternate. As a result of no other nominations, Kurt made a motion to vote him in by acclamation. Seconded by Sead Bekric. Both candidates were approved without objection by all present.

Regional/District Updates – All

Region 1 – Brian Ashworth/Janet Chernoff

Machines have been installed at Tyndall AFB. This location is part of Facility 620, Panama City vending route operated on a Type II by vendor Shannon Shelton. This addition will help the facility become more viable as a stand-alone facility. Vendor Barbara Hale has expanded the hours at Facility 371, cafeteria at FDLE but is still averaging sales of only $200 per day. Facility 579 and 580, Jackson County Rest Areas operated by Joe Bragg reopened in November. These rest areas have been closed since they were damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018. Four machines at the Leon County School District offices have been added to Facility 502, Tallahassee vending route operated by Colton Knight. The first machines have been installed in Facility 629, DCF at Centre of Tallahassee operated as a Type II by Shannon Shelton. A micro market is planned for this facility.

Vendor Tammy Spain is managing Facility 273, Collins cafeteria on a Type II. She is open four days a week and supplements the income with catering. Facility 441, Larson cafeteria is closed. The vendor, Steve Docie opens one day a week to prepare food for two local micro markets. Facility 320, Claude Pepper cafeteria is open and the Type II vendor, Crystal Hughes is operating the location by herself with no staff.

District 1 – Kurt Ponchak

Kurt held a district meeting last week. Vendors are having trouble getting product. Vistar has changed their delivery dates and the vendors are working with Coca-Cola United to see which products are available as it has been changing daily. The Business Consultant attends district meetings which is a help to the vendors.

District 2 – Mike Renaud

Food service vendors in his district are either closed or have limited sales. Mike confirmed that vendors are having issues with product availability from Vistar, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Mike recently experienced trouble with people putting tissue in the coin return of his machines.

Region 2 – Bernie Kaiserian

Facility 145, snack bar at the Federal Building and Facility 401, snack bar at the State Regional Service Center are still closed. The vendor at Facility 145, Josh Kimrey was awarded Facility 513, Jacksonville Downtown vending route as a Type II. A number of locations on the routes are still closed or have limited sales. Facility 33, Duval County Courthouse opened for breakfast in October and the hours have now been expanded. Sales are $500 per day. New vendor Justin Davis will start an extended on the job training in January and is expected to take over the facility from the Type II operator Randy Shuster in February. Facility 616 was awarded on a Type II to Natasha Ginarte and she took over in November. National Guard locations have been added to this route.

District 3 – Mitzi Bowen

No news to report.

District 4 – Randall Crosby

No news to report.

Region 3 – Jay Payne

Facility 466, snack bar at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) operated by Kash Ahmed reopened November 3. Kash took over Facility 586, Orlando Vending in September on a Type II. Facility 403, KSC snack bar operated by Sandra Marecki is still not open because of construction in the building. Brenda Nicely-Meade has been operating Facility 624, East Orlando vending route since August. She has seen a ten percent increase in sales over the previous operator. The installation of a coffee machine intended for the Bronson Laboratory location has been delayed because the installer tested positive for Covid-19. The courthouses in Ocala and Orlando are hearing cases and jurors have been coming into the Orlando courthouse for about three weeks. Blue Springs State Park has been slow to respond to inquiries regarding the installation of machines. Coleman Prison is still not allowing visitors resulting in minimal sales for Facilities 495 and 509, prison vending. A FBI location in Maitland was surveyed and machines will be installed after Christmas. This location will be on Facility 586, Orlando vending route. Jay will be doing property inventory for the next two weeks.

District 5 – David Stevens

Nothing to report.

District 6 – Phil Hubbard

Phil had nothing further to report on KSC. They are having similar issues to other districts with getting product.

Region 4 – Tony Arduengo

Facility 31, Hillsborough County Courthouse was reopened for a couple weeks and then closed due to insufficient sales. They plan to try again in January. A square system and on-line ordering is in place for the facility. Four post offices have been added to Facility 112, Collier County vending operated on a Type II by Ray Richards. Facility 627, Lee County vending will be added to this facility in the near future. Facility 380, I-75 rest area Hillsborough County north operated by Mary Hayes is scheduled to reopen in February 2021. Kevin Wheeler signed into Facility 432, Skyway Bridge rest area and is doing well. Construction on the bed tower at James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021 and occupied by February 2022. An outpatient clinic in Pasco County is scheduled to open in the summer of 2021. Vending at Lover’s Key State Park has been added to Facility 180, Ft. Myers vending route.

District 7 – Jose Quintanilla

Jose reported that new vendors to his district, Darryl Brinton and Jeff Estebo are doing well. He is seeing increased traffic on I-4. The Toronto Raptors have relocated to Tampa and that may impact traffic on I-75.

District 8 – Sead Bekric

Kevin Wheeler made some changes to the vending at the Skyway Bridge to increase traffic and Sead hopes that the post offices will increase the business for Facility 112. Sead reported that vendors in his area asked that the Division get more input from vendors and District Reps before adding locations.

Region 5 – Rafaella Diershaw

Ed Spence was awarded and signed into Facility 257, Palm Beach County vending as a Type II. Post office and park locations in Region 5 are doing well but government buildings still have limited sales. Highway vending sales are improving. All the food service locations are closed except Facility 612, BSO cafeteria. Facility 377, Martin County snack bar has been permanently closed and the operator, Mike Lauderdale has retired.

District 9 – Joel Rose

Joel thanked Rafaella and Maureen Fink for their helping transitioning Ed Spence into his new facility. Joel reported that a number of buildings on his route are still closed.

Region 6 – Maureen Fink

Two of the four food service locations in Region 6 are closed. Only the first floor snack at Facility 15, Dade County Courthouse operated by Barbara Coleman is open. Sales at Facility 156, Dade County Justice Building snack bar operated by Justino Colon are down forty-six percent. Facility 512, Miami FCI vending operated by Jennifer Zavala and Facility 530, Federal Detention Center vending operated by Mansour Nazari are both closed. Facility 455, Federal Justice Law Enforcement will be temporarily converted to full vending until a determination can be made about the viability of the facility. Region 6 is down forty-one percent in sales and thirty-six percent in net profit. Non-highway vending is down ten percent.

District 10 – Alicia Villeda

Everything is quiet. Vendors are concerned about help to cover the cost of lost inventory. Vendor Jean Auguste is losing product in his machines due to low sales.

Round Table – All

Randall Crosby thanked everyone who contributed to his fundraiser. Joel Rose advised everyone that Alberto Velez is no longer working for Crane Merchandising and suggested that he would be a good candidate for the Region 6 Business Consultant. Bill Findley has spoken to Alberto and confirmed he is no longer with Crane.

Kurt made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Joel Rose. Adjourned 4:45pm.


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