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Minutes — Committee of the Whole Meeting, May 2012

2012 Council and Committee Meetings

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Call to Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities met in Majestic 1 Room of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 North Olive Dallas, TX 75201. The Committee convened on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 6:30 PM for a public input session. The session was attended by approximately 8 members of the public, 10 Council members and 9 TCDD staff. Interpreters provided simultaneous Spanish translation for individuals who did not speak English. Council member Andy Crim facilitated a discussion that focused on barriers to obtaining services for people with developmental disabilities. Individuals spoke of a lack of knowledge within their communities regarding the services that are available, case workers who hesitate to coordinate services for which an individual is eligible, and school systems who do not provide appropriate services to students with disabilities.

The Committee of the Whole recessed at 8:00 PM.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Andrew Crim
  • Frank Genco, HHSC
  • Kathy Griffis-Bailey, DSHS
  • Jeff Kaufmann, DADS
  • Cindy Johnston
  • Diana Kern
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Dana Perry
  • Joe Rivas
  • Cindy Swain, TEA
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Susan Vardell

Council Members Absent

  • Mike Benz/Amy Sharp, A&M CDD
  • Kristine Clark
  • Brenda Coleman-Beattie
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Mary Faithfull, DRT
  • Sara Kendall, DARS
  • John Morris
  • Penny Seay, UT CDS
  • Richard Tisch

Guests Present

  • Lee Brown
  • Amanda Dunnavant
  • Leteshia Finely
  • Gina Fuller
  • Lashonda Jackson
  • Eric Jacobson

Staff Members Present

  • Roger Webb, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cassie Fisher
  • Sonya Hosey
  • Melissa Loe
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Melissa Rosser
  • Koren Vogel


Council Chair Mary Durheim called for the Committee of the Whole to reconvene at 9:30 AM on Thursday, May 3, 2012.

1. Introductions

Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

2. Chair’s Remarks

Chair Durheim reviewed excused absences for John Morris, Kris Clark, Mateo Delgado, Sara Kendall, Mary Faithfull, Penny Seay, Mike Benz/Amy Sharp, and Brenda Coleman-Beattie. Durheim introduced new Council members David Taylor of El Paso and Scott McAvoy of Cedar Park. Both members have attended orientation and are eligible to vote on Council business.

Durheim and Executive Director Webb recognized TCDD Executive Assistant Koren Vogel for ten years of service to TCDD.

Durheim discussed Committee appointments and noted that Gladys Cortez has been assigned to the Project Development Committee at her request. New members McAvoy and Taylor will attend both Committee meetings before being assigned to a Committee. The Audit Committee is also in need of a new member and interested persons are encouraged to contact Durheim or Webb.

Council member Kris Clark and Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos recently attended the Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. Ramos provided comments on their experiences, noting that the conference blended basic advocacy issues with more complex budget items. She indicated that Clark was excited to learn about the “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act” which would allow individuals and families to save funds while protecting Medicaid benefits. Ramos accompanied Clark for meetings with staff from the offices of Congressman Lamar Smith, Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Senator John Cornyn.

Council member Cortez discussed her attendance at the recent media event regarding the launch of Project HIRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment). Project HIRE is funded by a collaborative effort between TCDD and the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to provide “wrap-around” supports for college students with disabilities. She commented on the appreciation expressed by the community.

Council member and Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) representative Jeff Kaufmann informed the Council of new reports that are available from DADS including a mortality report with data on individuals who died while in institutional settings. A report is also available on physical and behavioral health services in the HCS and CLASS programs.

3. Public Comments

No public comments were received.

4. Summary of Public Input Session

Council member Andy Crim provided a summary of the public input session Wednesday evening. Crim felt that a lack of communication was the biggest issue discussed — consumers did not know about services or how to access services; interagency communication and communication between providers and consumers are lacking. Consumers indicated a lack of cultural competency from providers. Chair Durheim discussed input on the education system and felt that even though work has been done to translate materials and provide information in other languages, information is still not being received. Council member Lora Taylor added that Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills training projects are vital for consumers and family members. Susan Vardell added her impression about how much financial need there is for small organizations and that any funding would be appreciated. Members felt that the input session was productive and would like to have more throughout the state.

5. Presentation — Georgia DD Council Real Communities Initiative

Executive Director Webb introduced Eric Jacobson, Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). Jacobson provided a presentation on the Georgia DD Council’s Real Communities Initiative. He emphasized that the initiative is a grass-roots community building effort for people with and without disabilities. He noted that the major issues for people with disabilities such as housing, transportation, education, access to health care, etc., are the same for people without disabilities. Jacobson shared the GCDD year-long development of goals to promote Real Communities and told stories of communities where these values are being promoted. He noted that the components of a Real Community include establishment of a core group that meets and identifies what the group wants to improve. A community builder for each community receives a stipend to coordinate the activities of the group. He explained that the GCDD has supported the Real Communities activities for two years and has learned that it is difficult to shift from individual to collective actions but they continue to work toward the goals. Council members discussed these projects with Jacobson and agreed to continue to discuss in committee meetings how the ideas can be applied in Texas.

6. Grant Project Highlights

TCDD Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey provided highlights of the Paso del Norte Expansion of Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training. This project is in the first year of a two year project and has recruited graduates of the Leadership Academy for Families to become mentors, has held 13 training sessions and coordinated mentor activities such as visiting schools, doctors’ offices and meetings with other parents to promote the Leadership Academy.

Hosey also provided brief highlights of the Community Healthcore Customized Self-Employment project. This project is in its fifth and final year. She then introduced the Program Director and Project Manager from Community Healthcore to offer an overview of the project.

7. Community Healthcore Employment Project

Lee Brown and LaShonda Jackson of Community Healthcore provided a summary of Community Healthcore’s customized self-employment project and shared stories of individuals who have been assisted through the project. Over 150 individuals have been trained on the process for self-employment and 38 businesses have been launched with funding from the project. The program is certified through DARS as a new supported self-employment model.


Council Chair Durheim adjourned the Committee of the Whole at 1:29 PM.

Roger A. Webb Date, Secretary to the Council