July 5, 2003, Pre-Convention Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind
Pre-Convention Board Meeting
July 5, 2003

The meeting was called to order by President Chris Gray at 8:35am Eastern Daylight Time at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Roll call was taken by Secretary Donna Seliger. All officers and directors were present as well as Ms. Penny Reeder, Mr. Jim Olsen and Ms. Cynthia Towers.

Guests were asked to introduce themselves.

Item 4 – Motion 1: Approval of agenda. Dr. Ed Bradley moved the approval of agenda as amended. The motion carried.

Item 5 – Approval of minutes, Secretary Donna Seliger.

Motion 2: Mr. Paul Edwards moved that the November 25, 2002 minutes from the ad hoc meeting conference call be separated from other minutes. The motion carried.

Motion 3: Mr. Brian Charlson moved to amend the current document regarding the November meeting to reflect to change the name from minutes of a meeting held by… to minutes of an advisory meeting.

Motion 3: Ms. Billie Jean Keith moved to approve the November 25, 2002 minutes as amended. The motion carried.

Motion 4: Mr. Mitch Pomerantz moved to approve the January 16, 2003 conference call minutes. The motion carried.

Motion 5: Ms. Ardis Bazyn moved to approve all remaining public minutes from the February 2, February 11, Mid-Year, March 4 and April 15, 2003 meetings. The motion carried.

Item 14 - Convention report from Ms. Cynthia Towers, convention coordinator, who updated the Board on happenings of the convention.

Ms. Towers visited possible future convention sites including Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Motion 6: Mr. Jerry Annunzio moved to accept Ms. Towers’ report. The motion carried.

Item 6 - Convention overview from Ms. Carla Ruschival, convention site coordinator.

Ms. Ruschival reported that the 2007 convention contracts are completed with the Hyatt Regency and Millenium Hotels in Minneapolis.

She stated that she is currently working on the 2005 convention contract with the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 2008 bid was for Phoenix Hyatt Hotel and the civic center. The overflow would probably be the Crown Plaza. The rate would have been $75 per night. Since problems arose, Ms. Towers recommended that we not pursue Phoenix and reopen the bid.

Motion 7: Ms. Ruschival moved that we discontinue negotiations with Phoenix and reopen the bid for 2008. The motion carried.

Next she discussed the 2009 convention site. We have a bid from Orlando Rosen Plaza Hotel with a rate offering of $82 per night.

The 2011 Kansas City bid may be ready for board approval at the September board meeting.

Motion 8: Mr. Edwards moved to accept the 2009 bid for Orlando subject to site inspection by the Convention coordinator and subject to being able to reach the appropriate contractual agreement. The motion carried.

Motion 9: Mr. Annunzio moved to accept the convention site report. The motion carried.

Item 7 - ACBES report from Mr. Paul Edwards. The elections will be held at the post-convention meeting. Mr. Edwards and Ms. Christensen will be up for re-election. ACBES has made some good progress this year. During the first part of the year, ACBES was running behind, they caught up with profit are meeting the commitment to ACB. Mr. Edwards does not anticipate ACBES will increase the donation to ACB.

Motion 10: Ms. Bazyn moved to accept the ACBES report. The motion carried.

Item 8 - Treasurer’s report presented by Ms. Ardis Bazyn. As of May 31, 2003: Revenue $458.810 Expenditures $487.460 Excess $ 28,650

Motion 11: Mr. Charlson moved to accept the treasurer’s report. The motion carried.

Item 9 - Budget Committee report. Mr. Charlson reported that the revenues are not up to the expectation of the committee. The budget committee anticipates a shortfall of $120,000 or more for the year. The shortfall includes United Way, vehicle donation and CFC.

Motion 12: Mr. Charlson moved to not fill the two vacant positions in the national office until such time as revenues are available. The motion carried.

Motion 13: Mr. Charlson moved that we freeze all reimbursement for travel by ACB staff or Board of Directors to attend affiliate conventions. The motion carried.

Mr. Charlson also suggested that anyone who has frequent flyer miles donate them for travel of speakers. Those people should contact either Mr. Pomerantz or Ms. Bazyn.

Mr. Charlson requested that anyone who had ideas about additional spending cuts to let the budget committee know prior to the post convention board meeting.

Motion 14: Mr. Charlson moved that the Executive Committee be charged with developing and proposing to the full board no later than August 1st of this year, a plan by which we can track ACB finances effectively. The motion carried.

Motion 15: Ms. Schmitt moved that we put a notice in the Keystone Currier about the Monthly Monetary Supplement program and where people can go to receive help to sign up. The motion carried.

Motion 16: Mr. Edwards asked that the President, the Resource Development committee and M&M people meet and make a determination as to whether it might be appropriate to substitute a large-scale MMS campaign instead of fall fund raising letter. The motion carried.

Motion 17: Dr. Bradley moved renaming the MMS program to MGM – Members Giving More - provided there is proper inquiry about the trademark. The motion carried.

Item 10 - Membership report from Ms. Sue Ammeter, who reported via President Gray, a seminar is being planned for Thursday from 2:00pm until 4:00pm.

Item 11 - Rehabilitation Issues Task Force report from Mr. Mitch Pomerantz. He reported that a draft document has been written and he asked the board to read it and give feedback before a final document is written.

President Gray suggested the final document be brought to the Board by the February Board meeting.

Motion 18: Mr. Edwards proposed that we ask the Rehab Task Force to take a leadership role In reaching out to some of these other organizations and include some of their members as part of the Task Force that would have the intent of drawing up a paper that would speak to the position of the whole blindness community that could then, I think, more effectively and eloquently counter the thoughts of a corrupt RSA and a foolhardy consumer organization. The motion carried.

There was a great deal of discussion surrounding the draft document. Ms. Melanie Brunson stated Congress will probably vote on reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act probably around August 1.

Motion 19: Dr. Bradley moved to accept the Task Force report. The motion carried.

Item 12 - National office reports. Written reports have been distributed from Ms. Penny Reeder, Editor and Mr. Charlie Crawford, Executive Director. Ms. Reeder gave an update to her report. She stated subscriber numbers are up in all four medias: Braille Readers 2,335 Cassette Listeners 7,940 Large Print 13,080 Disk Subscribers 775 E-Mail Readers 888

Ms. Reeder reported that the Communications Center is very well equipped and everything seems to be going well.

Motion 20: Mr. Edwards moved to accept Braille Forum and Communications Room report from Ms. Reeder. The motion carried.

Next, Ms. Terry Pacheco reported on Membership and Affiliate services. She also included Item 16 (fund raising). She attempts to allocate 20 percent of her time to fund raising. There will be a corporate “Friend Raising” reception in September to be held in Washington, DC. Ms. Pacheco stated approximately $36,000 in sponsorships have been donated for the convention this year.

Further, Ms. Pacheco reported there were problems with getting the pre-registration out to the membership.

Ms. Crystal Monk, who was employed in the National Office left ACB in April. The office staff is working short-handed.

Motion 21: Mr. Edwards moved to accept report from Ms. Pacheco. The motion carried.

Ms. Melanie Brunson, Director of Governmental Affairs and Advocacy gave her report next. The following items were covered:

1. There is a legislative seminar scheduled for Saturday, July 12th.

2. ACB has been seeking $30 million for the older blind funding, which may become a reality this year.

3. DVS has gotten Congressional support. Language was pretty much included in the authorization bill for the FCC bill. The Senate bill passed. ACB is Still waiting for House Bill to be introduced.

4. Transportation Equity Act for the 21st century is up for reauthorization this ear.

5. ACB is hoping to meet in August on Segways and research of quiet cars.

6. Book Share is being asked to increase the number of books available.

7. ACB met with IRS to discuss accessibility of information from that Federal Department.

8. ACB is Continuing to work on issues related to threatened consolidation of state agencies being consolidated under an umbrella.

9. Work is ongoing having to do with the Randolph-Sheppard Program.

10. The House version of IDEA passed, however, the Senate version is not as friendly.

11. ACB is continuing to work on the Sound Alert project.

12. The accessible currency saga continues. Hopefully in the fall the judge will rule on whether or not the case will be dismissed.

Motion 22: Dr. Bradley moved to accept report from Ms. Brunson. The motion carried.

Item 13 - History Book report from President Gray. The ACB History Book will be available following convention. Mr. Hodge reported that a CD Rom version will be available for purchase through the ACB Store. Ms. Kim Charlson reported that the book will be distributed by NLS with the cassette order number of RC56115 and the Braille number of BR14800 within the next sixty days.

Motion 23: Ms. Bazyn moved to accept report from History Committee. The motion carried.

Item 15 - Board Of Publications report from Mr. Charlie Hodge. The BOP Committee will meet at noon on Sunday, July 6. Ask Penny to give letters to the editor and other items to the review committee.

Motion 24: Mr. Pomerantz moved to accept Board Of Publications report. The motion carried.

Mr. Annunzio stated the ACB store booth will be in the Exhibit Hall. Another fund raising idea – Take pictures and offer for sale and give back copies within about ten minutes. He said there are nearly 29 projects the committee is considering.

Motion 25: Ms. Christensen moved to accept report from Mr. Annunzio. The motion carried.

Item 17 - Resolution. At the request of Ms. Seliger, Mr. Edwards crafted a resolution outlining the reasons for the Board’s decisions on the Iowa guide dog issue. Ms. Seliger wanted the membership to accept the Board’s decisions. The resolution was read and some revisions were offered.

Motion 26: Mr. Miller moved that we recommend the resolution to the Resolutions Committee. On a roll call vote of 8 for and 7 opposed, the motion carried. Those voting in favor were: Mr. Annunzio, Mr. Beatty, Dr. Bradley, Ms. Keith, Mr. Miller, Ms. Ruschival, Ms. Schmitt and Ms. Seliger. Those opposed were: Ms. Bazyn, Mr. Charlson, Ms. Christensen, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Pomerantz, Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Speicher.

President Gray adjourned the meeting at 1:15pm Eastern Daylight Time.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger, Secretary