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Minutes — Executive Committee Meeting, May 5, 2010

(As Approved by the Committee on August 4, 2010)

Attendance

Call to Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on May 5, 2010 in the Limestone 2 Room at the Marriott Austin South, 4414 South IH-35, Austin, TX 78744. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

Introductions

Committee members and staff were introduced.

Public Comments

No public comments were offered.

Approval of Minutes

The Committee reviewed the minutes from the April 8, 2010, Committee meeting. No revisions were offered.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the April 8, 2010, Executive Committee meeting as presented.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Susan Vardell

The motion passed unanimously.

Executive Director Roger Webb noted that minutes from the February 10, 2010, meeting (approved at the April 5, 2010 meeting) were again included with a technical correction regarding the financial report. The minutes originally stated a remaining balance of $372,000 from the FY 09 operating expenses but that correct amount was $102,000.

MOTION: To approve the revised minutes of the February 10, 2010, Executive Committee meeting as presented.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Susan Vardell

The motion passed unanimously.

Chair’s Report

Chair Coleman-Beattie reviewed various items with the Committee including:

  • Absences of members Mary Durheim, Marcia Dwyer, Diana Kern and John Morris.
  • Welcome address by Coleman-Beattie at the Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference (TALAC) which also provided an opportunity to meet a number of self-advocates.
  • Welcome address by Coleman-Beattie at the Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) Housing and Transportation Summit. Coleman-Beattie also talked with ADAPT advocate Bob Kafka and made plans to meet with DPC Chair Regina Blye.
  • Review of the report from the TCDD staff survey of Employee Engagement which focused on strengths and weaknesses as well as the overall climate of the office.
  • Need to complete updates on Conflict of Interest disclosure statements on a quarterly basis. An update form has been included for all Council members.
  • Initial discussions on succession planning for the Executive Director position when the time comes, either on a planned or emergency basis. Staff will begin working with Don Tebbe of TransitionGuides who is contracted though the ADD Technical Assistance grant to assist in developing policies for succession planning and for emergency backup duties for executive staff.
  • The ADD Technical Assistance Institute to be held in Washington DC, June 23-25, 2010.

Executive Director’s Report

Webb further discussed the TALAC event and noted that he participated on a panel to discuss key outcomes of the 81st Texas Legislature and expectations for the 82nd Legislature that begins in January 2011. Webb and Arc-Tx Executive Director Mike Bright reviewed various disability issues and encouraged advocates to communicate with legislators in their local offices. Webb also attended the DPC Housing and Transportation Summit and noted that it was an advantage for participants to be educated on both topics concurrently.

Webb and Grants Management Director Patrice LeBlanc reviewed the Independent Audit Status Report and the Grants Monitoring Exceptions Report noting no concerns.

Stipends grant applications were approved for the following organizations:

  • Texas Parent to Parent for up to $6,000 for the 6th Annual Parent to Parent Conference in San Marcos, TX, June 25-26, 2010.
  • Autism Society of Greater Austin for up to $5,168 for the 41st National Autism Conference in Dallas, July 7-10, 2010.
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities –Texas Chapter (AAIDD-TX) for up to $6,000 for the 2010 AAIDD Convention in Houston, July 7-9, 2010.

Committee members discussed possible audit activities or risk assessments of stipends grants. Members acknowledged that the small amount of money for each award does not warrant broad audit or monitoring activities but agreed that TCDD should continue to monitor names of individuals who receive support to attend events with stipend grant funds.

Webb updated members on various staff matters including the recent birth of Public Policy Director Angela Lello’s baby on April 23, 2010, and the selection of Melissa Rosser as Public Policy Assistant who will begin with TCDD on June 1, 2010.

LeBlanc discussed staff activities in response to a situation involving a former TCDD grantee, Texas Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (TACCRRA). Media reports have indicated that the Executive Director of the Austin-based non-profit agency Family Connections has been charged with embezzling money from that agency. She has also allegedly fled the country and has not been located. The same individual was the treasurer of TACCRRA during the time of the TCDD grant. LeBlanc and Webb have worked with the TACCRRA board chair and have accounted for most of TCDD funds which were primarily used for staff salaries, travel expenses, etc. Staff do not believe there has been any misuse of TCDD funds but are still reviewing the situation. This issue has also presented an opportunity for organizations to look at the situation that allowed the alleged mishandling of funds and learn from those mistakes. LeBlanc has talked with TCDD Internal Auditor Jaye Stepp who advised that TCDD already has numerous procedures in place to prevent this type of situation and suggests we encourage grantee organizations to require the internal auditor directly to report to Board members, and to ensure grantees comply with financial requirement such as forwarding audits and required peer review reports to TCDD. Members also discussed additional actions regarding “high risk” grantees such as validating audits were completed as represented with the grantees’ external auditor.

Don Tebbe, TransitionGuides, joined the meeting by speakerphone to discuss his proposal to assist TCDD to develop backup plans and a succession planning policy. Tebbe indicated that he will provide “hard products” including procedures to implement if there is an unexpected vacancy of the Executive Director position, emergency back-up plans for vacancies in any of the directors’ positions, and succession procedures for a planned departure of the Executive Director. “Soft products” will include a greater understanding of bench-steps in the organization and cross-training for critical duties of executive staff. Tebbe outlined the plan to develop these products including meeting with staff by conference call/webinar and in person. Input from members of the Executive Committee will also be a key part of this process. Members supported moving forward as proposed.

LeBlanc and Webb provided updates on current grantees. Committee members were reminded that the Knowbility, Inc., Accessworks project is continuing to the scheduled end date of August 31, 2010, following the Committee’s consideration in April of additional information from the project. Webb indicated that the Audit Committee provided guidance to staff concerning a request for a “no-cost” extension of the Disability Policy Consortium project to allow use of approximately $25,000 of funds unexpended in the project’s prior budget period. A review of past practices as requested by the Audit Committee indicates that similar requests have been approved on 9 occasions for the 44 projects that have ended TCDD funding over the past 5 years. Given this past practice, grants staff will coordinate with DPC project staff to approve use of those remaining funds and extend some project activities for an additional two months. Staff will also review proposed procedures for such requests with the Audit Committee.

Consideration of Continuation Grant Awards

LeBlanc reviewed Executive Summaries of four projects eligible for an additional year of funding. The SERS –Jobs for Progress Basic Local Advocacy Training project provides training for specific minority communities specializing in Spanish training. Committee members requested further information about the demographics of the individuals who participated and staff agreed to provide this information in the future.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $75,000 to SER-Jobs for progress for the third and final year of their Basic Local Advocacy Training project and request information about demographics of those trained as well as challenges the grantee has faced.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 1)

Syracuse University is developing the Advocacy “U” Resource Center which will be an online network for advocacy training. Committee members discussed the process of building the website as well as obstacles the grantee has faced with opposition from various other training programs. LeBlanc indicated that the website is not yet available to the public due to accessibility issues. Grants Management Specialist Cynthia Ellison has restricted access to the site and indicated she does not have concerns. Staff noted that the grantee will continue to maintain the site for 18 months after the close of the project and expects to transfer ongoing support of the site to another partner at that time. Ellison clarified that the site should be completed by the end of June 2010 but staff are not certain if it will be available to the public at that time.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $93,750 to Syracuse University for the third and final year of the Advocacy “U” Project with a request that the project indicate a date certain for the website to be available for public access.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

The motion passed with Brenda Coleman-Beattie opposed. (Attachment 2)

Texas A&M University manages the Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference (TALAC) project which coordinates advocacy training events. Conferences have been held in March 2009 & 2010 and more than 100 individuals participated in each event.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $150,000 to Texas A&M University for the third of a five year Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference project.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 3)

Imagine Enterprise manages one of the Youth Leadership and Advocacy projects. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) which provides additional funding and referrals to the program.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $50,000 to Imagine Enterprise for the fifth and final year of their Youth Leadership and Advocacy project.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 4)

Procedures for Unsolicited Requests for Extensions

The Committee reviewed a request for an extension of an existing project at a previous meeting and asked staff to draft procedures to clarify a request to extend an existing project from requests for a new activity that is beyond the scope of the Council’s original intent. Staff reviewed proposed revisions to the TCDD Unsolicited Ideas Process that address these situations and outline the procedures to determine if there is enough continuity to consider continuing a project. Committee members reviewed the proposed document and flow-chart that illustrate how requests will be considered and provided feedback to include language regarding the Executive Committee’s ability to approve a shorter extension time. It was also determined that decisions will be contingent on funding priorities as well as available funds. Staff will make additional changes to the draft for review at the August Committee meeting.

Review Panel Members

Committee members discussed the process for selecting reviewers that review applications to TCDD Request for Proposals (RFP). It was suggested that colleagues from outside of Texas may be well qualified to review certain project proposals. Committee members discussed how to recruit individuals who might be experts in a certain field. Specifically related to public policy collaboration activities, it was noted that subject matter experts in collaboration and systems change are needed. It was also suggested that a college level class could review the proposals as a case study. Staff were asked to explore that possibility.

TCDD Quarterly Financial Report

The Executive Committee reviewed the quarterly financial report. Operations Director Martha Cantu noted title changes to two columns in the FY 10 Expense Budget to use terms that are more common to accounting practices. No concerns were noted but staff were asked to include a footnote in future reports clarifying that only budgeted or anticipated amounts for approved projects are included in these estimates for the Summary of Funds document. Any unencumbered funds at the end of the year may be available for other projects under consideration by the Council.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Committee members reviewed Conflict of Interest disclosure statements from members and staff with no noted concerns. Susan Vardell clarified her disclosure statement.

MOTION: To accept the Conflict of Interest disclosures as presented with noted clarifications by Susan Vardell.

MADE BY: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

The motion passed unanimously.

ADJOURN

Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Council meeting at 7:26 PM.

Roger A. Webb
Secretary to the Council
Date

Attachment 1 – Review of Proposed Activities and Budget, SER

Date: 05/05/10 ITEM: B

Grantee: SER – Jobs for Progress
Year: 3 of 3
Project Title: Basic Local Advocacy Training Project – Specific Minority Communities
Project Location: Houston

TCDD RFP Intent

To train, organize, and continue to support individuals with disabilities and advocates on a local level to actively participate in either self-advocacy or public policy advocacy activities. Each project will develop strategies and support a network of individuals who can support each other and work together towards a common goal. Each project will develop partnerships with non-traditional/non-disability organizations in an effort to advocate through broader representation, to encourage constructive communication and collaboration rather than competition for scare public resources, and to foster long-term sustainability and change. TCDD has approved funding of up to $75,000 per year for up to 3 years.

Project Goals and Accomplishments for Years 1-2

Goal: To provide basic training to introduce 100 participants to fundamental topics related to understanding of
self advocacy.

Accomplishments per goal: The project trained 142 individuals on topics related to basic self-advocacy and revised the plan to provide training at smaller workshops at locations throughout the community. The project created partnerships with local agencies such as Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, City of Houston Housing and Employment Resources Expo (HERE) planning committee, Goodwill Industries, and the City of Houston’s Mayor Office for People with Disabilities.

Proposed Goals and Objectives for Year 3

Goal: Same as above
Objectives:1) Enhance the Basic Advocacy Training Curriculum; 2) Enhance the website to Spanish version,
employment opportunities, and resources available to public.

Council Considerations: No staff concerns; Council consider continued funding for this project.

Continuation Budget Detail Summary
  Federal Match Totals
Amount expended in 9 month budget $13, 282 $5,234 $18, 516
Amount expended in year 2 (Based on 7 months) $37,006 $21,459 $58,465
Amount requested for next year budget:      
I. Personnel services 56,976 0 56,976
II. Travel 1620 240 1860
III. Purchased services (n/a) 5600 17,660 23,260
IV. Property/Materials 2100 1940 4040
V. Rental/Leasing 6000 5160 11,160
VI. Utilities 2704 0 2704
VII. Other      
Budget period totals $75,000 $25,000 $100,000

Attachment 2 – Review of Proposed Activities & Budget, Syracuse University

Date: 05/05/10 ITEM: C

Grantee: Syracuse University
Year: 3 of 3
Project Title: SAdvocacy “U” Resource Center
Project Location: Syracuse, NY -Statewide

TCDD RFP Intent

The project intent is to develop and maintain an online clearinghouse that is accessible to individuals and to advocacy organizations. The website will include listings of ongoing advocacy, leadership, and community organizing training programs around the state and will include training opportunities for people of all ages. It will provide training materials, resources, and curriculum organized as modules for use by individuals and organizations and there will be information related to speakers. The project will also be responsible for reviewing, culling, and updating, as necessary, training modules and resources, and it will gather, review, and develop necessary additions to, adaptations of, curriculum or training approaches. TCDD has approved funding of up to $75,000 per year for up to three years.

Project Goals and Accomplishments for Years 1 -2

Goal: To develop a sustainable web based online clearinghouse for leadership development information, advocacy resources, training materials, and event information that is accessible to a diverse user group of stakeholder individuals and advocacy organizations.

Accomplishments per goal: The project established and completed the technical and functional design plan for the website and by the end of this budget period, the prototype will be completed; the project continues to identify and load Texas and applicable national advocacy to the site; they are currently working on a secure user protocol for direct contact additions; and, they will continue to identify and address gaps in advocacy leadership development information and resources.

Proposed Goals and Objectives for Year 3

Goal: Same as above
Objectives: Maintain partnerships with stakeholders, PAC members, and other Leadership and Advocacy grantees and identify other key partners; develop the website technical and functional infrastructure; identify and catalogue resources, events, and training materials; and, continue to work on sustainability of the website.

Council Considerations: No staff concerns; Council to consider continued funding for this project.

Continuation Budget Detail Summary

  Federal Match Totals
Amount expended in year 1 (based on 8 months) $56,250 $18,821 $75,071
Amount expended in year 2 (based on 9 months) $47,668 $16,276 $63,944
Amount requested for next year budget:      
I. Personnel services 62,810 12,298 75,108
II. Travel 1617 0 1617
III. Purchased services ($15,075 consultants) 18,250 0 18,250
IV. Property/Materials 750 0 750
V. Rental/Leasing 0 0 0
VI. Utilities 948   948
VII. Other (Indirect Costs) 9375 20,001 29,376
Budget period totals $93,750 $32,299 $126,049

Attachment 3 – Review of Proposed Activities & Budget, Texas A&M University

Date: 05/05/10 ITEM: D

Grantee: Texas A&M University
Year: 3 of 5
Project Title:Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference
Project Location: Austin -Statewide

TCDD RFP Intent

The project intent is to coordinate training events for individuals that have been active in disability policy advocacy and who want to create system changes in large geographic areas and/or specialized topics for which local training is not available. “Intentional networking” will be an important part of these training events. TCDD has approved funding of up to $150,000 per year for up to five years.

Project Goals and Accomplishments for Year(s) 1 -2

Goal: The overall goal of the project is to provide statewide advanced leadership and public policy advocacy training to further develop leaders and public policy advocates with disabilities in Texas and to provide follow- up training and networking activities.

Accomplishments per goal: A 2-day conference was held in March 2009. Based on feedback from various groups, topics were chosen based on the state legislation, which was in session. Staff sent out applications to 130 individuals that expressed interest in attending the conference and ultimately 82 confirmed that they would attend. There was a keynote speaker, breakout sessions, participation in legislative hearings, and a rally at the Capitol. An interactive discussion forum was added to the project website to facilitate intentional networking among conference attendees and between experienced advocates and youth leaders. The year 2 conference was held in March 2010 with 145 individuals in attendance. More information will be provided during the coming quarter.

Proposed Goals and Objectives for Year 3

Goal: Same as above
Objectives: To conduct a 2-day conference with 100 participants that will provide them with advanced training; provide networking opportunities; provide an online discussion board and chat rooms for interest circles to continue their networking activities; revise existing self-determination and leadership training materials and convert them to online modules; develop new material for online training modules; and provide technical assistance to participants to assist their advocacy efforts.

Council Considerations: No staff concerns; Council to consider continued funding for this project.

Continuation Budget Detail Summary
  Federal Match Totals
Amount expended in year 1 (based on 10 months) $112,500 $37,321 $149,821
Amount expended in year 2 (based on 8 months)) $34,998 $11,847 $46,845
Amount requested for next year budget:      
I. Personnel services 52,746 0 52,746
II. Travel 5050 0 5050
III. Purchased services ($11,800 consultants) 75,015 0 75,015
IV. Property/Materials 3553 0 3553
V. Rental/Leasing 0 0 0
VI. Utilities 0 0 0
VII. Other (Indirect Costs) 13,636 49,773 63,409
Budget period totals $150,000 $49,773 $199,773

Attachment 4 – Review of Proposed Activities & Budget, Imagine Enterprises, Inc.

Date: 05/05/10 ITEM: A

Grantee: Imagine Enterprises, Inc.
Year: 5 of 5
Project Title: Youth Leadership and Advocacy
Project Project Location: Abilene – West Texas Region

TCDD RFP Intent

To establish a statewide system of youth leadership and advocacy training with up to 5 local/regional and one state-level training project for youth leadership development. Each local/regional youth leadership project will select and train up to 60 youth for training events each year. TCDD has approved funding of up to $50,000 per year for up to three years with up to $25,000 provided by DARS.

Project Goals and Accomplishments for Year(s) 1-4

Goal: The West Texas Region Youth Leadership and Advocacy project will support 60 youth with disabilities per year to experience significant gains in leadership and advocacy skills.

Accomplishments per goal: The project recruited 62 students to participate in its intensive 6-day curriculum from the local school districts, 3 from Department of Blind Services (DBS), and 14 Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). This year all events were held in a single location, events were held on Tuesday to avoid conflict with school field trips, and students received the day as a ‘Transition Field Trip’ per the school district instructions. From the 2008 training, 5 mentors were recruited and actively participated in the activities for this budget year and, the mentor recruitment process and materials were developed. The project had 8 students that attended the statewide Youth Leadership conference in 2008. The project developed 2 new partnerships with Not Without Us Independent Living Center and LULAC during this budget period. For 2009, the project recruited and involved 60 new youths through partnerships with local ISD’s and DARs and five students will attend the state leadership conference.

Proposed Goals and Objectives for Year 5:

Goal: Same As Above
Objectives: Recruit and support activities of a regional Project Advisory Committee. Develop a student recruitment process and materials to ensure that the 60 students will understand the goal of the project, ensure at least 5 students attend the statewide leadership conference, and pursue options for sustainability of the project.

Council Recommendations: No staff concerns; Council to consider continued funding for this project.

Continuation Budget Detail Summary
  Federal Match Totals
Amount expended in year 1 (based on 12 months)* $56,750 $24,194 $80,944
Amount expended in year 2 (based on 12 months) $50,000 $30,374 $80,374
Amount expended in year 3 (based on 12 months) $50,000 $16,667 $66,667
Amount expended in year 4 (based on 9 months) $45,633 $12,502 $58,135
Amount requested for next year budget:      
I. Personnel services 34,925   34,925
II. Travel 6500   6500
III. Purchased services ($11,800 consultants) 4844 12,700 17,544
IV. Property/Materials 1625   1625
V. Rental/Leasing   4000 4000
VI. Utilities 2106   2106
VII. Other (Indirect Costs)      
Budget period totals $50,000 $16,700 $66,700

*The Council approved up to $6,750 funding in place of the DARS funding originally committed to the program, for up to 1 year only.