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Minutes — Executive Committee Meeting, November 1, 2010

(As Approved by the Committee May 4, 2011)


Call to Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on November 1, 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 4:02 PM.


Committee members and staff were introduced.

Public Comments

No public comments were offered.

Approval of Minutes

The Committee reviewed the minutes from the August 4, 2010, Committee meeting.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the August 4, 2010, Executive Committee meeting as presented.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Mary Durheim

The motion passed unanimously.

Chair’s Report

Chair Coleman-Beattie discussed attendance for Committee and Council meetings. She noted that several members are unable to attend due to a variety of reasons including the national conference for the University Centers on Excellence, staff changes at state agencies, and personal matters for several members. Committee Chairs were encouraged to consider discussion of agenda items needing action when a quorum of their committee is present.

Council members Coleman-Beattie, Patty Anderson, Jeff Kaufmann, Diana Kern, Dana Perry, Deneesa Rasmussen and Rick Tisch and Executive Director Roger Webb toured the Austin State Supported Living Center (SSLC) just prior to the meeting. Two parents of residents at Austin SSLC who provided public comments at the August Council meetings joined TCDD members on the tour. Members visited various residences and programs at the facility. Tisch commented that the tour was mostly of the facilities and didn’t offer a broader perspective of the daily lives of residents.

Coleman-Beattie reminded members that the Committee approved funds during the August meeting for a short extension of the Texas A&M Research Foundation employment project. Following that meeting, the grantee realized that the budget as submitted was incomplete and asked for an additional $1,100 without which the Foundation would likely not accept funds for the extension period. The Chair approved that increase and asked staff to develop proposed amendments to TCDD Policies that can be considered by the Council concerning such matters. The grantee subsequently declined funds for the extension when the project director transferred to another project. The Committee will consider possible amendments to Policies related to this matter later on the agenda.

Public Policy Director Angela Lello discussed testimony given on behalf of TCDD by Council member Kris Bissmeyer at a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Home and Community-based Services (HCS) Medicaid waiver program. Lello noted that legislators and their staff were appreciative of her comments as a parent and a recipient of HCS waiver services and found her comments to be very informative.

Members discussed the process for developing TCDD FY 2012-2016 State Plan goals and objectives and agreed that while attendance at these meetings was not ideal, progress could be made. Members also agreed that additional work sessions could be scheduled if needed. Coleman-Beattie advised the Committee that she will not be available for part of the February Council and Committee meetings as she has been asked to emcee part of the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference on the same dates. She expects be absent from TCDD meetings on Friday, February 11, 2011.

Coleman-Beattie indicated that Marcia Dwyer recently asked to be removed from the Audit Committee due to time constraints. Committee members are asked to encourage other Council members to consider serving on the Audit Committee. Coleman-Beattie also discussed the formation of the Nominating Committee during these meetings. That Committee will bring forward recommendations for Council Vice-Chair and Consumer Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee at the February Council meeting.

Coleman-Beattie requested that staff complete meeting highlights in an expedited fashion to update those absent of discussions and actions during these meetings.

Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Webb discussed the Council’s decision during the August meeting to support Advocacy, Inc. (AI) in calling for a moratorium on new admissions to state supported living centers (SSLCs). A fact sheet was developed to clarify that the Council’s action on this matter which was provided to members and posted on the TCDD website. The fact sheet notes that the Council’s action is part of a broader, collaborative effort to recommend to state leadership which does not in itself end admissions to SSLCs. Rather, it indicates TCDD’s support of Advocacy, Inc’s call for a moratorium on new admissions until the problems cited in the Department of Justice monitoring reports have been addressed in an appropriate manner. Webb noted that other advocacy organizations also support the call for a moratorium including TCDD, AI, The Arc of Texas, Texas Advocates, Community Now, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, Easter Seals of Central Texas, the Centers for Independent Living, and both University Centers for Excellence. Committee members discussed how to determine when the state has made sufficient progress to end the call for a moratorium and agreed that further discussion on this topic should take place in the Public Policy Committee. Webb noted that the group of organizations who have supported the call for a moratorium on new admissions met during the last week of October to discuss collaborative efforts and goals for the upcoming legislative session.

Webb also noted that an inquiry was received from the Legislative Budget Board on behalf of Representative Susan King (Abilene) regarding how TCDD funds are used. TCDD staff developed a fact sheet summarizing the Council’s authority under the federal DD Act and TCDD activities that may be helpful for Council members if they receive questions on this matter.

The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) is sponsoring a series of public input sessions to gather input for an ADD 5-year strategic plan. A public input session is planned for Dallas in mid-February followed by a one-day planning session for invited participants. Several TCDD grantees have registered to provide public input and Council members are encouraged to submit their names as well.

Council member John Morris was recently appointed to the NACDD Member Services Committee and Public Policy Director Angela Lello was appointed to the Public Policy Committee.

TCDD will have an intern from the UT School of Social Work from January through May 2011. Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry will supervise Laura Poskochil on various state plan development related activities. Public Policy Director Lello may also involve the intern on some public policy activities as time allows.

Staff received an inquiry from a Council member regarding practices of other DD Councils to award funds to out-of-state organizations. Webb received about 20 responses from a listserv query to Council directors indicating that several other Councils have also awarded funds to out-of-state entities. Other Directors agree it is allowable with DD funds and do not see it as a concern if the best vendor for a project is out-of-state. TCDD has awarded 2-5% of funds to out-of-state entities during each of the past three grant years.

Revisions to Stipends Grant RFP

Webb reminded members of the discussion from last quarter regarding awards for stipends grants to two organizations when they host a joint event. The current Stipends Request for Proposals (RFP) allows up to $6,000 per event, thus requiring the two co-sponsoring organizations to share the total funds available. During the August Council meeting, members entertained and approved a motion that made an exception for this case due to time considerations for an October conference in El Paso jointly sponsored by the Coalition for Texans with Disabilities and VOLAR Center for Independent Living. Further, the Council expressed the need for a revision to the Stipends RFP to allow future collaborative stipend requests. Staff were asked to draft revisions to the Stipends RFP for consideration at these meetings and propose allowing up to $6,000 per organization and up to $15,000 per event if more than two organizations are jointly sponsoring. Staff also propose reviewing provisions in the current RFP that do not allow stipend grants funds to be used for transportation or meals. That provision was originally seen as a way to ensure some “participant contributions” without requiring a higher matching share. A sample of recent stipend grantees indicates that transportation and meals would be beneficial for some stipend recipients and that not having funds available for that assistance is often a barrier to attendance, especially for self-advocates.

MOTION: To accept revisions to the Stipends Grant RFP as presented, allowing organizations to receive up to $6,000 per event, and allowing for collaborating organizations to each organization to receive up to $6,000 for a joint event with no more than $15,000 total awarded per event.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Mary Durheim

Members continued discussion regarding the maximum amounts that should be allowed for travel and meal expenses. It was noted that allowing travel expenses may decrease the number of stipend recipients. Webb commented that allowing funds for travel and meal expenses allows each organization to determine how to use stipend funds including the option for including travel expenses. Chair Coleman-Beattie proposed that the Committee recommend Council approval to include transportation and meals as allowable expenses provided the amounts do not exceed prevailing state rates. Mr. Tisch and Ms. Durheim agreed to include that recommendation as part of the motion.

The motion passed unanimously.

Proposed Amendments to TCDD Policies

Webb discussed an amendment to TCDD Policies regarding adjustments to amounts approved for grant awards. As noted earlier, a grantee requested an increase of approximately $1,100 for an award approved last quarter by the Committee for an extension period. Chair Coleman-Beattie authorized that increase under her authorities as Chair but requested that staff draft an amendment to TCDD Policies addressing such situations. Webb reviewed the proposed amendment that would allow the Council Chair to approve adjustments to amounts authorized for grant awards when that increase is not more than 10% of the amount previously approved by the Executive Committee and not more than $10,000. Members suggested adding language to clarify that exceptions should be one-time events, not repeated requests from the same grantee. Webb and members also discussed a second proposed amendment to Policies to clarify that staff serve as the review panel for stipends grant proposals and for other grants when authorized funding is less than $15,000 yearly. Both of these items will be discussed further during February meetings with further revisions as suggested by the Committee.

Biennial Review of Independent Reviewers

Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry described the process for determining individuals eligible to participate as review panel members. Members were provided names and locations (cities) for 228 individuals recommended for approval as well as the area of emphasis with which they have experience. Cordry also provided a summary of demographics including location, ethnicity and age groups noting that age and ethnicity are fairly recent reporting elements and information is not available for the entire group. Coleman-Beattie expressed concern that the majority of individuals are located within central Texas. Cordry agreed and indicated that efforts are being made to reach out to individuals from other areas of the state. Coleman-Beattie asked staff to add a footnote explaining the reason for the large number of individuals from Central Texas including TCDD’s recognition in Central Texas, existing professional contacts, larger number of grantees in Central Texas, etc.

Cordry further described the review panel process from the point that individuals are first contacted through the review of proposals and reimbursement for time and travel. Coleman-Beattie suggested developing a “position description” for reviewers and posting this information on the TCDD website, including reimbursement rates for reviewers.

MOTION: To accept the list of individuals eligible to serve on TCDD review panels for grant proposals.

MADE BY: Mary Durheim

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

Rick Tisch noticed that current Council member Andy Crim is included in this list and that would present a conflict of interest and noted that a few other names are duplicated. Staff will remove Mr. Crim’s name and any other duplicates or irregularities.

The motion passed unanimously.

TCDD Quarterly Financial Report

Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the financial report for the final quarter of 2010. She noted that the TCDD fiscal year ends on September 30 in accordance with the federal fiscal year and not August 31 with the state fiscal year. Although all expenses for the fiscal year have not cleared, staff expect total expenses to be approximately $230,000 less than budgeted.

Chair Coleman-Beattie discussed the reporting of expenditures and suggested revisions to better reflect funds available for grant projects and funds projected to be available once all expenditures are cleared. Vice-Chair Mary Durheim asked that acronyms be spelled out. Staff will revise future reports in that manner.

Cantu added that TCDD funding for FY 2011 is estimated pending final appropriations by Congress for fiscal 2011. Congress approved a continuing resolution providing funds for most domestic programs at FY 2010 funding levels through early December. A “lame duck” Congress will reconvene following the November elections to either pass appropriations bills for FY 2011 or pass another continuing resolution.

Review Panel Recommendations for New Products

Cordry presented the review panel recommendations for four projects that were evaluated during the quarter. Summaries for all proposals were provided to the Committee. Cordry noted that after the Committee makes a decision on funding, staff will contact the potential grantee and negotiate a final work-plan and budget for the project. Any concerns noted during the review process will be addressed during those negotiations.

Three proposals were received in response to the Request for Proposals (RFP) for future public policy collaboration activities. The review panel recommended funding only the proposal submitted by Texas Parent to Parent (TxP2P). This project proposes to pair self-advocates, parents or siblings of children with disabilities as volunteers with Texas legislators to provide input on the needs of people with disabilities. TxP2P will recruit the volunteers, match them to a legislator and provide training and on-going support in their advocacy efforts. Cordry noted that the review panel had positive feedback on this project but questioned if the requested funding was sufficient and recommended additional funding be offered. Cordry further clarified that the project will train over 300 volunteers over a 5 year period and provided the budget outline over the five year period which included an increasing match from the organization. Grants Management Director Patrice LeBlanc suggested that the project be approved with the requested amount but the Committee recognize the recommendation from the review panel that increased funding may be necessary in the future. Coleman-Beattie noted this could be evaluated at each annual grant continuation review.

MOTION: To approve funds of up to $65,033 to Texas Parent to Parent for the first year of a five year Public Policy Collaboration project.

MADE BY: Mary Durheim

SECOND: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

The motion passed unanimously with member Cindy Johnston absent for this vote.

Cordry next discussed proposals received in response to the Meaningful Relationships RFP. Seven proposals were received but four were not ranked due to the panel’s concern that those projects were not fundable. The panel overwhelmingly felt that the proposal from Safeplace was the top selection. Proposals from the Brighton Center and the Texas A&M University were also ranked but fell below Safeplace. The RFP authorized funds for one project. The Safeplace project proposed to collaborate with other partners to establish a new program to help individuals with developmental disabilities determine their expectations from relationships as well as coaching to develop relationships. Measurable objectives were defined by pre and post surveys of participants. Long term sustainability was also addressed in the proposal. Staff had no issues or concerns. Cordry also noted that the project would not be promoting sexual activity but would address safe-sex issues if participants were interested in or currently sexually active. The project would address the needs of 20 adults with developmental disabilities.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $105,475 to Safeplace for the first year of the Meaningful Relationships three-year project.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Mary Durheim

The motion passed unanimously.

Cordry indicated that only one proposal was received in response to the Inclusive Faith-Based Communities Symposium RFP although there were several participants in the “bidders’ conferences” and a number of comments by phone and e-mail. The review panel recommended “tentative” approval of the proposed project from the HALI project in conjunction with Texas Tech University which would host a symposium in West Texas. It was noted that the project did not reach across denominations and it was undetermined if it had the capability to do so.

MOTION: To not approve funding for the proposal from Hali Project and ask the Project Development Committee for further consideration about this project.

MADE BY: Mary Durheim

SECOND: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

The motion passed unanimously.

Cordry presented review panel recommendations for proposals received in response to the RFP on Alternatives to Guardianship: Volunteer Supported Decision-Making Advocates. This project is a collaboration effort with the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) that was directed by statute to develop the program but was not provided funding. DADS provided input in the development of the project, reviewed the proposals and will be evaluating the project and providing input to the legislature on its progress.

The review panel had a “lukewarm” response to the proposals. The proposal from ARC of San Angelo was the highest ranked proposal although concern was expressed that it would not serve a large group. A proposal was also received from Alternatives to Guardianship, Inc. which is primarily a money-management organization but proposed expanding into decision-making processes as well. The review panel was concerned that this organization did not currently focus on individuals with disabilities but on aging individuals.

Public Policy staff noted that while stellar results may not be expected, the project could build relationships for future expansion and benefits. Public Policy Director Lello also expressed a concern that the legislature may feel that the need does not exist if a project is not funded. Cordry noted that DADS will be using “core indicators” based on quality of life factors of participants as the primary evaluation tool.

MOTION: To approving funding of up to $75,000 to the Arc of San Angelo for the first year of the Volunteer Supported Decision-Making Advocates three year project.

MADE BY: Rick Tisch

SECOND: Mary Durheim

The motion passed unanimously.

TCDD received three proposals during the quarter for Outreach and Development Projects. These grants of up to $10,000 for one year will work to improve the lives individuals with disabilities from ethnic minority cultures. The review panel for these proposals included Cordry, Lello and LeBlanc. Proposals were reviewed from the Apalachicola Creek Indians for speech and language services, Friends and Families of Asians with Special Needs for culturally appropriate advocacy training, and Parents as Partners in Special Education / Spanish Speaking (with support from the Arc of Greater Houston) for advocacy training. All three projects met the qualifications of the RFP and are recommended for approval. The RFP was posted as open-ended for up to ten projects. An additional proposal was recently received and will be presented at the next meeting.

MOTION: To approve funding for all three proposals as recommended

MADE BY: Mary Durheim

SECOND: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

The motion passed unanimously.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Committee members reviewed Conflict of Interest disclosure statements from members and staff with no noted concerns.

Other Updates

Executive Director Webb provided updates on the grants monitoring reports including the Independent Audit Status Report, the Grants Monitoring Exception Report, and the Grants “No Cost Extension” Report. No concerns were noted.

Stipends were approved during the quarter for the following:

  • Coalition of Texans with Disabilities for $6,000 for the 32nd Annual Convention, October 20-22, 2010 in El Paso.
  • Volar Center for Independent Living for $5,955 for the Our Lives 10th Annual Disability Conference, October 21, 2010 in El Paso.
  • NAMI-Tx for $5,980 for the 2010 Annual Conference, October 22-24, 2010 in Dallas.

LeBlanc also noted that the Baylor College of Medicine Transition Medicine Project has received the advocate of the year award from the Houston Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities.


Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Council meeting at 7:20 PM.

Roger A. Webb
Secretary to the Council