July 3, 2004, Pre-Convention Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind
Pre-Convention Board Meeting
July 3, 2004

The meeting was brought to order by President Chris Gray at 8:40am in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention center, Birmingham, Alabama

Secretary Donna Seliger called the roll. All Officers and Directors were present, as well as Ms. Brunson, Ms. Lovering and Ms. Pacheco. Mr. Olsen had been hospitalized in Minneapolis and would not be attending the convention. Guests introduced themselves.

Motion 1: Mr. Edwards moved to adopt the agenda as distributed. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 5: Minutes Motion 2: Mr. Edwards moved to approve the four sets of minutes as submitted. The motion carried on a voice vote. (January 14, 2004, February 15-16, 2004, April 1, 2004 and April 22, 2004)

Item 6: President’s message - President Gray addressed the financial health of ACB. He went on to thank Ms. Laura Oftedahl for her work on acquiring a $25,000 grant for ACB.

Ms. Earlene Hughes spoke about the ACB Website and issues surrounding it. She stated there are approximately 10,000 to 15,000 visits to the website each week. The donations page has been updated recently.

President Gray asked Ms. Brunson to address the Board. She stated that ACB has been approached by the American Association of People with Disabilities. The group will be giving awards to disability champions from each party. ACB has been asked to sponsor the event as well as giving the awards. The Democratic meeting will be held in Boston at the end of this month and the Republican meeting will be held in September. The first meeting will be held at the studios of WGBH on July 26. The Republican meeting will be at the Time-Warner Building on September 1 in New York City.

Next President Gray spoke about Nextel phones and that most cell phones are not accessible for blind persons. After some investigations, President Gray discovered that Nextel actually has manuals in Braille. Nextel has agreed to be a sponsor and has provided phones for the Convention Committee to use.

Motion 3: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of the President’s report. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 7: Treasurer’s report - Ms. Bazyn reported: Total Revenue $404,501 Total Expenses $410,990.

The vehicle donation program has increased substantially. The report does not reflect the $25,000 grant referred to above. This report is through May.

Motion 3: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of the treasurer’s report. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 8: Budget Committee Report - Mr. Charlson reported to the Board. He said they met and decided to make no recommendations to change the budget Board approved during the mid-year meeting.

The budget tracking system which Mr. Crawford crafted is not currently working on Ms. Bazyn’s computer. Additionally, the committee recommends beginning the tracking system with the 2005 budget. They request that an investment committee be established as soon as possible.

Motion 4: Mr. Annunzio moved to accept the budget committee report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 9: Convention Site update - Ms. Carla Ruschival asked how soon we would be interested in returning to Las Vegas. The first year open would be 2008. Also 2010 could be considered. In 2011 Kansas City is being considered.

Motion 5: Mr. Edwards moved to consider returning to Las Vegas for 2010, however, other years would be acceptable. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 17: 2004 convention information - Ms. Cynthia Towers reported to the board about her activities concerning the current convention. She talked about training sessions; some of the packet inserts didn’t arrive until very late; there are 81 booths in the exhibit hall; Doodle Scoopers is taking care of the guide dog areas; YAC is going on field trips this year; the hotel has about 70 refrigerators at $15 per day; this year we have brand new delegate signs; ACB Café is now open; we are required to pay for first aid; internet hook-up will cost ACB $900.

Ms. Ruschival reported that the computer from the National Office which was programmed to operate the Convention Ear arrived but was unusable.

Motion 6: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of items 9 and 17. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Ralph Sanders, chair of the Public Relations Committee, reported on the press coverage. There will be some press this afternoon. Channels 13 and 42 will be here today.

Item 10: Employment Issues Taskforce – Mr. Pomerantz reported from the committee. In 2001 the task force held a workshop. From that came a recommendation to establish a group to work on employment issues. The three-year period of the taskforce is coming to a close.

Motion 7: Mr. Pomerantz moved to form the employment issues committee. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 8: Mr. Pomerantz moved that we put a link on our website to E-Sight. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 9: Dr. Bradley moved to accept the Employment Taskforce report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 11: Membership Committee report - Ms. Sue Ammeter reported from her committee. A seminar has been planned for Thursday. There have been two conference calls with the committee and 30 to 35 members on each call. They will have a call once a quarter to discuss membership ideas. The West Virginia affiliate intends to seek a charter from ACB.

Motion 10: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of the request for a charter from the Mountain State Council of the Blind and dues for 28 members. Ms. Jessie Rayl is the current president. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Ms. Ammeter also reported that the four corners group; Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, will meet in Salt Lake City for a leadership seminar September 10-12, 2004.

Motion 11: Mr. Edwards moved acceptance of the membership report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 12: ACBES report from Mr. Edwards, chair - He reported that ACBES is essentially on track this year. He anticipates ACBES will be able to remit to ACB the $450,000 allocated in the budget.

Motion 12: Mr. Charlson moved acceptance of the ACBES report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 13: Report from the National Office staff - Ms. Melanie Brunson began by updating the board on the resolutions passed in 2003. All of the priority one resolutions have been acted on. She discussed the currency lawsuit. It seems the Federal Government wants documentation showing the membership gave approval for the ACB leadership to file the suit.

Ms. Terry Pacheco reported that 21 scholarships will be presented and 12 of the recipients will be present. There will be a reception for the winners on Tuesday evening in the president’s suite – 1709 at 6:30pm.

The legislative seminar and presidents meeting is scheduled for February 18-22, 2005 at Washington Terrace Hotel. The room rate will be $99 per night.

Ms. Sharon Lovering, acting editor, reported about the Braille Forum. She reported that Enabling donated three Braille embossers. Several other donations were made to the Communications Center.

Mr. Phil Strong, the newest member of the National Office staff, introduced himself to the Board.

Motion 13: Mr. Edwards moved acceptance of the National Office Staff report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 14: Fund Raising, a board discussion - President Gray talked about the budget, which was roughly $100,000 in deficit. From the report prepared by Mr. Olsen, CFO, the deficit has been reduced by about half.

He went on to report that the first ACB cruise (December 2002) realized $5,000. There are two more cruises scheduled for members through Damar Travel with the hopes of increasing funding to the organization.

The ACB store has increased the number of items to sell. It is now on the website and in the exhibit hall. Items for sell include jackets, shirts, caps and bags which are embossed with the ACB logo.

Motion 14: Ms. Towers moved that this Board, in conjunction with the convention committee, create a policy with regard to the selling of items from the ACB Store during convention. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 14: Mr. Edwards moved that the President of the American Council of the Blind at our September board meeting present to us a plan of organization and a report of all of the activities of the ACB store to date. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 15: Mr. Miller moved that the Board of Directors authorize and publicize the program under which after total MMS receipts go over $100,000 annually, all amounts received above $100,000 will be divided 75 percent and 25 percent basis between the American Council of the Blind and one affiliate designated by each pledging member with the money for the affiliates to be distributed on a once a year basis and after banking and other service charges are taken out.

Motion 16: Mr. Edwards moved to refer to Resource Development Committee with a report to be given at the September board meeting. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Mr. Brian Charlson announced that he is now a trustee for the American Foundation for the Blind Board and also sits on the Board of the Wang Center for Performing Arts. He talked about how AFB raises funds and suggested that ACB consider their ideas.

Ms. M. J. Schmitt suggested selling tickets at $5 each with $100 prize to be given each day of convention for 11 days and on the last day a grand prize of $1,000 is given out.

Mr. Pomerantz stated he has two checks to be donated to ACB totaling $1,000.

Item 15: Office Review Committee – The committee members are Mr. Charlson, Mr. Edwards, President Gray and Ms. Brunson with the addition of Mr. Gene Barton of Pennsylvania. President Gray presented three documents to the Board for approval. 1) A statement on staff participation in ACB conventions; 2) Draft proposal for the official job description of the Executive Director; and 3) Job announcement for Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.

Mr. Pomerantz read the document on staff participation at ACB conventions, which was written by Ms. Brunson and reviewed by the committee.

Motion 17: Dr. Bradley moved that the board pass the statement on employee participation in ACB conventions and that it be included in the ACB personnel manual. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Mr. Edwards read the document containing the job description for the Executive Director.

Motion 18: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of the Executive Director job description. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Ms. Brunson read the job announcement for the Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.

Motion 19: Mr. Annunzio moved to accept the Office Review Committee report and job search for Governmental Affairs and Advocacy director. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Ms. Keith, representative for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision reported that ACB has been asked to take part in the second year (2005) of a three-year project around the country. It will concentrate on rehabilitation teachers. ACB will be allocated $8,000 for a two-day event.

Motion 20: Ms. Bazyn moved that we take part in the Collaborative Technology Conference. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

President Gray thanked Mr. Jerry Annunzio for his contributions to the board for the past four years since he indicated he will not be running for another term on the board.

President Gray adjourned the meeting at 1:30pm Central Daylight Time.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger, Secretary