Special Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Chairman James Warth called the meeting to order at 3:00pm and Janet Chernoff called the role.

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

District Representatives: Kurt Ponchak, District 1; Colton Knight, District 2; Mitzi Bowen, District 3; Randall Crosby, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Phil Hubbard, District 6; TJ McCormick, District 7; Sead Bekric, District 8; Orlando Ramirez, District 9; Daniel Ochoa, District 10.

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff: Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Business Consultant; Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant; Mary Ellen Harding, Administrative Assistant; Angela Elgaard, Snack Bar Trainer.

Licensed Vendors: Alton Palmore, District 1 Alternate; Mike Renaud, District 2 Alternate; Kashif Ahmed, District 6 Alternate; Jose Quintanilla, District 7 Alternate; Ed Spence, District 9 Alternate; Antonio Gonzalez, District 10 Alternate; Jim Gaudette.

Division of Blind Services: Robert Doyle, Director.

Kurt Ponchak made a motion to accept the agenda as written. Seconded by Mitzi Bowen. Passed without objection.

The first subject up for discussion was subcommittees. Alan Risk read the listing from the website which included all subcommittees, their purpose and the members of each committee. Phil Hubbard has resigned from the Finance Subcommittee and Alton Palmore has been added to the Public Relations Subcommittee. Jim Warth told the group that the subcommittees had been given some direction. The Promotions and Transfer Subcommittee is looking at the selection process to make sure that it is fair for all vendors. The Policy and Procedures Subcommittee will be reviewing the manual to make sure that it is up to date. Card readers are currently not mentioned in the manual. Jim advised the group that any request for information should be directed to him or Terri Lindstrom. They will then pass the request on to Bill Findley. He does not want subcommittee members contacting Business Enterprise Program (BEP) staff individually with their requests. Bill Findley agreed that this was the best way to handle these requests. Information previously requested by subcommittee members has been provided. Sead Bekric confirmed that Subcommittees can continue to do their jobs and that the only change is to have requests for information submitted in writing to the Committee of Vendors Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Jim Warth expressed some concerns about the behavior of some Committee members at the March meeting. There were some reports of profanity at the bar one evening. Jim advised the group that letters of sanction have been issued to vendors who have exhibited unprofessional behavior in public. Jim told the group that it is important that vendors present a good appearance to the public. Vendors should act and dress appropriately. Phil Hubbard agreed that it is important to discuss the topic and agrees that it is good to remind people to act appropriately inside and outside of a meeting. He feels that what is considered appropriate behavior should be more clearly defined.

There was discussion about clarifying the topic in policy. Both Kurt Ponchak and Terri Lindstrom felt that the issue already is addressed in policy. David Stevens and Jose Quintanilla both asked whether a verbal warning had been issued prior to a vendor receiving the letter of sanction. Alan Risk explained that a letter of sanction was rare and that a verbal warning is an option if the behavior is not that bad. He said that in some cases the action is so serious that the letter is the lesser action as the vendor could have had been removed from their facility and had their license revoked.

Orlando Ramirez asked if someone had spoken to the vendors involved in the March meeting incident. Jim said that he had spoken to three of the vendors involved. He feels that that along with bringing up the subject at this meeting should take care of the problem.

Tammy Spain was unavailable to report on the Public Relations Subcommittee’s progress. She was unable to get connected to the meeting and will be sending a written report to share with Committee members. Robert Doyle told the group that she is working with the Division of Blind Services External Affairs Team to develop a BEP logo that would be in line with current logos used by DBS. Kurt Ponchak confirmed that the logo would be available for vendors to use on their machines to promote the program. Jim Gaudette suggested installing holders on machines so that a card can be inserted when a new vendor takes over. He feels that would be cleaner and more professional than a sticker.

Kurt Ponchak made a motion to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 3:40pm.


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