July 5, 2008, Pre-convention Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind,
2008 Pre-Convention Meeting of the ACB Board of Directors

The Preconvention Board Meeting of the American Council of the Blind, held at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, was called to order at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time on July 5, 2008.

Board members Pomerantz, Charlson, Dillon, Lieberg, Godino, Gray, Bradley, Campbell, Keith, Miller, Sheehan, Soule, Stewart, Thom, and Vloedman were present at the time of roll call. Ruschival and Trott entered after the call of the roll. Staff present were Brunson, Waters, and Wilson. Bridges entered after the call of the roll.

Mr. Pomerantz reviewed the agenda, Mr. Campbell moved approval of the agenda, and the motion carried.

Mr. Gray moved adoption of the minutes of the June 4/24 teleconference Board meeting. The motion carried.

Credentials Committee, Jerry Annunzio. The Committee, based on not having heard from Idaho since 2004 or Connecticut since 2005, recommended a charter of suspension for these affiliates. Ms. Lieberg moved to approve the Committee recommendation of charter of suspension for Idaho and Connecticut. Gray moved to amend to add the following clause “and that the membership committee report to this board at every meeting until these affiliates have been reestablished.” Lieberg asked for clarification on whether such report would be in person or in writing; Gray responded his personal preference would be that such report be delivered in person. That motion carried.

Mr. Thom moved to bifurcate the question of the suspension of the Idaho and Connecticut charters. The motion carried.

Pomerantz called the question of suspension of the Connecticut charter, and the motion carried.

Pomerantz called the question on the Idaho charter; Gray moved to table this matter to the Fall Board meeting; the motion carried.

President’s Report, Mitch Pomerantz Pomerantz is in discussion with Dr. Stephens about the possibility of developing a new long-range plan for ACB. More information will be available at the September Board meeting.

Pomerantz then introduced Dena Wilson, Director of Development for ACB. She is now working on developing funding for the Western Regional Seminar. Additionally, Wilson will be working on securing funding for future activities such as leadership seminars around the country, etc.

Lieberg added that Danlami Basharu, who visited this Board in February, is working to secure accessible voting machines in Nigeria. Lieberg moved acceptance of the President’s report, and the motion carried.

DC Office report, Melanie Brunson Brunson reported that Wilson is working to have ACB listed on charitable giving web sites. We have received $50,000 in grants this year. The plaque to honor major donors of six figures or more should be ready by mid year, at which time it will be presented to the Board then hung in the national office. Brunson further reported that both DC and Minneapolis offices are moving, Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center and the DC office to Arlington, Virginia.

Brunson introduced Eric Bridges, who gave an overview of the past legislative year. All priority one resolutions from last year have been addressed as required. Bridges has been appointed to the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee to represent ACB. Non priority one resolutions such as pedestrian safety legislation including hybrid car legislation, and updating of the pedestrian safety handbook are ongoing, and it is hoped the handbook will be completed by the end of 08.

Brunson announced that the mid year board meeting will be at the Holiday Inn National Airport in Arlington, VA, February 20-24, 2009.

Campbell inquired as to the action ACB is intending to take regarding the proposed Department of Justice amendments to Title II and III of the ADA. Pomerantz responded that he intends to gather a small working group together late in July to develop ACB’s position and response.

Editor’s Report, Sharon Lovering Lovering reported that the Communications Center for Convention was up and running. The first issue of the Convention newspaper has been printed. Gray expressed concern based on the report handed out by Lovering that were we not to have an e-mail edition of the Braille forum, we would have a significant decrease for the last year. E-mail, however has helped us since it has increased by 26.59%. He stated he does not believe most people read their e-mail versions, and suggested that we might think about a Board podcast going to e-mail subscribers. Lieberg indicated that the Forum is already podcast. Gray responded that he was suggesting an informational podcast. Lieberg suggested incorporating a regular program on ACB Radio which would then be archived. Lieberg requested a copy of the Editor’s Report be sent to the Board before the Pre-Convention Board Meeting next year, Brunson responded that the report had just been completed, but that next year staff would attempt to e-mail the report to the Board list in advance.

Gray moved adoption of the DC staff report, and the motion carried.

Minneapolis Office, Lane Waters Waters reported that there have been some staff changes, the telephone system is being worked on, and the ACBES audit is ongoing. Lieberg moved acceptance of this report, and the motion carried.

Treasurer’s Report, Mike Godino Total inflows: $640,038; total outflows: $446,078; total net excess: $193,959; $75,000 moved to Board Reserves; final net excess: $118,959. Trott moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report, and the motion carried. Godino moved that this board develop a plaque of appreciation for the Ferrari Club and have it presented at their next annual meeting. The motion carried.

Pomerantz acknowledged those Board members who will be leaving the Board, and thanked them for their hard work. They were Bradley, Miller, Soule and Stewart.

Convention Report, Carla Ruschival Ruschival reported that tours are doing well, and things are going smoothly. The convention Ear should be up and running this evening. Many Board members commended Carla on her work thus far. Lieberg moved acceptance of this report and the motion carried.

Vehicle Donation Task Force, Jeff Thom The issue of potential donations going to national that should have gone to the states has been resolved. Vehicle donations are coming back and some states are seeing increased revenue. The vehicle donation processing industry is working as a whole to educate the public about the reality of the current tax laws, and is working to develop a campaign to increase public contributions. Mr. Bradley moved acceptance of the task force report, and the motion carried.

Fitness Equipment Equity Taskforce, Ken Stuart Mr. Stewart gave background on the idea for this taskforce. He explained that initially, his hope was to have an accessible treadmill at our National Convention, and has now broadened the scope of thought to include studying all manner of fitness equipment for its accessibility. Stewart has worked with staff from AFB, and has given and received good information. His idea is to collect as much information from blind users as possible about what features need to be made accessible, then advocate with manufactures. Bradley added that instruction manuals must be accessible as well. Lieberg moved that the FEET Taskforce as described in Mr. Stewart’s presentation with the information added by the Board at this meeting, be established and that this Taskforce include looking at all aspects of accessibility to exercise such as video tapes, recordings, etc. Godino amended the motion to add a requirement for a report from the Taskforce by the mid year Board meeting. During discussion, Campbell asked that a SASI member be appointed; Pomerantz agreed and requested that SASI provide him with a name of an interested member. The motion carried.

Request from the Blind Citizens Front of Sri Lanka for contributions, Mitch Pomerantz, Chris Gray. In February, ACB received a letter with a request for financial assistance for this organization. Pomerantz explained that while they did not request a specific amount for a specific program, he was aware that they have an ongoing Braille literacy program. Gray added that this organization has received funding from Blind Citizens Australia, and BCA spoke highly of the organization. ACB has sent a check for $1,000, $875 of which came through a fundraising event; this money was sent during Gray’s presidency. Godino moved that ACB put forward a contribution of $1,000 to the Blind Citizens Front of Sri Lanka to expand Braille Literacy services. Ms. Charlson added a friendly amendment to challenge all affiliates at convention to contribute, which was accepted by Godino. The motion carried.

Voting Taskforce, Jeff Thom. This year, the task force has worked and is reporting on secret ballot voting solutions only. While the mock vote they will recommend is quite low tech, They are considering a proposal regarding costs and benefits of a technological solution for the future.

Thom proposed that immediately following a standing vote of the president’s choosing, we have a mock vote on that issue using a secret paper ballot that would be passed out, collected and counted. Voting members would leave the paper in tact for a yes vote, and tare off one corner for a no vote. Lieberg moved acceptance of this recommendation, and the motion carried with one no vote and one abstention. Godino moved to accept the report of the voting task force, and that motion carried.

Godino moved that the Board enter into Executive Session for the consideration of ACB litigation and business matters, and that motion carried at 12:08 P.M.

A motion by Bradley to close Executive Session carried, and the session was closed at 1:30 PM. Mr. Pomerantz reported that the Executive Session contained three items: a proposal by Joel Snyder which resulted in a motion made and adopted to establish a working group comprised of Chris Gray, Michael Godino, Melanie Brunson and Kim Charlson to work with Joel to develop a business venture which will be brought to the Fall Board meeting with a possibility of incorporating the proposal into the 2009 budget. The second item related to personnel matters and other issues concerning the ACB stores; no motions were made, and the ACBES report was accepted. The third item dealt with various legal issues, the currency cases, the ILA suit and the 508 matters in which we will be becoming involved. No motions were made on these issues.

Pomerantz stated that the reasonable accommodation policy and officer liaison reports will be deferred until the post convention Board meeting.

Vloedman moved adjournment at 1:39, the motion carried and the meeting was adjourned.

Marlaina Lieberg
Submitted: 07-23-08
Approved 10-01-08