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Minutes — Council Meeting, May 6, 2011

(As approved by the Council, August 2011)


Council Members Present

Council Members Absent

Staff Members Present

Guests Present

  • Amanda Dunnavant
  • Leticia Finley
  • Adam Perez, A-V Technician
  • Jaye Stepp
  • Michael Vardell

Call to Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities met on Friday, May 6, 2011, in the Chennault room of the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel, 9515 Hotel Drive, Austin, TX 78719. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie called the meeting to order at 8:30 AM.


Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

Public Comments

No public comments were presented.

Consent Items

Chair Coleman-Beattie reviewed excused absences for this meeting for Mike Benz, Center for Disability and Development, TX A&M; Penny Seay, Center for Disability Studies at UT-Austin; Kris Bissmeyer; Cindy Johnston: Diana Kern; Dana Perry; and Deneesa Rasmussen.

Coleman-Beattie asked for a motion to approve minutes of the November 2010 Council and Committee of the Whole meetings and the excused absences for this meeting.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 2-3, 2010, Committee of the Whole and the November 3, 2010, Council meetings and the excused absences as reviewed by the Chair.

MADE BY: Kristen Cox

SECOND: John Morris

The motion passed unanimously.

Chair’s Report

Coleman-Beattie discussed pending appointments to the Council to fill the vacancy for Rene Requenez’s position and to replace Mary Durheim and Marcia Dwyer. Durheim is not eligible for another term and Dwyer is not seeking reappointment. Kris Bissmeyer and Joe Rivas are both eligible and are seeking reappointment. The Governor’s appointments staff focus on appointments requiring Senate confirmation while the Legislature is in session. Coleman-Beattie hopes that TCDD appointments will occur following the session. Chair Coleman-Beattie thanked both Ms. Dwyer and Ms. Durheim and asked if they had any comments they wanted to share with the Council in the event this is their last Council meeting. Durheim and Dwyer expressed how meaningful and important their involvement as Council members has been, and remarked about the many fond memories they will take with them from their time on the Council.

Coleman-Beattie informed members of her recent appointment to the Board for Austin-Travis County Integral Care representing the Central Texas Health Care Board, and indicated that she is now Vice-Chair of the University of Texas School of Social Work Advisory Board.

Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Roger Webb provided an update on staff activities including Angela Lello’s upcoming interview for a Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation Fellowship in Public Policy. Webb also thanked Laura Poskochil, a UT School of Social Work intern who has work with TCDD since January. Poskochil will complete her internship mid-May and has been assisting Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry on State Plan and other activities.

Webb provided information on the status of federal appropriations, noting that TCDD has not received a final grant award for FY 2011. Appropriations for DD Councils are subject to a 0.2% across-the-board reduction as are appropriations for other non-military domestic programs. Webb estimates that funds for TCDD will be approximately $10,000 less than FY 2010.

Webb indicated that none of the bills pending in the Texas Legislature have a major impact on TCDD administrative operations, and do not negatively impact employee salaries or benefits in a significant manner. TCDD Web Administrator Rosalina Lopez will retire from state employment June 30, 2011, after 27+ years with TCDD. Webb indicated that her position will not be refilled at the current time. Staff plan to contract or use a temporary services agency to provide staffing for some of the technical functions of the position on a part-time basis. Some job functions will also be absorbed by other TCDD staff. Webb noted that staff will re-evaluate refilling this position after the legislative session concludes.

Coleman-Beattie reminded members that future Council meetings are currently scheduled for August 3-5 and November 2-4, 2011 and February 8-10 and May 2-4, 2012. Council member Mateo Delgado proposed holding one of those meetings outside of Austin. Coleman-Beattie noted that it had been a number of years since the Council has had a “retreat” and suggested that a location outside of Austin might be considered for such an event. El Paso and The Woodlands were suggested and Coleman-Beattie encouraged members to offer other suggestions to herself or Webb. Staff were asked to review information about various options with the Executive Committee.

Election of Vice Chair and Consumer Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee

Coleman-Beattie thanked Nominating Committee Chair Joe Rivas and members Dana Perry and Mateo Delgado for their time and efforts to consider nominations for the positions of Council Vice-Chair and for the Consumer Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee. She offered sincere thanks to Cindy Johnston for her active participation as the Consumer Member-at-Large for the past 4 years to the Executive Committee and for her encouragement in the use of technology to provide information to Council members. Coleman-Beattie also thanked Mary Durheim for her involvement not only as Council Vice-Chair but as Audit Committee Chair and for assuming Council Chair responsibilities in Coleman-Beattie’s absence.

Rivas indicated that the Nominating Committee discussed their nominations with both individuals and they are willing to accept.

MOTION: The Nominating Committee nominates John Morris for the position of Council Vice-Chair, and Hunter Adkins for the position of Consumer Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee.

MADE BY: Joe Rivas for the Nominating Committee (Motions from Committees do not need a second.)

No other nominations were offered from the floor. The motion passed unanimously.

TCDD Audit Committee Reports and Charter

Coleman-Beattie reminded members that due to quorum issues in November, the Council deferred approval of the prior year’s audit reports until the February meeting. However, that meeting was cancelled due to the weather event in north Texas. Audit Committee Chair Durheim presented the following reports for approval:

  • TCDD Internal Audit Charter
  • TCDD FY 2010 Annual Internal Audit Report
  • TCDD Internal Audit Report #2010-1: TAC 202
  • TCDD Internal Audit Plan for FY 2011

(Reports are available from TCDD staff.)

Durheim noted that the Audit Committee met in October 2010 to review the reports and did not have any concerns. The Committee approved submission of these reports to the State Auditor’s Office on behalf of the Council as allowed by Council Policies, subject to review by the Council. Internal Auditor Jaye Stepp provided highlights of each report and indicated that there are no changes recommended to the Internal Audit Charter from the previous year. Stepp explained that the Annual Internal Audit Report is a summary of the audit activities conducted throughout the year. The TAC 202 audit is a state required review that focuses on information systems security. That audit was conducted in conjunction with TEA to determine if TCDD was included in the TEA business continuity plan. Stepp indicated that the focus of the FY 2011 Internal Audit Plan will be on grantee monitoring.

MOTION: To accept the TCDD Internal Audit Charter, the FY 2010 Audit Reports, and FY 2011 Audit Plan as presented and reviewed by the Auditor.

MADE BY: Mary Durheim for the Audit Committee

The motion passed unanimously. Coleman-Beattie expressed gratitude to Stepp and her firm, Rupert and Associates, for the great working relationship with TCDD.

TCDD FY 2012 – 2016 State Plan Goals And Objectives

Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry presented a revised draft of the FY 2012 – 2016 State Plan Goals and Objectives that incorporated changes discussed by the Committee of the Whole (Attachment 1 – PDF, 120KB, 9 pages). Once approved, TCDD will request public input on the draft State Plan Goals and Objectives. Any input will be reviewed during August meetings. At that time the Council will asked to approve final State Plan Goals and Objectives for FY 2012 – 2016 which must be submitted by August 15th. Councils can revise State Plan Goals and Objectives each year if desired. Members agreed the revisions reflected discussions of the Committee of the Whole and thanked Cordry for her facilitation of this process.

MOTION: To approve the draft TCDD FY 2012 – 2016 State Plan Goals and Objectives for public comment.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Kathy Griffis-Bailey

The motion passed unanimously.

TCDD Grant Project and Award Procedures

Coleman-Beattie noted that the Committee of the Whole discussed the Councils current procedures to approve applicants for new grant projects, and to approve continuation awards each year. The Committee of the Whole did not recommend any changes to procedures at this time. Therefore no action is required by the Council.

Revisions to Stipends Grant Request For Proposals

Webb reviewed proposed revisions to the Request for Proposals for Event Stipends Grants (Attachment 2 – PDF, 110KB, 3 pages). Those revisions include an increase in the amount allowed per event if more than one organization is collaborating to host a joint event, and revisions to allow stipend funds to be used for travel expenses.

MOTION: To accept revisions to the Event Stipends Grant RFP as presented.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Mary Durheim

The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of Future Funding Projects

Project Development Committee Chair Susan Vardell reviewed Committee discussions about the current request for proposals (RFP) for a project focusing on higher education for people with disabilities. Vardell indicated that staff received feedback from some interested organizations that the funding authorized in the RFP is not sufficient to achieve the outcomes required. The Project Development Committee recommends increasing the funds authorized for the project from $125,000 per year to $225,000 per year per project, and recommends allowing funding for up to five years for up to 3 projects.

Vardell next reviewed the Committee’s recommendation to repost the Inclusive Faith-Based Communities Symposium RFP allowing funding for up to 4 projects with up to $75,000 per year authorized for each project for up to 3 years.

The Committee favorably reviewed an Executive Summary for Health and Fitness Promotion projects that authorizes funding for 2 projects with up to $250,000 per year per project for up to 5 years. These projects are intended to provide health and recreation opportunities for people with disabilities (Attachment 3 – PDF – 190KB, 14 pages).

Vardell reported that the Committee was also favorable to revisions to the previously approved Executive Summary for Enabling Technology projects. [The Executive Summary as previously approved is Attachment 4 (PDF, 30KB, 4 pages)] Since the scope of the project has been broadly defined and outcomes will be determined based on proposals, some projects may require more funding then others. The Committee recommends approving funds for up to three projects for a total of $750,000 per year for 5 years for all projects combined. The Committee asked staff to consider reimbursements for these projects contingent on the grantee meeting approved milestones. Council member Kristen Cox asked staff to explore options for TCDD to retain some ownership rights for these projects so that future profits can be used for other projects. Grants Director Patrice LeBlanc noted that discussions concerning ownership rights could become complicated and difficult to monitor. Staff will review this matter with TCDD’s general counsel.

Further discussion of the Youth Leadership Advisory Council was deferred until a future meeting.

Public Policy Committee Chair Rick Tisch reported that the Public Policy Committee will explore further an unsolicited idea from the Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition that proposes a statewide taskforce to develop policy recommendations regarding early childhood education programs for children with developmental disabilities. Council member Margaret Christen (TEA) noted there is already a statewide group known as Expanding Opportunities that has a similar mission and volunteered to coordinate with Public Policy Director Angela Lello on this item prior to the August meeting to gather more information.

Vardell indicated that other unsolicited ideas reviewed by the Project Development Committee were not considered as appropriate for further discussion by the Council.

MOTION: To approve the following:

  • Revise and repost the Higher Education for People with Disabilities RFP and approve funding for up to 3 projects at up to $225,000 per year per project for up to 5 years
  • Repost the Inclusive Faith Based Communities Symposium projects RFP and approve funding for up to 4 projects at up to $75,000 per year per project for up to 3 years
  • Request proposals for Health and Fitness Promotion projects for 2 projects at up to $250,000 per year per project for up to 5 years
  • Request proposals for Enabling Technology projects for up to 3 projects with up to $750,000 per year available for all projects each year for up to 5 years

MADE BY: Susan Vardell for the Project Development Committee

The motion passed unanimously.

Future Funding Project Priorities

The Project Development Committee also reviewed the Future Funding Activities Priority List and recommended revising the order for various projects and including new activities as discussed previously. Vardell noted that some projects are already beginning and RFPs will be released soon for others. The Committee recommends activities in the following priority order:

  1. Higher Education for People with Disabilities
  2. Public Policy Collaboration
  3. Enabling Technology
  4. Meaningful Relationships
  5. Alternatives to Guardianship
  6. Leadership and Advocacy Next Steps
  7. Outreach and Development
  8. Health and Fitness Promotion
  9. Funder’s Roundtable

MOTION: To approve revisions to the Future Funding Project Priorities as presented.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell for the Project Development Committee.

The motion passed unanimously.

Executive Committee Report

Coleman-Beattie reported that an omission was noted in the Executive Committee minutes. Patty Anderson of Disability Rights Texas (formerly Advocacy, Inc) and Jeff Kaufmann of DADS both attended the tour of Austin State Supported Living Center with other Council members and Executive Director Webb. Although already approved, the Executive Committee minutes will be revised to reflect that addition.

Coleman-Beattie shared information about six continuation grant awards approved by the Executive Committee and indicated that funding was authorized for two outreach and development projects. (See Executive Committee minutes). The Committee also reviewed appeals from two organizations of funding decisions approved by the Committee at the May meeting. The Committee received comments from one appellant and determined to not modify either decision.

Webb provided information on proposed amendments to Council Policies recommended by the Executive Committee. Council Policies require that notice of any proposed amendments be provided to members at least 10 days in advance. These amendments will be considered by the Council at the August meeting. The Executive Committee recommends:

  • Authorizing the Council Chair to approve a one-time adjustment to grant awards provided the amount is no more than 10% of the amount previously approved or $10,000.
  • Designating Council staff to serve as the review panel for grant proposals of $15,000 or less.
  • Limiting contracts for internal audit services to no more than 10 consecutive years. This recommendation was previously approved by the Council.

Members offered suggestions for clarifications on a few items.

Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the Quarterly Financial Report and noted that the Committee did not have any concerns. Cantu noted revisions to report formats this quarter intended to provide a better picture of all TCDD funds. Coleman-Beattie commented that these changes should make the financial records more easily understood. Webb commented that since TCDD does not usually know its final federal allotment at the beginning of the fiscal year, operating expenses are charged to the previous fiscal year’s funds for the first quarter each year. The summary reporting actual expenditures will thus show different amounts than the amount budgeted for operating expenses during a twelve month period.

Webb also reviewed the authority in the DD Act for Councils to obligate funds over a two year period and spend those funds over a three year period. He noted that some projects have been approved by the Council, but specific activities have not yet been identified. Funds approved for those projects are reflected in projected expenditure data to hold funds for those projects. When activities are still pending, those projected expenses are moved to the next future year which frees funds for the current year. Staff generally can obligate the remaining balance of funds during the second year for continuation awards. However, TCDD currently has fewer projects available for awards than in past years. Staff plan to use remaining prior year (FY 2010) funds for current year operating expenses so that all FY 10 funds are spent.

Coleman-Beattie indicated that the Executive Committee reviewed the Conflict of Interest Disclosure reports and found no concerns. She reminded members to update their information with the forms provided.

The Executive Committee met in executive session to provide input to the Chair for the annual performance appraisal of Executive Director Webb. Coleman-Beattie asked for input from staff and other Council members again this year. Once completed, she will review the appraisal with Webb as per procedures. She noted several achievements during the past year including the development of succession planning and emergency preparedness procedures for TCDD.

Webb and Coleman-Beattie discussed opportunities for Council members to attend conferences in the upcoming months including the ADD Technical Assistance Institute in Washington DC in July, the Southwest Disability Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October, and the NACDD Fall Conference in Baltimore in November. Members are asked to advise Coleman-Beattie or Webb if interested in attending any of these events.

Project Development Committee Report

Project Development Committee Chair Vardell discussed the Public Information Report that was presented by Communication Specialist Melissa Loe. The Committee was impressed with the Council’s efforts in outreach and social media. The Committee also received a report from TCDD Intern Laura Poskochil on information learned from outreach and development “mini-grants.” The Committee took no action on a proposed Youth Leadership Advisory Council this quarter, or on any of the unsolicited ideas reviewed by the Committee. Vardell reported that the “Advocacy U” project now has a live website and encouraged members to visit that site.

The Committee received a report on recent advocacy efforts from members Kimberly Blackmon, Andy Crim and John Morris.

Public Policy Committee Report

Public Policy Committee Chair Tisch reported on discussions of the Committee including updates from Hunter Adkins and Lora Taylor on their recent advocacy efforts. Council Member Jeff Kaufmann (DADS) provided updates to the Committee on state supported living center monitoring activities.

The Committee had an initial discussion on the possible special focus area for the 2012 Biennial Disability Report. Staff are asked to develop activities to help people navigate through the utilization and review process and asked for a presentation from DADS staff during the August meetings on this topic. The Committee would like to consider funding public policy activities related to this topic.

Announcements and Updates

There were no further announcements or updates.


Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Council meeting at 10:26 AM.

Roger A. Webb
Secretary to the Council