Quarterly Meeting Minutes (Thursday, July 26, 2012)

Crowne Plaza
1201 Riverplace Boulevard
Jacksonville, Fl  32207

Paul Edwards, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:40 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:   Paul Edwards, Jesus Garcia, Henry Alexander, Andrew Raines, Bruce Miles, Donté Mickens, Sheryl Brown, Dan O’Connor,  Paul Kaminsky, Joe Minichiello, Gloria Mills, Sheryl Brown, Michele Polland, Sandra Martin, Ben Grzesik and Joyce Hildreth.   

Council Members Absent:  Christopher White, Vicky Maglicchino, Sylvia Stinson-Perez and Ted Hull

Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff:  Wayne Jennings, Madeline Davidson and via teleconference, Antionette Williams, Lynn Ritter

Attendees:  Becky Simpson, ILAB;

A motion to adopt the Agenda passed. 

VR Goals Update

Wayne Jennings went over the fourth quarter goals.  He informed the Council that the goal is 750 every year and this year successful closures were 748.  He also went over the secondary disabilities and unsuccessful closures. 

Ms. Brown suggested checking into adding criminal background info in the AWARE system.

Ms. Williams gave the Council her thoughts on the data and progress the division is making concerning employment.

A motion to accept the report received a second and passed.

Policy Reviews

Policy 2.9 Post-Secondary Education

Lynn Ritter explained the reason Policy 2.9 had a change.  She went over the changes Christopher White had recommended. 

#1.CAP doesn’t want this policy to negatively impact potential clients by delaying their      attendance at a state school while residency is being established.

Council recommended deferring #1 until the October meeting and that Lynn would check with DVR on their policy plus poll other state agencies. 

#2. Council did not agree with Christopher’s recommendation and to leave as written.

#3. Council agreed to removing “choosing to” and adding “attending in state or” in the first sentence.

# 4. Council agreed with the following addition.  “According to the list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies provide by the Secretary of Education.  The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by instructions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.  Accrediting agencies, which are private educational associations of regional or national scope, develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met.” 

#5. Council agreed with the language.

#6. Council agreed with Mr. White’s addition. “Exceptions may be made for medical reasons of student and/or family and bereavement.”  Council recommended changing the word “consumer” to “student”.

#7. Council agreed with changing the word “classes” to “courses” and using the language   “semester/term”.   Ms. Hildreth requested these changes be made throughout the policy.

Mr. Raines informed the group of the Academic Common Market (ACM), which allows students to be charged in-state tuition for a number of universities throughout the Southeast for courses not offered in Florida.  Mr. Grzesik stated the ACM was for graduate students and had no boundaries.

Ms. Martin emphasized the need for more instructors for training students on how to access on-line courses.

Council recommended deferring #7 until the October meeting and for members to send Lynn any comments on #7.

Policy 6.07 Purchase of Access and Rehabilitation Technology

Ms. Ritter explained to the Council about condensing 3 or 4 policies into #6.07.  She went over the changes Christopher White submitted.

Mr. White’s addition to the end of the second sentence of the first paragraph is: “when the school is unable to do so and documentation to AWARE supports the need.”

#1.  The Council recommended deleting reference to “Dell” and replace with “through a vendor holding a state contract”.  Also incorporate Rehab Engineer.

#2. The Council recommends that #1 covers all computers and Apple computers should not be separated.

#3.  Council agreed with the language.

#4. Council agreed with the language.

#5. Council agreed with the language.

#6 & #7 Mr. Edwards asked if some standard programs could be incorporated as part of the purchase made.  Mr. Mickens asked if the three year repair remained in force if case was closed or was equipment returned to DBS.

Mr. Edwards informed the Council that due to being behind schedule, discussion of policy #6.07 would be continued later.

Employer Award

Madeline Davidson, Supervisor from Gainesville, introduced Gene Hartley, Customer Service Specialist in the Jacksonville office to present the employer award to Convergys.

Chris Stampfli, HR Manager and Sue Malletti, Project Manager accepted a plaque of appreciation for employing individuals with visual disabilities.  They also gave the Council a brief overview of Convergys.

A group photo included:  Mr. Edwards, Ms. Hildreth, Mr. Hartley, Mr. O’Connor, Mr. Stampfli and Ms. Malletti.

Morning Break

Local CRP – Independent Living for Adult Blind (ILAB)

Becky Simpson, Executive Director of ILAB gave the following update:

District Three Administrator’s Report

Tracy Kurek, District Three DA asked Madeline Davidson, Supervisor in the Gainesville office to give the administrator’s report.

Ms. Hildreth asked Ms. Davidson to speak about the hands-on training program at the Hyatt.

Ms. Davidson informed the Council that Parent Advisors are trained with working with the families of blind babies (age 0 to 3) and they go to the homes.
Mr. O’Connor gave accolades to Tony Pileggi, DA in Pensacola for his tenure as the interim DA in Jacksonville.  He also praised the working relationship between the Jacksonville office staff and Gainesville office staff.

Lunch Break

Meeting resumed at 1:10 PM

Client Satisfaction Survey Report

Mary Stutzman, PhD provided a summary of this year’s Client Satisfaction Survey that was provided to the Council last month.  She brought copies of the survey on CD and print; and included the open ended comments.

Ms. Hildreth informed the Council that the CRPs are working collaboratively with DBS for job placement but are not taking over the function of job placement.  As of the end of June, the CRPs placed 12 clients out of 728.  There are a little over 20 in the day one to 90 day period going into next year.  CRPs are playing a role in job placement with the districts and referrals.

Strategic Plan Projects Update

Robin Frydenborg, Senior Management Analyst went over the material sent to the Council earlier in addition to some of the objectives and accomplishments and new projects that have been added.

Ms. Frydenborg went over the Expanded Leadership Meetings held throughout the state.

The strategic plan goals have been refined and streamlined to now being 4 Goals with objectives. 

Goal 1:  Create an environment that provides job opportunities for visually impaired and blind Floridians.

Objective 1.1:  Increase successful job outcomes in the Bureau of Business Enterprise Program.
Objective 1.2:  Increase successful job outcomes in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Goal 2:  Create a service delivery system that provides comprehensive services to visually impaired and blind Floridians.

Objective 2.1:  Increase the number of individuals receiving services.
Objective 2.2:  Increase services in un-served and underserved populations.
Objective 2.3:  Increase accessibility for students, to ensure equality in educational opportunities and experiences.

Goal 3:  Create an environment that fosters an exemplary division workforce.

Objective 3.1:  Increase staff development and continuing education.
Objective 3.2:  Improve employee satisfaction.

Goal 4:  Create a well-managed and accountable organization that ensures high quality.

Objective 4.1:  Simplify Division of Blind Services processes, increase data availability, and improve data validity.
Objective 4.2:  Expand the comprehensive quality assurance program in order to obtain zero audit findings from the Offices of the Inspector General, Auditor General, and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.
Objective 4.3:  Strengthen fiscal policy and procedures to promote responsible stewardship of available resources.


Expanded Leadership Team workgroups are developing initial work plans for the following initiatives that were identified during the July 12-13, 2012 Expanded Leadership Team Meeting.  The Team will meet in September to rank these projects for feasibility.

Goal 1:  Create an environment that provides job opportunities for visually impaired and blind Floridians.

Goal 2:  Create a service delivery system that provides comprehensive services                 to visually impaired and blind Floridians.

Goal 3:  Create an environment that fosters an exemplary division workforce.

Goal 4: Create a well-managed and accountable organization that ensures high                          quality.

Director’s Report

Joyce Hildreth presented the Council with the following:

Information gleaned from the Management and Regional reviews were:

The extended leadership discussed in detail the survey’s data.  In discussing other vendors for Job Coaching, Ms. Hildreth charged the Leadership team with developing a vendor certification program where the vendor demonstrates they are qualified to provide services to blind and visually impaired individuals. 

Ms. Hildreth informed the Council that anyone wanting the full Management Review should call the IG’s office. 
Ms. Hildreth stated that Antionette Williams, Bureau Chief of Client Services, instituted a goal for the next year to encourage staff to understand that exceptions can be made to policy to meet the individual needs of the client. 

Ms. Hildreth informed the Council that Tippy Amick, PhD, a specialist in creating positive work environments will provide one-day trainings in Tallahassee and at the Rehab Center and Braille and Talking Books Library in September.  The training will also be conducted at regional meetings throughout the state.

Mr. Edwards disclosed the following to the Council:
At the request of the Board of Directors of the Florida Council of the Blind he sent a letter to the Commissioner of Education.  He also sent a letter to Ms. Hildreth requesting a meeting and included a copy of the letter to the Commissioner,

Ms. Polland moved that a letter of support for Ms. Hildreth and the Division be sent to the Commissioner of Education on the Council’s behalf.
Motion received a second.

During discussion it was suggested that a copy of the letter be sent to John Newman, Interim Chief of Staff.

After discussion motion passed.

Mr. Edwards stated that he would compose the letter and bring it back to the Council Friday.

Ms. Hildreth announced to the Council that DBS has requested an increase in funding for Older Blind.

Meeting adjourned at 3:35 PM

Quarterly Meeting (Friday, July 27, 2012)


Paul Edwards, Chair called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.

Council Members Present:   Paul Edwards, Jesus Garcia, Henry Alexander, Andrew Raines, Bruce Miles, Donté Mickens, Sheryl Brown, Dan O’Connor,  Paul Kaminsky, Joe Minichiello, Gloria Mills, Sheryl Brown, Michele Polland, Sandra Martin and Joyce Hildreth.   

Council Members Absent:  Ben Grzesik, Christopher White, Vicky Maglicchino, Sylvia Stinson-Perez and Ted Hull
Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff:  Wayne Jennings, Madeline Davidson and via teleconference:  Antionette Williams, JoAnn Carrin
Before addressing Agenda items Mr. Edwards read the letter FCB sent to the Commissioner and the letter he sent to Ms. Hildreth.   He then read the letter he composed as directed by the Council during the July 26th meeting. 

Several suggestions were made to the letter and Mr. Edwards stated he would make amendments giving more description of the Council before sending the letter to Ms. Dill to put on letterhead.

Mr. Kaminsky moved to accept the letter to the Commissioner.
Motion received a second and passed.

Council requested for the letters from FAASB and NFB be sent to Ms. Dill for distribution to the Council.

Digital Learning

JoAnn Carrin brought the Council up-to-date on the Digital Learning Accessibility project.  She provided her presentation material earlier via e-mail.

Mr. Edwards stated there has never been and is not yet, a system that enables screen readers to handle the range of mathematical symbols that are at the heart of Math and Science courses.  He believes that eventually someone will have to bite the bullet and put substantial funding in the direction of creating a system that will enable on-line courses in the area of Math and Science to work.  Because it involves the state and obligations by the state, he believes the Digital Learning Project may be the one that will indicate there is a need.

Ms. Brown would like for the Florida Instructional Material Center in Tampa included in the project.

The group developing the State Plan for Education included accessible digital content of on-line courses as a part of the State Plan that was presented to the State Board of Education last week.

This past April, Ms. Carrin and Leann Grillot attended a Task Force meeting that was looking at the requirements for Digital Education and were successful in making sure that accessible content was included as one of the standards.

Ms. Carrin gave credit to the Assistive Technology staff at the Rehab Center for their part in the project.

Continuation of Policy 6.07 Purchase of Access and Rehabilitation Technology

#8.  The Council recommended adding the word “or employer” after the word “client” in the last sentence.

#9.  The Council recommended including “CCTVs” with equipment.  The Council recommended the language after “purchased at the determination of” read, “qualified local personnel and will be channeled through the Rehabilitation Engineer designee.”    Council recommended moving reference to $3,000 or more to the top.  The last sentence should be changed to read …under “state contract”….

#10.  The Council recommended adding “if needed” after Training and assessment in the first sentence.  Council recommended replacing the word “iPad” with “technology equipment” and strike “transition students”. 

#11.  The Council recommended striking #11.

#12 . The Council recommended incorporating #12 as part of #8.

#13.  The Council recommended specifying “after case is closed or placed in employed status 90 days or after”.

#14.  The Council recommended moving #14 to #5.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that Policy 6.07 applied to all equipment across the board.
Mr. Edwards referred back to #6 & #7 and stated that all computers purchased by the division include spyware and anti-spyware.  He stated he would add the word “accessible” to anti-virus and anti-spyware.

Mr. Garcia moved to accept Policy 6.07 with changes.  Motion received a second.

Mr. Hildreth suggested that due to the number of changes to the policy and the fact there will be a lot of rewrite to the policy perhaps a teleconference should be scheduled before the next meeting to go over the policy and the other policies one more time.

Motion was withdrawn.

Approval of April 2012 Minutes

A motion for acceptance of the April 2012 minutes was seconded with no discussion.  Minutes were accepted unanimously.

Location and Date of July 2013 Meeting

Mr. Raines moved to conduct the July 2013 meeting in Pensacola.
Motion received a second and passed unanimously.

Council agreed on July 24, 25 & 26, 2013.

Agenda Items for October 2012 quarterly meeting in Daytona Beach

State Plan 2012 Submission Report
Approval of Annual Report to RSA
What Procedures and Policies are brought to the Council?
Strategic Plan Progress
Tour of new training center
Discovery Model
Gifts and Donations
Needs Assessment

Other on-going items:

Director’s Report
Local CRP Report
Update of VR Goals and review of policies   
Employer Recognition
Approval of July minutes
Agenda items for February meeting

The Council decided to conduct a Public Forum in Daytona at the hotel.

Mr. Garcia gave a report on the Blind Services Foundation.  He informed the Council the $500,000 had been returned to DBS.  The next Board meeting is scheduled for September 27th.

Mr. Miles also added that this past year the following has occurred with the Foundation:

Director’s Report continued from Thursday

Ms. Brown commented that RSA allows 2 year plans to VR and why DBS does one and if it could be looked at because of all the issues.

A motion to accept the Director’s report received a second and passed.

Mr. Edwards recognized Michele Polland and Sue Townsend on their contributions to the Council and on behalf of the Council expressed his deeply appreciation.

After a suggestion from Donte’, Ms. Dill will add a statement on the public forum notices that if consumers have questions after the forum to contact her at her email address.

Meeting adjourned at 11:00 AM.

Respectively submitted, Phyllis Dill, AAII

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