February 17, 2002, Board Meeting Minutes

AMERICAN COUNCIL OF THE BLIND
Mid-Year Board Meeting
Houston, Texas

The meeting was called to order by President Chris Gray in Houston, Texas at the Adams Mark Hotel Saturday, February 17, 2002 at 1:30pm.

Roll call was taken by the secretary. All officers and directors were present. Mr. Charles Crawford, Mr. Jim Olsen, Ms. Penny Reeder, Ms. Melanie Brunson, and Ms. Terry Pacheco from the National Office as well as a number of guests were also in the room.

Motion 1: Mr. Jerry Annunzio moved the approval of the agenda. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 2: Mr. Paul Edwards moved acceptance of the September 22-23, 2001 board meeting minutes.

Mr. Sanford Alexander cited several discrepancies in the minutes.

Motion 3: Mr. Brian Charlson moved to table adoption of minutes from the September board meeting until the next board meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 4: Mr. Sanford Alexander moved to approve November 6, 2001 minutes. The motion carried.

Motion 5: Mr. Mitch Pomerantz moved the approval of November 20, 2001 minutes. Mr. Steve Speicher was not present at the meeting, therefore he abstained from voting. The motion carried.

The next item on the agenda was the President’s report. President Gray talked about Fun Flow, a fundraising company operated by Mr. Dodge Fielding.

President Gray visited with Ms. Joanne Wilson and Mr. Marc Maurer. The meeting with Mr. Maurer was found unproductive and President Gray has no intention of meeting with Mr. Maurer again. Mr. Gray mentioned that Ms. Wilson is scheduled to speak at the ACB convention in July 2002.

President Gray reported that ACB.org is working well with the new server.

Motion 6: Mr. Paul Edwards moved acceptance of the president’s report. The motion passed unanimously.

President Gray announced that the task force on education has been formed. A list of members has not been sent out.

President Gray referred to the presentation on Smart Media and the internet radio he had made during the presidents’ meeting on February 16. The radio connects to the internet and provides access to many countries and many types of music. It is equipped with Deck Talk for accessible audible programming.

Motion 7: Mr. Brian Charlson moved that the board exit the general meeting and move into executive session for the purpose of discussing the aspects of Smart Media and also to discuss budget information.

President Gray called the executive session to order at 2:25pm and declared it closed at 4:15pm.

Motion from executive session: Mr. Paul Edwards moved that this board authorize the executive committee to act as a screening entity for the draft contract between ACB and Smart Media and to receive a report from a contract lawyer and a lawyer expert in non-profit tax law so as to bring the full board, if appropriate, a final draft for potential adoption.

Mr. Charlson, as part of the budget committee, expressed some concern. The motion passed with one dissenting vote from Mr. Charlson.

Item 8: Ms. Cynthia Towers, chair of the convention operations committee, reported about the upcoming convention. Dr. Ed Bradley talked about audible signals at the Briar Park intersection and also airport transportation. We have reserved 600 rooms at the Adams Mark and 200 rooms at the Hilton across the street.

Motion 8: Mr. Brian Charlson moved to adopt convention report. The motion passed unanimously.

President Gray and Mr. Jim Olsen announced that the convention center in Pittsburgh had a collapse of one section of the roof, but it did not affect the one we would be using. At this time no contract has been signed with the convention center even though both hotels have sent signed contracts. We can get out of the hotel contacts if we do so by March 31.

Motion 9: Mr. Paul Edwards moved that the president be authorized to instruct the convention site selection committee to engage in an immediate search for an alternate site, should that be necessary and should a viable contract not be available by March 31. The motion passed unanimously.

Item 17: Guide Dog users task force update, Ms. Debbie Grubb. The committee has received three bids of around $4,700 to take care of the guide dog relief areas from Thursday, June 27 through Saturday, July 6 from 6:30am until 10:00pm. The donation being asked from each guide dog user will be raised from $10 to $15 per person. The Adams Mark staff will clean and maintain the dog relief area. The task force asks that the site selection convention committee be empowered to deal with future hotels and convention centers.

Motion 10: Ms. Debbie Grubb moved that this board empower the convention site selection committee to work with hotels and convention centers and professional guide dog people to make sure the guide dog relief area is clean and safe and negotiate appropriate funding. The motion carried.

Membership committee report, Ms. Pam Shaw. The membership committee will take on the job of the first timers meetings during the 2002 convention.

The application for individual membership is now available on the ACB web site.

Ms. Shaw touched upon two items: People are asking for leadership training and secondly, there is concern that special interest affiliates who seek membership in a particular state impact state affiliates by taking away dues and members.

Motion 11: Mr. Edwards moved to accept the membership report. The motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Shaw presented an application for charter from the ACB Human Service Professionals. Ms. Shaw said she could confirm 17 paid members but not 25 as required. It was determined the organization needs to present a constitution and check for $3 from each of 25 members at the pre-convention board meeting.

Motion 12: Mr. Edwards moved the board approve the granting of a charter to the existing affiliate with a new name of the organization in July. The motion passed unanimously.

Item 10: Mr. Brian Charlson informed the board about recent happenings surrounding the Maxi-Aid controversy.

Motion 13: Mr. Charlson moved to invoke resolution 99-30 which gives ACB the authority to refuse to do business with any organization who participates in this kind of business practice. Motion carried with one dissenting vote.

Item 11: Treasurer’s report, Ms. Ardis Bazyn. The total receipts were $1,527,588. The total expenditures were $1,261,895 which left a surplus of $265,694. $175,000 went into Board reserves which then left $90,694 including the $28,000 for the resource development committee of which $4,500 has been spent leaving $23,400 in that fund. The amount carried forward is $46,000 and cash of approximately $26,000.

Motion 14: Mr. Edwards moved acceptance of treasurer’s report. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Sandy Sanderson reported that it could be September before the ACB history book is finalized.

Pursuant to motion 3 in the November 20 minutes, the president stated the report from the resource development committee would be distributed to the board in three weeks, which would be March 10.

Item 12: Mr. Jerry Annunzio reported from the Logo committee. Mr. Annunzio received bids from $250 to $3,500 for a new ACB logo. Mr. Annunzio contacted Mr. Jack McDonald who worked with Mr. Annunzio free of charge. Seven different logo designs were submitted. The committee rejected four designs and brought three to the board for approval.

Motion 15: Mr. Charlson moved to adopt the #2 logo in principle. Upon roll call, the number 2 logo received eleven votes and the number one logo received 5 votes.

The #2 logo was chosen with the removal of dot 6 before the Braille letters and to have the print letters bolded.

Motion 16: Mr. Mitch Pomerantz moved the logo committee be dissolved when the logo is completed. The motion passed unanimously.

Item 15: Report from the Executive Director, Mr. Charlie Crawford. Ms. Dalyn Scott has been employed to replace Ms. Anne Fesh in the national office. One issue brought forth is the phone system in the office and that it may need to be replaced with an updated system.

Motion 17: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of Mr. Crawford’s report. The motion passed unanimously.

Ms. Melanie Brunson stated that the Washington Connection is being updated each month. She reported that the priority one resolutions have all been addressed and work had begun on the number two priority resolutions. Several other items were touched upon.

Motion 18: Dr. Bradley moved the acceptance of Ms. Brunson’s report. The motion passed unanimously.

Next Ms. Penny Reeder gave a report as the Braille Form editor. She stated that 12,305 copies of the Braille Forum were sent out in February. Ms. Reeder also explained that the cost of producing the Braille Forum in Braille will increase substantially.

Motion 19: Mr. Pomerantz moved to accept Ms. Reeder’s report. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 20: Mr. Charlson moved that we adjourn and reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am. A voice vote was taken, however, no determination was made by the President, however, he stated he would reconvene the meeting at 8:00am.

President Gray recessed the meeting at 7:15pm.

The ACB Board meeting reconvened at 8:00am on Monday, February 18.

President Gray asked the secretary to take Roll Call. All officers and directors were present as well as several guests.

Mr. Roger Peterson reported from the information access committee. The major thrust of the committee is to gain access to more software. The committee has in mind to work with Microsoft on access issues. They may possibly work with a consultant to compile data. Also, they are still watching Sections 508 and 255 in Congress.

Motion 21: Ms. Dawn Christensen moved to accept the oral report from the Information Access Committee. The motion passed unanimously.

The Budget Committee report was presented by Mr. Crawford, who crafted the budget, as well as Ms. Bazyn, chair of the budget committee.

Mr. Crawford reported the following: Increase in personnel funding for a one-year extension of the pedestrian safety intern. There is a possible grant of $120,000 that would potentially make ACB radio self-sustaining within two years. There are three aspects to the budget: Retain what we had last year; build in the capacity to generate new revenues and the difference in the amount of money seen in spending versus the amount of money seen in revenue will have to be made up through fund raising efforts.

Mr. Olsen reported that after rechecking figures, there would be a deficit of $145,000 if the revenue side of the budget is passed. The total revenues are $1,332,550 and the expenses including capital equipment purchases are $1,477,550, leaving $145,000 negative balance.

Mr. Edwards reported that last year the ACBES was not doing well and a commitment was made to the ACB budget of $525,000. ACBES at its board meeting in December voted to make its contribution $675,000.

Mr. Charlson asked about the fund raising letter that was sent out in late fall. Only $6,293 was received during 2001. The projected amount for next year is $40,000. The committee is recommending two fund raising letters. Mr. Olsen reported that to date close to $9,000 had been received from the “bridge” fund raising letter.

Motion 22: Mr. Charlson moved adoption of the proposed revenue side of the budget in aggregate. The motion passed with two dissenting votes. Mr. Miller and Mr. Speicher voted against the motion.

Motion 23: Mr. Charlson moved to amend budget with the addition of $155,000 from the resource development committee. Roll call vote results: Those voting for were: Mr. Alexander, Ms. Bazyn, Dr. Bradley, Mr. Charlson, Ms. Christensen; Ms. Grubb: Mr. Speicher and Ms. Schmitt. Those voting against were: Mr. Annunzio, Mr. Beatty, Mr. Miller, Mr. Pomerantz, Mr. Sanderson and Ms. Seliger. Mr. Edwards abstained.

Motion 24: Mr. Charlson moved the adoption of the expenditure side of budget in aggregate. The motion carried with three dissenting votes.

Motion 25: Mr. Pomerantz moved to amend the expenditure side of the budget from $5,280 to $10,000 as amended for legal expenses. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 26: Mr. Charlson moved to adopt entire budget. The motion carried with two dissenting votes.

The expected expenditures are: $1,482,270.

Motion 27: Ms. Bazyn moved that when there are contracts other than personnel over $25,000 being negotiated that the budget committee review them initially and again every three years thereafter by the committee.

Motion 28: Mr. Speicher moved to table above the motion until the pre- or post-convention board meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 29: Mr. Olsen moved to retain Price Waterhouse the as auditors of the books. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 30: Mr. Olsen moved filing with the state of Minnesota for the annual charity review and such other jurisdictions as requires specific court action for the purpose of fund raising. The motion passed unanimously.

Following a short break, Ms. M. J. Schmitt presided over the meeting in the absence of President Gray.

Ms. Winifred Downing gave a report from the Board of Publications committee. It was the consensus of the Board of Publications that the editor of the Braille Forum should be a member of any involved with the public face and present on all conference calls, etc. The two appointed members of the BOP will choose the questions for the applicants running for ACB board positions. The questions will appear on the ACB web site and the May Braille Forum will contain detailed information.

Motion 31: Ms. Christensen moved the acceptance of the Board Of Publications report. The motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Charlie Hodge reported from the History Committee. The manuscript is finished except the final chapter. It will be submitted to the publisher by approximately the first of March and that it may be printed in another six months.

Motion 32: Mr. Pomerantz moved acceptance of the history committee report. The motion passed unanimously.

Motion 33: Mr. Edwards moved that Ms. Kathy Megivern, Mr. Otis Stephens and the author of the text in consultation with the President of this organization be given the authority to make such decisions about the publication of the book to expedite its production. The motion carried.

President Gray touched on the issue of advertising on ACB Radio. Mr. Edwards discussed the advertising that is now on Live 365 which ACB has no control over. President Gray stated Jonathan Mosen is doing an outstanding job.

Mr. Edwards stated he has spoken to several radio reading entities and that ACB radio would be willing to set up a special stream so that radio reading services could carry broadcasts in the future. President Gray will ask Mr. Mosen to make this a priority.

Staff roles and responsibilities. Dr. Bradley reported that he had been approached by people who didn’t think it right for ACB staff to campaign or vote at the convention. After some discussion, no action was taken.

Ms. Schmitt expressed concern about the Florida Travel agency. Ms. Seliger will contact Deanna Schnoebelen, who owns Great Escapes Travel and Ms. Bazyn will visit with a friend who is also a travel agent. Mr. Gray will contact Ms. Ruschival to see if she would make the initial contacts on behalf of ACB.

Mr. Edwards strongly suggested that the convention committee, by this time next year, present to the board a bidding procedure for travel agencies.

President Gray expressed his concern about board members leaving meetings early.

Mr. Alexander presented an idea for fund raising. There are over 3,600 counties in the United States that have election officials. He suggests using the voter access handbook as a fund raiser and sell them to the counties. Ms. Brunson will contact the voter commission about the handbook.

Mr. Crawford requested that the luggage tags be made prior to the ACB convention. Mr. Edwards suggested selling them through the pre-registration form.

Mr. Edwards announced that he is now the new chair of ACBES. The ACBES board reorganized and ended the employment of Jim Tickner, who was operations manager. Mr. Michael Keoghan who is a consultant is the new executive director of ACBES.

President Gray announced there will be a conference call of the executive committee Wednesday at 9:30pm eastern time to discuss the Connecticut situation.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:35am.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger