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Minutes – Council Meeting, Nov. 4, 2011


Council Members Present

  • Brenda Coleman-Beattie, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kristine Bissmeyer
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Mary Durheim
  • Kevin Estes, HHSC
  • Mary Faithfull, DRT
  • Kathy Griffis-Bailey, DSHS
  • Cindy Johnston
  • Jeff Kaufmann, DADS
  • Sara Kendall, DARS
  • John C. Morris
  • Joe Rivas
  • Penny Seay, UT CDS
  • Cindy Swain, TEA
  • Lora Taylor
  • Susan Vardell

Council Members Absent

Staff Members Present

Guests Present

Call to Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Friday, November 4, 2011, in the Capitol E Ballroom of the Sheraton Austin at the Capitol Hotel, 701 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM.

1. Introductions

Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

2. Public Comments

Council member Lora Taylor provided information on her recent trip to Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, a theme park designed for families to include individuals with disabilities. Taylor indicated that her family enjoyed the experience and recommends it to others.

3. Consent Items

Chair Coleman-Beattie asked for a motion to approve minutes of the August 2011 Council meetings and to excuse absences of Kristen Cox, Andrew Crim, Diana Kern, Dana Perry, Mike Benz/Amy Sharp (A&M Center on Disability and Development), and Richard Tisch.

MOTION: To approve the excused absences and minutes of the August 4-5, 2011, Council Meeting.

MADE BY: Lora Taylor

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

The motion passed unanimously.

4. Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Roger Webb indicated that interview teams are reviewing applications for the Grants Management and Public Policy Director positions and expect to conduct interviews during the next several weeks. It is hoped that both positions will be filled by the first of the year.

The usual dates for the November 2012 Council meeting are very close to the inaugural Formula One race in the Austin area. Area hotels expect room rates to be 4-5 times higher than usual during that period. Staff propose rescheduling the fall 2012 meetings to October 24-26, 2012 to avoid this concern. Council members were asked to indicate if they have conflicts with those dates.

6. Council Representative to Nominating Committee

Coleman-Beattie reviewed the process for establishing the Council’s Nominating Committee. The Public Policy Committee and the Project Development Committee each select one member. A third member is selected by the Council. The Nominating Committee will bring forward nominations for the position of Council Vice-Chair and the Consumer Delegate-at-Large to the Executive Committee at the February 2012 meeting.

John Morris currently serves as Vice-Chair and is eligible for a second consecutive term. Coleman-Beattie reminded members that she has asked Morris to serve as Acting Chair of the Council during her absence and until the Governor designates another member as Chair. Morris can continue in that role as Vice-Chair. Hunter Adkins is serving in her first term as the Consumer Delegate-at-Large to the Executive Committee and those terms are not limited.

Project Development Committee Chair Susan Vardell reported that Kathy Griffis-Bailey was selected by that Committee. Public Policy Committee Chair Joe Rivas reported that Kris Bissmeyer was selected by that Committee. Bissmeyer nominated Lora Taylor as the third member of the Committee.

MOTION: To approve Lora Taylor, Kris Bissmeyer and Kathy Griffis-Bailey as members of the Nominating Committee.

MADE BY: Brenda Coleman-Beattie (Motions from Committee do not need a second)

The motion passed unanimously.

Coleman-Beattie asked Committee members to accept Ms. Bissmeyer as Chair of the Nominating Committee, and Bissmeyer accepted.

7. State Plan Implementation & Future Funding Activities

Coleman-Beattie provided a brief overview of the process for developing the Council’s State Plan and noted that amendments could be made during the next year.

Vardell reviewed discussions of the Project Development Committee for a transportation project, noting that feedback from grantees indicates transportation is a significant obstacle for people with disabilities. The proposed project (Attachment 1) expects pre- and post- assessment/evaluation of project activities to determine change concerning the expected outcome of an increase in access to transportation for people with disabilities in one health and human services region.

Vardell next described the proposal for an expansion of Project Search which is a school-to-work model for people with disabilities (Attachment 2). There is at least one active project in Texas at Seton Hospital (Austin) with four others in planning stages. The proposed TCDD grant would provide coordination between these five projects and the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), and would provide funding for ten additional project sites. The proposed project would provide organizational work and assist in coordinating with the national sponsors of the project. Coleman-Beattie noted that the current project at Seton trains individuals to assemble operating room tool kits and explained that the jobs are meaningful in nature and not the jobs typically available for people with disabilities. DARS representative Sara Kendall indicated that jobs from Project Search nationally include positions with banks, universities, hospitals and other locations with the goal of providing individuals full-time employment that includes employer benefits, with supervisors providing natural supports instead of job coaches. The student completes a 9-month internship with the goal of obtaining a job from the sponsoring employer.

Vardell reviewed the Committee’s recommendations for continued support for the Gulf Coast of Texas African American Family Support Conference (Attachment 3). Webb provided additional background information, reminding members of the original RFP to replicate the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference. A grant was awarded to Parents Anonymous for that project. The Executive Committee decided to not approve continued funding to Parents Anonymous for the second year of the project because of various concerns. The first conference, conducted in August was very successful in large part because the involvement of TCDD staff and local community organizations. It is the Council’s intent to continue providing support for additional conferences by soliciting proposals from other organizations. The proposed Executive Summary for this project solicits proposals from organizations that were directly involved with the first conference and authorizes up to $35,000 per year for two years and up to $15,000 for the third year which should support two additional conferences.

Vardell reported that the Project Development Committee also discussed possible next steps to build on the experiences of Outreach and Development projects that receive up to $10,000 for one year. The Committee is pleased with the outcomes of these projects but acknowledges the significant amount of staff time devoted to projects with small funding amounts. The Committee established an ad-hoc workgroup to discuss this matter further and identify ways to continue these type projects or obtain similar outcomes from grass-root minority groups with less TCDD staff support. The workgroup includes John Morris, Andy Crim, Gladys Cortez and Cindy Swain. The Committee recognizes that the Outreach and Development projects now concluding (Arc of Greater Houston, Apalachicola Creek Indians, and Friends and Families of Asians with Special Needs) have valuable information and insights to share with TCDD and suggested contracting with those organizations to facilitate further discussions as appropriate. Further discussion clarified that the Committee’s intent is to obtain information from current grantees related to enhancing the cultural competence of future TCDD projects and for current projects to provide input for future TCDD Outreach and Development efforts. Vardell again commented about the difficulties for TCDD staff to monitor a large number of small Outreach and Development grants because each project can be rather time consuming even though they are small grant awards. Other suggestions included appointing an advisory group to explore the impact of new projects, including the cultural competence of grantees, and the possibility of developing a relationship with non-profit organizations that could provide funding without some of TCDD’s restrictions to assist grantees. The ad-hoc workgroup will consider these suggestions.

MOTION: To approve a Transportation project as recommended by the Project Development Committee with funding of up to $400,000 per year for up to five years.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell for the Project Development Committee

The motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve a Project Search project as recommended by the Project Development Committee with funding of up to $175,000 per year for up to five years.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell for the Project Development Committee

The motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve the Gulf Coast of Texas African American Support Conference project as recommended by the Project Development Committee with funding of up to $55,000 per year for two years and $15,000 for the year three.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell for the Project Development Committee

The motion passed unanimously.

Vardell discussed the Committee’s recommendation to contract with the Friends and Families of Asians with Special Needs, Apalachicola Creek Indians, & Arc of Greater Houston to provide input on cultural competence for future TCDD projects. Council members discussed the need to evaluate the Outreach and Development projects and determine next steps for TCDD activities, and agreed for the ad hoc workgroup to determine logical strategies to continue these relationships. Webb indicated that staff can coordinate reimbursement for travel expenses if needed without formal action by the Council. Members also agreed that these grantees might be able to provide useful information for the 2012 Biennial Report.

8. Future Funding Priorities

Project Development Committee Chair Vardell reviewed that Committee’s discussion about priorities for future projects and asked for approval for projects to be prioritized as follows:

  1. Enabling Technology
  2. Project Search
  3. Leadership and Advocacy Next Steps – New Training Projects and Regional Network Development
  4. Ongoing Outreach Consultant Activities (including Inclusive Faith-Based Communities)
  5. Health & Fitness
  6. Transportation
  7. Statewide Leadership Advocacy Training Network
  8. Funders Roundtable

MOTION: To approve the TCDD Future Funding Activities Priority List as indicated above.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell for the Project Development Committee

The motion passed unanimously.

9. Public Input to the Council

Strategies for fostering quality public input to inform Council discussions were discussed by the Public Policy and Project Development Committees. Chair Vardell reported that Project Development Committee members felt the best way to obtain meaningful input is through town hall meetings. She noted that the TCDD has attempted to gather input from stakeholders in a number of ways to with varied degrees of success, and commented that social media and electronic surveys provide new opportunities. Committee Chair Joe Rivas reported similar discussions by the Public Policy Committee, and noted that more focused “prompts” could be provided through social media outlets to solicit responses. The Public Policy Committee also asked for staff to coordinate a town hall meeting in conjunction with the May 2012 Council meeting in Dallas to obtain input from members of that community.

10. Public Comments (continued)

Chair Coleman-Beattie offered a second opportunity for public comments for guests who were unable to be present at the beginning of the meeting. Thelma Scott of the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation spoke on their Outreach and Development project and thanked the Council for that grant. She asked for additional support with managing this project. Lillian Davis also spoke on work of the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation. Ilene Robinson encouraged members to visit group homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

11. Internal Audit Charter

Council Vice-Chair and Audit Committee Chair John Morris introduced TCDD Internal Auditor Jaye Stepp who presented the Internal Audit Charter for annual review. No revisions were made this year. (Attachment 4 – PDF, 154KB, 7 pages)

MOTION: To approve the TCDD Internal Audit Charter.

MADE BY: Mateo Delgado

SECOND: Kathy Griffis-Bailey

The motion passed unanimously.

12. Review of TCDD Internal Audit Reports

Several Audit reports are provided to the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Oversight; Legislative Budget Board; State Auditor’s Office; and Sunset Advisory Commission each year by November 1st. The Audit Committee met in October to approve the reports for submission. These reports can be amended if Council members desire any changes.

Stepp first reviewed the FY 2011 Internal Audit Report which focused on grantee monitoring. (Attachment 5 – PDF, 240KB, 13 pages) Stepp reported that only one missing document was found in her review of grantee monitoring. She suggested a checklist for each project to track all necessary documents which is now implemented by grants staff. No other concerns were noted.

MOTION: To approve the TCDD FY 2011 Internal Audit Report.

MADE BY: Kathy Griffis-Bailey

SECOND: Cindy Johnston

The motion passed unanimously.

The TCDD Annual Internal Audit Report is a summary of all internal audit activities for the fiscal year and includes the Internal Audit Plan for FY 2011, External Quality Assurance Review, List of Audits Completed, List of Consulting Engagements and Non-Audit Services, Organizational Chart, Report on Other Internal Audit Activities, Internal Audit Plan for FY 2012, External Audit Services, and Reporting Suspected Fraud and Abuse. (Attachment 6 – PDF, 115KB, 11 pages)

MOTION: To approve the TCDD FY 2011 Annual Internal Audit Report.

MADE BY: Brenda Coleman-Beattie

SECOND: Kris Bissmeyer

The motion passed unanimously.

Stepp next discussed the Internal Audit Activity Report on Quality Assurance and Improvement Program. This report focuses on Stepp’s efforts to provide internal audit activities by industry standards. It is not sent to oversight agencies but was provided to staff and Committee members.

Stepp concluded by reviewing the TCDD Internal Audit Plan for FY 2012. (Attachment 7 – PDF, 350KB, 11 pages) The proposed internal audit focus for FY 2012 is:

  1. Monitoring of Funding Obligations and Liquidations
  2. Consult, Advise & Monitor the development of grantee reporting database (DD Suite)
  3. Follow up on prior year audit recommendations.

MOTION: To approve the FY 2012 Internal Audit Plan.

MADE BY: Lora Taylor

SECOND: Kathy Griffis-Bailey

The motion passed unanimously. Stepp once again complimented TCDD staff for their openness to recommendations from the auditor, and their willingness to make corrective actions.

13. Strategies to Improve Early Childhood Services

Public Policy Committee Chair Rivas and Communications Coordinator Melissa Loe discussed Early Childhood Services. TEA representative Cindy Swain reported that the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTEC) has concluded its current activities but is scheduled to meet again in November. The TEA representative to that advisory committee will again express TCDD’s offer to coordinate on various activities.

14. Public Policy Committee Report

Public Policy Committee Chair Rivas reviewed with members the summary of staff public policy activities and the updated summary of State Supported Living Center Compliance Reports. Communications Coordinator Loe reviewed staff Public Information Activities during the past quarter. Staff are currently reviewing and updating information on the TCDD website. Loe also discussed TCDD followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook both of which have increased over time.

Rivas reviewed staff activities planned to complete the special focus of the 2012 Biennial Disability Report: The interconnectivity of education with employment for individuals with developmental disabilities, including measures of consumer satisfaction. Public Policy Specialist Cassie Fisher has taken the lead on this report.

15. Project Development Committee Report

Project Development Committee Chair Vardell discussed a contract that will assist TCDD Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training projects to develop sustainability plans. Committee members discussed their personal advocacy efforts from the past quarter and reviewed the TCDD projects training schedule.

16. Executive Committee Report

Council Vice-Chair Morris discussed the Executive Committee’s review of an appeal of the decision to not award 2nd year continuation funding to Parents Anonymous for the Gulf Coast African American Family Support Conference project. The Committee agreed that information provided by Parents Anonymous in the appeal could have been included in their original applications, and did not find any concerns regarding the review process. The Committee determined to maintain the previous decision to not approve continuation funding for that grantee. Morris also noted that the Council has now approved a recommendation from the Project Development Committee to continue funding support for additional conferences by soliciting proposals from organizations directly involved in the first event. Coleman-Beattie noted that the original award for this project to an out-of-state grantee anticipated the grantee would have a visible presence in Texas. She therefore views this as a “lesson learned” and encouraged the Council to carefully consider the type of project before approving funds to a grantee from outside Texas in the future.

Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the TCDD Quarterly Financial Report and indicated that the Committee did not have any concerns or recommendations.

Morris reviewed the grant projects approved by the Committee:

  • Continuation funding of up to $61,780 to Texas Parent to Parent for the Public Policy Collaboration project to for the second year of a five year project.
  • Funding of up to $75,000 per year for up to three years for new Leadership Development and Advocacy projects to Texas Advocates, Texas A&M University, NAMI Texas, Arc of Dallas, Arc of Texas, Arc of the Gulf Coast and Texas State independent Living Council (SILC).
  • Funding of up to $75,000 per year for up to three years for new Inclusive Faith-Based Communities Symposium projects to OneStar Foundation, Arc of Greater Tarrant County (dba IDD Needs Council of Tarrant County), Jewish Family Services of Dallas, and West Texas Regional Foundation.
  • Funding of up to $225,000 per year for up to three years (with an option for two more years) for new Enabling Technology projects to Educational Programs Inspiring Communities, Inc., and Strategic Educational Solutions, LLC.
  • Funding of up to $250,000 per year for up to five years for new Health and Fitness projects years to Any Baby Can, Epilepsy Foundation, and Texas SILC.

Morris reminded members to update their Conflict of Interest Disclosure forms as necessary.

17. Audit Committee Report

Morris directed members to the minutes of the October 2011 Audit Committee meeting and invited members to attend future Audit Committee meetings.

18. Announcements and Updates

Disability Rights Texas Representative Mary Faithfull shared information about special education training for parents of students with disabilities. The trainings will take place in rural, mid-size locations throughout the state and are free of charge.


Chair Coleman-Beattie adjourned the Council meeting at 11:29 AM.

Roger A. Webb
Secretary to the Council