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Minutes — Committee of the Whole Meeting, May 5, 2011

(As approved by the Committee, August 2011)

Attendance

Council Members Present

Council Members Absent

Staff Members Present

Guests Present

  • Amanda Dunnavant, attendant
  • Leticia Finely, attendant
  • Adam Perez, A-V Tech

Call to Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, May 5, 2011, in the Chennault Room of the Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 Hotel Dr. Austin, TX 78719. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie called the meeting to order at 9:32 AM.

Introductions

Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

Public Comments

No public comments were offered.

Chair’s Remarks

Coleman-Beattie and Executive Director Roger Webb presented a plaque to Rosalinda Lopez, TCDD Web Administrator, recognizing her 31 years of service to the state of Texas; 27 of those years were dedicated to TCDD. Lopez plans to retire from service on June 30, 2011.

Review of Key Agenda Items

Public Policy Committee Chair Rick Tisch and Project Development Committee Chair Susan Vardell reviewed key topics of discussion for their committee meetings.

TCDD 2012 – 2016 State Plan Goals and Objectives

Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry reviewed the draft TCDD 2012-2016 State Plan Goals and Objectives with members and noted that following Council approval, this document will be posted for public comment. Comments will be considered during the August Council meetings and revisions can be made at that time prior to final submission to the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) by August 15, 2011.

She reminded members of past Council discussions including identifying the seven issue areas as the basis for the plan and identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in each area. Because the Council did not meet as planned in February, a work group consisting of Andy Crim, Mateo Delgado, John Morris, Lora Taylor and Rick Tisch was appointed to develop the draft goals and objectives based on those issue areas. Public input was also obtained through target focus groups, public events focused on disabilities, and through surveys available on the TCDD website.

Cordry reviewed each goal as outlined in the draft. Chair Coleman-Beattie noted that this is truly a collaborative document and although Cordry drafted the goals and objectives following workgroup discussions, each goal and objective is representative of input previously provided by members.

Further input was then provided which included:

  • Adding access to technology as an educational objective in addition to employment so that individuals with disabilities will already have training on technological accommodations as they begin their careers
  • Amending Goal 5, Objective 4 to include wording about reallocating existing funding toward community resources
  • Clarification of language regarding “sustainability” of projects vs. TCDD funding since the reader may not understand the point that grant project sustainability is expected
  • Consider wording such as “community first” which would be seen as a positive instead of “eliminate,” “reduce”, etc.

Council members discussed the Council position of reducing state supported living center (SSLC) admissions. A suggestion was offered for stronger language or a specific goal regarding ending admissions of children to SSLCs. Executive Director Webb noted that the Council has been clear about advocating this position in other areas such as Position Statements, Public Policy Priorities, and the Biennial Report. The State Plan highlights this position in Goal 7 which calls for staff to effectively implement the Council’s mission and goals. Workgroup members noted that reducing the number of SSLC admissions is not something the Council can “be in control of” but by implementing the activities outlined in the goals and objectives such as better access to health care, employment, etc.; services will be available that will allow individuals to live in the community and not have a need for SSLC placement. It was also suggested that increasing the interaction in the community of individuals with disabilities would lead to a reduced need for SSLCs. Cordry noted that ADD expects to hold Councils accountable for meeting the goals and objectives. An objective to reduce admissions may not be achievable. Failing to meet goals and objectives will most likely not reflect well on the Council and could potentially result in decreased future funding for the Council. A suggestion was also offered to include this position in a forward to the State Plan as a statement of “philosophical principals.”

TCDD Grant Project and Award Approval Procedures

Webb presented an overview of current Council procedures for developing and approving grant awards including the staff activities to implement approved projects. He discussed the background concerning these procedures which have evolved following the Council’s Sunset Review in 1999. However, the Council can modify these procedures if desired. Webb reviewed various alternative ways to structure approval processes such as final approval by the Council. Council member Kristen Cox indicated that she raised this matter when she realized that the Executive Committee approves grantees and awards on behalf of the Council. Cox proposed a “hybrid” with Executive Committee recommendations reviewed by the Council for final approval.

Other suggestions included a sub-committee consisting of members from the Public Policy Committee and Project Development Committee to review grant applications instead of the Executive Committee. Members noted time constraints might require a “restructure” of all committees and questioned if grant continuations would be reviewed by a “grants” committee or only new project applications. Others noted that the Executive Committee currently includes members from both committees and suggested that additional members could be added to the Committee if the Council desires. It was also noted that all Council members are welcome to attend Executive Committee meetings and participate in discussions even though they are not able to vote. In most instances, Executive Committee materials are made available to all Council members so that members can ask questions if unable to attend a meeting. In response to questions, Webb noted that some Councils form committees around “issue areas” with each committee discussing policy issues and grant activities related to that topic.

Coleman-Beattie polled members to determine if there was a consensus of members who preferred for the approval of grant awards to be made by the full Council. Only four members indicated this preference. After further discussion, members agreed to not recommend changes to current procedures.

Public Policy Update

Public Policy Director Angela Lello provided a brief update on status of bills in the current Texas Legislature and the impact of those bills on people with disabilities. She reviewed deadlines to pass bills as the session concludes and indicated that a special session may be necessary for the Legislature to reach consensus on the budget in addition to any other issues the Governor may choose to include. TCDD staff have tracked several hundred pieces of legislation this session. Lello also provided updates on various federal legislative matters including appropriations. Members discussed the impact of pending budget cuts to services for people with disabilities.

Conference Reports

Webb provided a brief update on the ADD “Envisioning the Future” Forum in November 2010 where Council members Joe Rivas and Dana Perry provided comments on existing services and supports for people with disabilities. A summary of that event was included in meeting materials.

Adjourn

Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Committee of the Whole at 2:08 PM.

Roger A. Webb, Secretary to the Council
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