Board of Publications Meeting Minutes, January 6, 2014

Members present:  chair Denise Colley, Ron Brooks, Marcia Dresser, Doug Powell, Richard Rueda; ex officio members: Berl Colley, Bob Hachey, Kim Charleson;  ACB staff/contractors Sharon Lovering, Annette Carter.
Members absent:  Ron Milliman and Larry Turnbull.
 
Chair Denise Colley called the meeting to order at 9:05 PM EST.  Doug moved and Marcia seconded adoption of the agenda as amended to add discussion on our BOP survey. The motion passed.  Doug moved and Denise seconded a motion to approve the December 3, 2014 meeting minutes; motion carried.

Editor's Report:

Sharon has been working on putting together the February issue of the E-Forum.  She is still waiting to get the brf files from Clovernook.  Still working on the affiliate membership lists. She and Kim are working on weeding out company and foreign subscribers currently receiving the ACB Braille Forum at no cost and moving those interested over to paid subscriptions, as well as sending out subscriber invoices.

Internet Oversight Committee: 

The Best Practices document is still being reviewed and edited.  Bob needs to connect with Ron Brooks to get language for adding a section on Due Process Procedures.  Traffic on the acb-l list has become quite heavy which may result in suspensions for going over the daily posting limit.
 

Public Relations Committee: 

Ron Milliman was absent from the call but a written report was submitted and distributed to BOP committee.  Doug gave a brief summary for those who had not yet had the opportunity to review it.
 

Website Task Force: 

We had the operating system upgrade on Dec. 27.  There hasn’t been too much progress on updates to the website due to the holidays.  Working on developing a shopping cart will probably be the next step.  Lane is working with Implex on refining the AMMS database.  A two week block of time is being set aside between Feb. 15 and Feb. 28 for Anette to give top priority to rolling over the current acb.org site to the new site under drupel.  A lot of the infrastructure is in place, and it is believed that blocking off a short period of time to do this transition is far more efficient than whittling at it a bit at a time.  Committee chairs will be notified that this will be occurring and to plan their work accordingly.  Once the roll-over of the website has been completed the process of review and testing will need to take place.  One of the discussions at the next Website Taskforce meeting will be mapping who the testers will be, to include the BOP.
 

Oral History Project: 

No interviews were done over the holidays.  Berl does have four possible interviews to set up during the next month.
 

ACB Leadership Training: 

No new updates.  The December call was cancelled.  The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 16.
 

Social Networking: 

As of the time of this meeting we have 572 followers on Twitter.  This is up from 440 followers at convention time.  As of the afternoon of this meeting the facebook page had 280 likes.  Will Burley has joined the Facebook team and is going to be a great addition.  The Facebook team will be looking for one more team member once Will has settled in and they know what skills are still needed.
 
Doug moved and Marcia seconded a motion to accept the editor’s report and committee reports as presented.  Motion carried.
 

BOP Editorial Policy Manual Update: 

Review and updating of the policy manual is still a work in progress.  Doug reported that he and Denise will be having dialog with Kim and Melanie to better map out and clarify the bid solicitation and contract development process for the ACB Braille Forum.  The issue of setting advertising rates in the convention newspaper is also an issue the subcommittee working on updating the Editorial Policy Manual has been trying to address.  Kim said she is looking at how convention sponsors and advertising rates works for ACB radio as a parallel to this situation and asked if all of this should really be under the auspices of the convention committee.  Carla explained how all convention advertising has worked before Margarine took this on and how it is working now.  In the past the BOP would approve the advertising rates in the convention program.  When thinking about advertising rates it is not only what you are actually going to charge, but, also, what is the perceived value in that sponsorship as the premium for large sponsorships.  The BOP has also been consulted on the word count size of the newspaper adds.  It was agreed that, Instead of putting actual advertisement numbers in the manual, it would make more sense to put in something that addresses the process used for determining those rates.  Doug asked about when advertising rates are published and Carla said that the rates that the BOP has approved are the rates published in the convention program, which is usually put together in late May, early June.  The BOP has not been involved in setting advertising rates for display ads and things like that.  The information to purchase a newspaper ad ahead of time is included in the advertising material that goes out long before convention.  Carla said that Janet Dickleman, as convention chair should be the person the BOP should work with to craft the process language for the manual.
 

Budget Update: 

Denise provided a brief overview of the changes made by the ACB budget committee and ACB Board in the 2014 budget submitted by the BOP.  In an effort to manage continuing budget cuts in all facets of ACB, the Board has decreased the size of the ACB Braille Forum from 56 pages back down to 48 pages and continuing to produce 6 hard copy issues.  Increased vendor costs figures into this as well as some fairly significant discrepancies discovered in subscriber counts provided to us to use when calculating our budget numbers, and numbers registered in the AMMS database.  Apparently, there are still a lot of foreign subscribers who are not members, receiving the Forum who need to be removed and provided other options such as subscribing to the email version or paying the subscription fee that we have for nonmembers.  There are also several paid subscribers who have not yet been invoiced for 2014.  A previous decision of the BOP had been to remove foreign subscribers from the mailing list unless they wished to pay the subscription fee.  In cleaning up our current mailing list we need to be careful, however, to not remove those organizations/individuals we maintain close working relationships with. 
 
Therefore, subscriber numbers in the budget adopted by the Board more closely reflect what is in the AMMS system.  Once we have cleaned up our subscriber mailing lists adjustments will be made to the BOP part of the 2014 ACB budget.
 
We are also looking at making further adjustments to our vendor costs.  Clovernook has been contacted to explore their willingness to produce one more issue, being the March issue, at the current rate, which they agreed to do.  Some good negotiating on the part of our president has resulted in National Braille press bringing their production costs down to a level that we can at least work with.  By lowering the actual number of braille copies per issue and removing the ink printing they were doing on the front and back covers they were able to commit to a price of $3.34 per copy.  A letter of agreement will be drawn up based on that rate and identify the time period that will be covered.  This agreement will be drawn up to begin with the May 2014 issue.
 
We also took another look at the audio recording costs.  The Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library brought a per issue proposal to us at a much decreased rate.  The bid we had received from Potomac Talking Books included a fee of $875 per issue for doing the recording and hosting the audio stream on their site.  Perkins is giving us a cost of $125 per 48 page issue for audio production.  This breaks out to be $50 per hour for studio boost time and $75 of editing and mastering time to finalize an issue.  These are a fairly standard rate they would give to anyone, so does not constitute any kind of deal that is being given to ACB because Kim is president.  The master would then be submitted to Potomac Talking Books to handle the duplicating and mailing, since they have the facilities and infrastructure to make the mass number of copies needed.  Review and discussion regarding any potential conflict of interest was held with the ACB Board, and at their December 19, 2014 board meeting a motion was adopted that no conflict of interest exists by having the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library Studio handle recording of the ACB Braille Forum, despite the fact that President Charlson is an employee of the Perkins School for the Blind as Director of the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library.
 
Kim said that the same thing has been done with Perkins to ensure that they are also clear that this arrangement is a studio standard agreement, and the same documentation is on file with them.  It was pointed out, for future reference that since the BOP doesn’t have the authority to issue the contracts, then we don’t really have the responsibility for determining conflict of interest, and this is more the pervue of the Board.  We will be working with Anette and Larry to secure space on either the ACB or ACB Radio websites to post the audio files and making them available for podcasting and to radio reading services so they can grab, download and broadcast the Forum as well as ACB Reports.
 
We are still needing to identify someone with the expertise to take the downloadable E-Forum files from the website and create an mp3 file
using good quality digital speech.
 
As previously discussed, establishment of a more formalized process for securing and reviewing vendor bids for Forum production and contract negotiation needs to be put in place, and it should not be part of the scope of work of the editor.  This whole process is more the responsibility of the executive director with in-put from the BOP as needed.  Denise, Doug, Kim and Melanie will be meeting to put a more formalized process in place around which policy language will be drafted.  Ron pointed out that typically committees don’t conduct procurements, but serve more as technical advisors.  Procurement is really a staff function driven by Board direction.  If it is the role of the Board to execute contracts, and the Board delegates the process of soliciting, evaluating and recommending contractors, then it needs to be very clear that the Board has delegated those roles to the BOP and that the BOP is acting under the direction and delegation of the Board or the executive director.
 
There was some initial discussion on the ACB Braille Forum/EForum survey process.  The survey will be posted on the ACB website which will allow us to ensure it is fully accessible and we can get all the input and raw data.  If that is not a possibility we can post it on a free survey site.  The link to the survey needs to be advertised everywhere and we need to give people plenty of time to complete it.  For those who cannot complete it on line, we need to make sure it can be printed off and mailed in, and that it is available in braille upon request.  To cut down on mailing costs we can send it to all state and special interest affiliates and encourage them to distribute it to their members.  Because we have a budget and a plan in place for this year we don’t need to rush things and can give the survey the needed marketing and completion time to get lots of responses.
 
In terms of the online survey Kim suggested that we get the partners we’ve been working with at Google to get us a Google docs survey account so that we can set one up.  What is good about the Google docs survey instrument is that it can be very accessible and they have great analytics.  The more of the surveys we can get entered on line, including those that we help to fill out or entered from braille copies, the greater degree of information we can get analyzed for us through Googles analytics process, instead of having to do our own tabulating.  We also need to see what kind of analytic capacity we can get from our own website in terms of survey data and analyzing numbers and percentages.  We need to make sure that people not only see the entire survey process as being free of bias and that it is, in fact free of bias.  Having the survey on Google docs might help in that regard.
 
Ron agreed to work this process up as a work plan and attach an actual calendar or project schedule to it.  As the committee is reviewing the survey questions we can also be reviewing the  project schedule.
 
Submission of the article about our three BOP awards was discussed.  Information about the three awards and eligibility criteria will be posted on all ACB email lists, on the website, and on facebook and twitter in February and an article will appear in the March ACB Braille Forum.
 
A question was raised about how someone actually gets the EForum if they are not already subscribed to the ACB Braille Forum email list.  If we really want the two magazines to be separate then they really need to have separate email subscription lists.  We also need to explore in more depth an easier process for people to receive the EForum.  Everyone was in agreement that the current process is too confusing.  It was also suggested that an additional field needs to be added to the AMMS database that allows people to check whether or not they wish to receive the EForum. 

Ron moved and Marcia seconded a motion that the meeting be adjourned.  The motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.
 
Respectfully Submitted
Denise Colley on behalf of Marcia Dresser

This web page was last updated March 3, 2014.