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Minutes – Executive Committee Meeting, May 2012

2012 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Joe Rivas
  • Susan Vardell

Committee Members Absent

  • John C. Morris, Council Vice-Chair

Council Members Present

  • Andrew Crim
  • Gladys Cortez

Guests Present

  • Leteshia Finley
  • Eric Jacobson, GA DDC
  • Marisa Quist

Staff Present

  • Roger Webb, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Sonya Hosey
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Koren Vogel

Call to Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in the Majestic 5 Room at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, 400 Olive Street, Dallas, TX 75201. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 2:38 PM.

1. Introductions

Committee and Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

2. Public Comments

No public comments were offered to the Committee.

3. Consideration of Minutes

The committee reviewed the minutes of the February 8, 2012, Committee meeting. No revisions were offered.

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the February 8, 2012, Executive Committee meeting as presented.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Hunter Adkins

The motion passed unanimously.

4. Chair’s Report

Chair Durheim expressed her surprise and pleasure at being designated by the Governor as TCDD Chair. The Governor also appointed Scott McAvoy of Cedar Park to replace Deneesa Rasmussen. Scott is appointed as a “local, non-government agency” representative and is currently Vice-President of Operations at Marbridge Foundation, a private, residential facility in south Austin for people with significant disabilities. David Taylor of El Paso was appointed to fill the position previously occupied by Rene Requenez. David is appointed as a parent and has a son with autism. The Texas Education Agency recently appointed Barbara Kaatz as alternate representative. All three members attended orientation and are eligible to vote on all Council business.

Chair Durheim reviewed Committee assignments and noted that the two new members were asked to visit each Committee before requesting a Committee appointment. Durheim indicated she will ask Council approval of Gladys Cortez as a member of the Project Development Committee. Former Chair Brenda Coleman-Beattie, who has resigned and will likely not attend future meetings, is not assigned to a Committee. Durheim’s designation as Council Chair creates a vacancy on the Audit Committee. Durheim asked for members who are interested in serving on the Audit Committee to contact her or Executive Director Roger Webb.

Durheim reviewed excused absences for this meeting which include John Morris, Kristine Clark, Brenda Coleman-Beattie, Mateo Delgado, Mike Benz/Amy Sharp (Texas A&M Center for Development and Disability), Sara Kendall (DARS), Penny Seay (Center for Disability Studies-UT), and Mary Faithful, (Disability Rights Texas).

Durheim invited Council Member Gladys Cortez to discuss the press event in McAllen on April 3, 2012 announcing the beginning of TCDD grant Project Hire. The event was attended by well over 100 people including state Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Aaron Pena, local university and college administrators, mayors and others. She commented on the excitement of the group and the appreciation that was expressed for the opportunities this project brings to the Rio Grande Valley. The project is administered by the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) in conjunction with the University of Texas – Pan American and South Plains Junior College to provide “wrap around” services to students with disabilities.

Durheim discussed upcoming opportunities for travel to out-of state conferences. Council members John Morris and David Taylor and staff members Joanna Cordry and Cassie Fisher will attend the ADD Technical Assistance Institute in Washington, D.C., in June. The next opportunity will be the NACDD Fall Conference in Los Angeles in October. Due to his commitments to the NACDD Board, Morris will also attend this conference. Other staff and members will be determined once the FY 2013 budget has been approved.

5. Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director Webb reported that Annette Berksan was selected as Web Administrator for TCDD beginning April 1. Berksan worked in this position as a contract employee for approximately 8 months before the re-organized position was posted. Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey is reviewing applications for the Senior Grants Management Specialist position and plans to conduct interviews soon.

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

  • Texas Parent to Parent for up to $6,000 for the 8th Annual Texas Parent to Parent Conference on June 29-30, 2012, in San Marcos.
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities — Texas Chapter for up to $6,000 for the 2012 AAIDD-Tx Convention on July 24–27, 2012, in Corpus Christi.

Webb discussed federal appropriations for FY 2013 noting that it is unknown when the budget will be approved by Congress. Some estimates are for level funding for domestic, discretionary programs while others estimate cuts of up to 20%. Staff will base the proposed FY 13 Operating Expense budget on level funding knowing that adjustments can be made if funding is at a lower level. Webb also noted that TCDD’s federal authority, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), now the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), has been “re-aligned” within the Health and Human Services. ADD was moved out of the Administration on Children and Families to a newly created Administration on Community Living along with the Administration on Aging. This should not affect state DD Council operations but creates opportunities at the federal level for AIDD to align on policy issues with the Administration on Aging and focus on community living options.

Webb noted that representatives of the Texas DD Network Partners (TCDD, Disability Rights Texas, Center for Disability Studies at UT, and Texas A&M Center for Disability and Development) recently met with the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) Commissioner Chris Traylor and Assistant Commissioners Chris Adams and Gary Jessee on DADS plans to down-size the Austin State Supported Living Center. The DD Network Partners offered their support and partnership in this effort and will have further discussions as the DADS plan develops. Webb also discussed examples from other states that captured stories of individuals and their families as they transitioned from institutions to community settings. TCDD may want to consider this opportunity to collect those stories in Texas. He also noted an opportunity for training providers on the complex medical needs of some individuals.

Webb discussed current activities of the Disability Policy Consortium which has continued for the past year without TCDD funding. Members continue to meet and engage in advocacy planning and activities but there are some actions that will require funding such as the subscription to a legislative tracking service. TCDD is exploring options in partnership with Disability Rights Texas to offer some support for this service and allow smaller organizations to have access at a minimal cost.

Webb provided a summary of the recent ADD Self-Advocacy Summit in Chicago. The Texas team discussed various activities to strengthen self-advocate organizations and work toward closure of at least one state supported living center. Webb and Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities Executive Director Eric Jacobson discussed the challenges in supporting self-advocate organizations.

6. Grant Activities Report

Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey reviewed the Independent Audit Status Report. No concerns were noted. Hosey also reviewed the Grants Monitoring Exceptions Report which summarizes concerns noted during staff on-site visits of TCDD grantees. A status of “pending” on that report indicates that some documents were still needed when the report was printed but all will show as complete next quarter. An additional on-site visit was conducted with the Arc of San Angelo as requested by the Executive Committee for additional monitoring of the Alternatives to Guardianship project. Evaluations, accomplishments and barriers were discussed and no concerns were noted. Webb noted that the Arc of the Gulf Coast withdrew from their award for a Leadership and Advocacy Skills Training Grant. This organization has had some challenges recently, and the Board no longer felt the organization could carry out the project in a successful manner. This project was approved for up to $75,000/year for up to three years. Those funds will be available for future projects.

7. TCDD State Plan Technical Revisions

Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry discussed the ADD peer review process of the five-year State Plan. She noted that TCDD received comments on its Plan in January including recommendations to strengthen the plan but nothing that would require amendments at this time. Cordry reviewed technical revisions developed in response to those comments.

8. Consideration of New Grant Award

Cordry reviewed the RFP for a project to support the Gulf Coast of Texas African American Family Support Conference. Only one application was received from organizations who were involved with the first conference as required by the RFP. A review panel of individuals who have been involved with the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference found some technical issues with the application but felt the applicant can be successful. Funding for the project is authorized at up to $35,000 for years one and two and $15,000 for year three.

MOTION: To approved funding to Helpful Interventions for support for the Gulf Coast of Texas African American Family Support Conference for up to $35,000 for years one and two and up to $15,000 for year three.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Joe Rivas

Grants Director Hosey noted that Austin Travis County Integral Care will continue to provide support to the project and that Helpful Interventions staff will attend the central Texas conference. Hosey was not involved with the application review due to her involvement with the first conference and previous grantee.

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 1 — PDF, 150KB, 4 pages)

9. Continuation Grant Awards

Grants Director Hosey reviewed six projects that are eligible for another year of funding. The Community Healthcore customized self-employment project is eligible for three months of funding to conclude that project. No concerns were noted for this project.

MOTION: To approve continuation funding of up to $37,635 to Community Healthcore for the final three months of the customized self-employment project.

MADE BY: Joe Rivas

SECOND: Hunter Adkins

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 2 — PDF, 100KB, 2 pages)

The Positive Behavior Intervention Support — Head Start project at Region 17 Education Service Center (ESC) in Lubbock is eligible for up to $120,000 for the fifth and final year of the project. The project has developed curriculum for Head Start programs to decrease the number of children expelled from early childhood programs, to provide behavior intervention skills, and decrease staff turnover rates. It has been a very successful project that has improved childcare policies and programs.

MOTION: To approve continuation funding of up to $120,000 to Region 17 ESC for the fifth and final year of the Positive Behavior Support — Head Start project.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Joe Rivas

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 3 — PDF, 70KB, 2 pages)

The Positive Behavior Intervention Support — Disproportionate Impact at Region 17 ESC is eligible for up to $115,000 for the fifth and final year of the project. Hosey noted that this project has had district-wide impact in reducing the rate of disciplinary action for students with disabilities.

MOTION: To approve continuation funding of up to $115,000 to Region 17 ESC for the fifth and final year of the Positive Behavior Support — Disproportionate Impact project.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Hunter Adkins

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 4 — PDF, 75KB, 2 pages) Durheim suggested staff from Region 17 ESC present a report to the OSEP Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports which is funded by the US Department of Education.

The Texas A&M University Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference project is eligible for continuation funding of up to $150,000 for the fifth and final year. No concerns were noted for this project.

MOTION: To approve continuation funding of up to $150,000 to Texas A&M University for the fifth and final year of the Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference project.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Joe Rivas

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 5 — PDF, 75KB, 2 pages)

The Creative Industries Self-Employment project of VSA Texas Artworks is eligible for up to $25,000 for the final two months of the project. Hosey noted that the project has expanded its array of art projects and will provide training opportunities in media resources to artists who participate in the project. The project will not expand at the conclusion of funding but will continue to serve artists who are participating, and the established art gallery will remain open.

MOTION: To approve continuation funding of up to $25,000 to VSA Texas Artworks for the final two months of the Creative Industries Self-Employment project.

MADE BY: Joe Rivas

SECOND: Hunter Adkins

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 6 — PDF, 75KB, 2 pages)

10. Proposed Amendments to TCDD Rules

Executive Director Webb reminded Committee members that state agencies are required to review all Rules every four years. Proposed amendments and Rules proposed for re-adoption or deletion must be posted in the Texas Register for a 30 day comment period. Comments must be considered before the Agency considers final Rules for adoption. Staff propose two amendments to TCDD Rules in Chapter 876: General Provisions. The first adds language from the federal DD Act to clarify the purpose of the agency. The second adds a clarifying verb which was omitted from the last version. One amendment is proposed to Chapter 877: Grant Awards to clarify language about reviewing unsolicited ideas and proposals.

MOTION: To recommend Council approval to post the proposed amendments to TCDD Rules for public comment.

MADE BY: Susan Vardell

SECOND: Joe Rivas

The motion passed unanimously. (Attachment 7 — PDF, 100KB, 9 pages)

11. TCDD Quarterly Financial Report

TCDD Operations Director Martha Cantu presented the TCDD Quarterly Financial Report. Cantu reviewed the operating expense budget and noted a negative variance in professional services due to the extension of the Web Administrator contract. However, that is offset by a positive variance to staff salaries because this position was vacant. Cantu commented that TCDD will likely not spend 100% of the current operating expense budget and any remainder will transfer to funds available for grant projects.

Cantu and Webb also discussed out-of-state travel budget and expenses for Council member attendants. Members agreed that those expenses should not impact who is approved to travel but noted that TCDD needs to be respectful of the current fiscal climate and travel restrictions for state agencies.

Cantu reviewed the Grants & Contracts Expense Projections and noted that as grant projects end, funding will become available for new projects. The Project Development Committee will consider new projects to implement State Plan activities and is encouraged to move forward with those in an expedited manner whenever possible.

Cantu also reviewed the quarterly Administrative and Expense Budget summary and noted that current year expenses are being spent from the previous year’s funds to allow those funds to be fully expended. TCDD has two years to obligate funds and three years to spend but it would be a risk to obligate the prior fiscal year funds to new grant projects that do not have a stable spending pattern. Cantu noted that by FY 2013, the increased number of grant projects should allow operating expenses to be funded by that current fiscal year’s funds.

Cantu reviewed a draft revised format to report obligations and expenditure of grant funds. This format was suggested by TCDD Internal Auditor Jaye Stepp to report current grants, budget periods, amounts authorized by the RFP, amount of actual grant award, current expenditures, and remaining balance under each award. Committee members liked the format of the report and agreed it would be helpful at future meetings.

12. Conference Co-Sponsorships

Webb reviewed an Executive Summary for the Promotion of Self-Advocacy at Texas Conferences which will be discussed by the Project Development Committee. That executive summary has three parts: 1) support self-advocates as speakers; 2) sponsorship of plenary speakers; 3) sponsorship of concurrent sessions speakers or “tracks”. Webb further discussed a request from Community Options to assist with their national conference in San Antonio. He acknowledged that he did not know specifics of what that would entail but wanted to know the Committee’s desire to explore this request. The Committee agreed that the subject has merit and supported Webb exploring this request further.

13. Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Committee members reviewed the member and staff conflict of interest disclosure report and found no concerns.


Chair Durheim adjourned the Executive Committee at 5:33 PM.

Roger A. Webb, Secretary to the Council