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Minutes — Executive Committee Meeting, February 2012

2012 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • John C. Morris, Council Vice-Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Dana Perry
  • Joe Rivas

Committee Members Absent

  • Brenda Coleman-Beattie, Council Chair

Council Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez

Guests Present

  • Amanda Dunnavant
  • Leteshia Finely
  • Rachel Nava
  • Craig Spradling
  • Thelma Scott

Staff Present

  • Roger Webb, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Wendy Jones
  • Sonya Hosey
  • Melissa Loe
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Koren Vogel

Call to Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Wednesday, February 8, 2012, in the Limestone 2 Room at the Marriott Austin South, 4415 South IH-35, Austin, TX 78745. Council Vice-Chair John C. Morris called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

1. Introductions

Committee members, staff and guests were introduced. Dana Perry attended as Vice-Chair of the Project Development Committee. It was noted that Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie will not be in attendance as she has submitted her resignation to the Governor’s office.

2. Public Comments

The Committee received public comments from Thelma Scott of the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation who spoke of the organization’s work with students with disabilities and noted that requests for their services have increased following a recent news story. Rachel Nava spoke of her non-profit organization, Different Abilities Inc., which provides day habilitation services and has offered office space to the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation.

Craig Spradling spoke to the Committee about his organization, Parking Mobility, that has developed smart phone technology to report abuse of parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities. Parking Mobility works with local governments to provide information on parking violations through trained volunteers. Volunteers are able to follow the tickets through the court system and designate a charity to receive a portion of the fines from the tickets. Spradling requested funding assistance for his organization.

3. Consideration of Minutes

The committee reviewed the minutes of the November 2, 2011, Committee meeting. No revisions were offered.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 2, 2011, Executive Committee meeting as presented.

MADE BY: Hunter Adkins

SECOND: Dana Perry

The motion passed unanimously.

4. Chair’s Report

Acting Chair Morris reviewed opportunities for Council Members to attend upcoming national conferences. Council Member Kris (Bissmeyer) Clark and Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos are attending the Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., April 23–25, 2012. The ADD Technical Assistance Institute will be held in Arlington, VA, June 14–15, 2012. Morris, who is on the advisory committee and is on the NACDD Board of Directors, plans to attend and Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry will likely attend. The NACDD Fall Conference will be held in Los Angeles, October 14–16, 2012. Morris encouraged the Committee to consider budgeting for 2–3 Council Members and 2–3 staff to attend this conference. Members who are interested in attending were asked to contact Morris or Executive Director Webb.

5. Executive Director’s Report

Webb began his report with thanks to Morris for serving as Acting Chair. Council Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie has tendered her resignation to the Governor and has asked to step aside as Chair at this time. Morris indicated that Coleman-Beattie’s resignation creates the third vacancy on the Council and noted that Mary Durheim continues to serve in a “holdover” capacity following the expiration of her term. The Governor’s appointments office hopes to have appointments confirmed in the near future.

Executive Director Webb reminded members that Sonya Hosey was selected as Grants Management Director beginning December 1, 2011. This creates a vacancy for a Grants Management Specialist which will be posted shortly. Jessica Ramos was selected as the Public Policy Director and started with TCDD on January 2, 2012. The Web Administrator position, previously filled by Rosalinda Lopez, was recently posted. Webb and Operations Director Martha Cantu reorganized some of the functions previously carried out by Ms. Lopez, with many of the remaining web support functions performed by a contracted temporary employee. Staff have now finalized the reorganization and including some new activities related to web support skills in the web administrator position which was then posted with Communications Coordinator Melissa Loe as the hiring supervisor.

Stipends grants were approved during the past quarter for the following applicants:

  • Partners Resource Network was awarded $5,998 for the Statewide Parent Leadership Conference December 2–3, 2011, in Austin.
  • The Arc of Texas was awarded $6,000 for the Inclusion Works Conference on February 1–4, 2012 in Austin.
  • Attention Deficit Disorders Association — Southern Region was awarded $6,000 for the 24th Annual ADDA-SR Conference February 17–18, 2012, in Houston.
  • Texas A&M University was awarded $6,000 for the Texas Transition Conference February 7–9, 2012 in Austin Southwest Chapter Autism Society of America was awarded $1,200 for the Techniques for Systematic Teaching and Reducing Behavior Challenges in Students with ASD conference March 30, 2012 in El Paso.

Webb next discussed the status of federal appropriations for the Council and noted that FY 2012 funding for Councils included a 0.23% reduction from FY 2011 funding with a final award for TCDD of $5,083,999. At the request of NACDD, staff developed a fact sheet highlighting accomplishments during FY 2011 that will be used in the advocacy efforts on behalf of the DD Councils.

The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) is hosting regional self advocacy summits focused on supporting and sustaining self advocacy efforts in each state. Texas is included in the Chicago regional summit April 19–20, 2012. ADD will provide travel assistance for 4–5 self advocates to attend the summit. The Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS) has agreed to sponsor two self advocates, and Acting Chair Morris and Webb agreed that TCDD will support 3–4 additional self advocates. Morris also asked Webb to represent TCDD as a member of the Texas team.

Webb indicated that staff have reviewed options for the public input event planned in conjunction with May 2012 Council meeting in Dallas with Acting Chair Morris and have decided that hosting that event at a separate location is not practical. Members agreed with overall plans for the event including the proposal to begin at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, following the Executive Committee meeting.

Webb and Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry discussed the peer review process for DD Council State Plans for FY 2012–2016. Review comments for TCDD were non-substantive and can be addressed in revisions submitted for FY 2013. A written summary of the review comments was provided for members.

Committee members requested additional information during the November 2011 Committee meeting concerning public policy collaboration outcomes of the Texas Parent to Parent project. Grants Specialist Wendy Jones indicated that the project expects to train more advocates than originally reported and that legislators who have been “adopted” know they are being contacted frequently by certain individuals.

6. Grant Activities Report

Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey reviewed the Independent Audit Status report and noted that 10 audits were reviewed this quarter with no concerns noted. Hosey also reviewed the Grants Monitoring Exceptions report and indicated that one on-site review was conducted this quarter and the one concern identified has been resolved. She noted that more on-site reviews will be conducted during the next quarter since staff efforts this quarter were focused on beginning new projects approved during the November meeting.

7. Appeal of Funding Decision — Texas Impact Education Fund

Webb reviewed an appeal from the Texas Impact Education Fund (TIEF) for two proposals which were not approved for funding during the November 2011 Executive Committee meeting for Inclusive Faith-Based Communities Symposium projects. He reminded members of the review process and indicated that four other proposals were approved for grant funds. The independent review panel recommended that the two proposals from TIEF were not fundable. Members did not find any discrepancies in the review process and did not feel that the previous decision should be overturned.

MOTION: To uphold the Executive Committee decision from November 2011 to not award funding to the Texas Impact Education Fund for either proposal for Inclusive Faith-Based Symposium projects.

MADE BY: Dana Perry

SECOND: Hunter Adkins

The motion passed unanimously.

8. Continuation Grants Awards

Grants Management Specialist Cynthia Ellison reviewed the Executive Summary for continuation funding for the Safeplace Meaningful Relationships project. (Attachment 1 — PDF, 50KB, 2 pages) Ellison noted that the grantee is meeting its goals and staff do not have any concerns.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $117,022 to SafePlace for year two of a three year Meaningful Relationships project.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Dana Perry

The motion passed unanimously.

Grants Specialist Jones reviewed the Executive Summary for continuation funding for the Arc of San Angelo Alternatives to Guardianship: Volunteer-Supported Decision-Making Advocate project. (Attachment 2 — PDF, 50KB, 2 pages) Jones noted that the grantee has encountered several obstacles and difficulties but has worked hard to overcome those issues. Staff recommend approval of continuation funding for the project. Cordry reminded members that this project is in partnership with the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS). TCDD advocated for the Texas Legislature to institute changes regarding guardianship issues. Legislation was passed directing DADS to fund up to three pilot demonstrations sites, but DADS did not receive funding for those pilots. Morris asked for more on-site monitoring of this grantee to make certain that it stays on target.

MOTION: To approve funding of up to $73,941 to the Arc of San Angelo for year two of a three year Alternatives to Guardianship project.

MADE BY: John Morris

SECOND: Dana Perry

The motion passed unanimously.

9. TCDD Quarterly Financial Report

Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the TCDD Quarterly Financial Report. It reflects a summary of funds from FY 2010 — FY 2013. Cantu noted the large negative balance for FY 2012 and explained that that over $700,000 is remaining in unspent grant funds from FY 2011 and over $200,000 will be available from FY 11 operating expenses that will be transferred for grants. In addition, TCDD’s experience is that some current grant projects will not spend the full amount available in their grant awards. This negative balance will thus even out by the end of the fiscal year. Cantu also explained that the negative variance in benefits for FY 2011 of $15,373 is the result of accrued vacation time paid to two employees who retired during the year. Those amounts were not anticipated in the original budget. She expects negative variances for FY 2012 to even out as the year progresses and expects additional funds to available from salaries and benefits for FY 2012 because turnover and vacancies of four TCDD staff. Any available funds will become available for grant projects. Committee members did not express any concerns regarding the financial reports.

10. Review of TCDD Rules

Executive Director Webb reviewed requirements in state law for state agencies to review Rules adopted by the agency every four years. TCDD Rules need to be reviewed during 2012. During this review process, agencies may re-adopt rules with no changes, amend rules when appropriate, or allow rules to expire when no longer needed. Webb indicated that the Council will need to approve any proposed amendments during May meetings so that proposed amendments can be posted for a 30-day comment period. The Executive Committee can review any comments received at the August meeting and recommend final adoption to the Council with any further revisions as appropriate. Webb reviewed preliminary suggestions for some amendments and asked members to provide input if other changes are desired.

11. Conflict of Interest Disclosures

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

12. Executive Session: Annual Evaluation of Executive Director

Vice-Chair Morris announced that the Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities would meet in closed section (PDF, 30KB, 1 page) pursuant to Section 551.74 of Government Code related to personnel matters. A quorum of the Committee is present. The time was 5:09 PM on February 8, 2012. At 5:18 PM on February 8, 2012, the Executive Committee reconvened in open session. Vice- Chair Morris announced that the Committee did not take any action during its closed meeting discussion on personnel matters.


Vice-Chair Morris adjourned the Executive Committee meeting at 5:20 PM.

Roger A. Webb, Secretary to the Council