July 7, 2007, Post-Convention Board Meeting Minutes

July 7, 2007 Post Convention Board meeting Minutes

The July 7, 2007 Post Convention Board meeting of the American Council of the blind, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Minneapolis Minnesota, was called to order at 10:10 a.m. All board members except Billie Jean Keith, Carla Ruschival and Cammie Vloedman were present. Ms. Keith and Ms. Ruschival arrived very soon after the role call.

President Pomerantz presented the agenda, other Board members added items, and a final agenda was approved, as were previous Board Minutes for May 23.

President Pomerantz made brief comments. He stated he is very pleased with the make-up of the board, and that this Board would be a working Board. He expressed his intent that every board member would be involved, and officers would be active as board liaisons to committees. He assured the Board that he would keep everyone in the loop to every extent possible, and would not take it personally if somebody lets him know they do not feel they are as much in that loop as they should be. The list of cell phones for Board members will be updated. President Pomerantz, First Vice President Charlson, and Secretary Lieberg gave their cell phone numbers to the Board. A new list will be forthcoming and disseminated to the entire Board. Mr. Gray offered to update the board e-mail list to reflect new member’s e-mail contact information.

Charter for ACB of Wisconsin, Nona Graves

Ms. Graves explained that there is no difficulty or fighting between the Midwest Association for the Blind and the Badger Association of the Blind, the two organized groups in Wisconsin. However, Badger has most of its members in Milwaukee and they are not interested in forming chapters. The Midwest Association expressed an interest in forming chapters and affiliating with ACB. A constitution and bylaws was sent to the National office along with a check consisting of dues for about 30 members, and a letter from the Badger Association stating that when the Midwest charter was accepted, Badger would disaffiliate. Subsequently, Badger paid dues for this year, and thus will maintain affiliation through the 2007 convention. Because the Midwest documentation was sent entirely in print, the Executive Director was unaware it had arrived; she confirmed that it indeed has arrived and will review the documentation upon her return to the office.

A motion by Dr. Bradley to accept provisionally the charter of the affiliation of ACB of Wisconsin, pending a review of the constitution and bylaws by the Executive Director was unanimously adopted.

Resolutions

The Board next considered the resolutions referred by the body of the whole for final action. Prior to the consideration of these, Mr. Campbell asked that the following statement be made a part of the record. “I’m going to be public about this as well on the ACB E-mail lists. I understand the will of the Convention to have the ACB Board of Directors vote on several resolutions that they referred back to us. However, it puts me into a very uncomfortable place as a board member and being asked to interpret each resolution and try and determine how an assembly of several hundred people would vote on it. If I am right, so be it. If not, I and the rest of us as Board Members will be accused of taking away the voice of the Convention, particularly by some of those who voted against referral of these resolutions to the Board. I will go through the process, but will do so with much hesitation and a great deal of displeasure.” President Pomerantz assured the Board that he and the Convention Coordinator would look into ways to ensure this would not happen again next year, as nobody was happy with this process. Several Board members shared thoughts and solutions, and it was agreed this issue would be examined throughout the year.

(Secretary’s Note: What follows, is the resolution number, brief description and results of the Board vote; these resolutions will be found in their entirety in the report of the Resolutions Chair.)

07-03: implementation of Section 508; was adopted unanimously.

07-20: NLS page navigation daisy mark-up; Dr. Bradley moved to refer this to the Resolutions committee for more study, which died for lack of a second; the Board agreed to change the wording in the first resolve clause from “strong displeasure” to “concern; the resolution was defeated with one aye vote.

Mr. Gray moved that the board of Directors go on record favoring a policy with regard to newly recorded digital talking books that encourages the national Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to implement policy regarding mark-up of these books similar to policies used for decision-making based on literary Braille versus textbook Braille format and applies such policies to digital talking books, and the sense of this motion be communicated to NLS. Discussion revealed that NLS has made recent changes to its policies regarding the numbering of Braille book pages; Mr. Gray and Ms. Charlson, along with any assistance required by the Secretary, agreed to “wordsmith” the language of this motion and the Board unanimously adopted the sense of the motion.

07-21: Web site CAPTCHA; Ms. Brunson proposed a change in the whereas clause dealing with ADA Title III enforcement vis-à-vis web sites from: “Whereas Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which addresses access to web content is often only sporadically and minimally enforced” to: “Whereas Title III of the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA) which addresses the obligations of places of public accommodation to make their goods and services accessible to people with disabilities has not been consistently applied to web sites.”

After some discussion of the first resolve clause, the Board agreed on the following: “that this organization strongly urge The United States Department of Justice to apply Title III to web site access.” Because there seemed to be quite a bit more work to do with the language of this resolution, Mr. Gray moved to refer this resolution to our Executive Director and Director of Governmental affairs, and ask them within a week to bring back amended language to the Board for final action. The motion carried unanimously and the resolution was thusly referred.

07-24: Large print on currency; the language for the resolution was unavailable at the time of consideration, so the Board moved to the next resolution and will return to this one once the language can be obtained.

07-28: Accessibility to bills and channel guides from Comcast; Ms. Charlson requested that the phrase “be made universally available” be inserted into the whereas clause dealing with availability of these documents in Braille and this was agreed upon. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

07-31: RSVA’s displeasure with convention; A motion by Mr. Thom to refer this resolution to the Convention Committee for further study was made and seconded, and after discussion, withdrawn; however, the Board requested that President Pomerantz communicate in writing with RSVA, the sense of the Board that the resolution is an RSVA not an ACB resolution. With one abstention, the resolution was not adopted. President Pomerantz requested a copy of this resolution from Ms. Jackson, Resolutions Committee Chair. Ms. Ruschival offered to assist with this correspondence, and Ms. Charlson recommended that president Pomerantz follow-up by phone to ensure all questions have been answered.

Reconsideration of 07-24, large print on currency: As the Board still did not have the language for this resolution, Mr. Thom moved to get the actual language from Mr. Byington, a member of the Resolutions Committee, then refer the same to the Executive Director and Director of Advocacy and governmental Affairs for posting to the Board list within one week. The motion carried unanimously.

Questions were raised about when final copies of the 2007 resolutions would be made available to the membership and public. Mr. Stewart requested that the publication of resolutions online and in alternative formats occur simultaneously. The Board recessed for lunch at 12:21 PM.

President Pomerantz reconvened the 2007 Post Convention Board meeting of the American Council of the blind at 1:35 PM.

Convention Report, Carla ruschival and Lane Waters

Mr. Waters stated that the process this week went very well. He expressed thanks to Ann Olson and June Horst. He said a lot was learned and has some suggestions for changes for next year. Financially, we are running ahead of budget at this time, but when scholarships are recorded, the numbers will change; however, we are in no crisis situation. Our investments have been rearranged to some degree, moving from lower yield to higher performing cds. Mr. Waters stated that one of his highest priorities for the coming year is to get an investment policy together and develop a strategy for increasing endowments. The thrift stores are doing well and profits are up.

Ms. Ruschival requested feedback on things that were either new or reinstated such as the convention ear and availability of electronic files, etc. She is hopeful that eventually, we will be able to get files on an intranet type server, where users can come to the ACB Café and download their own files. Potential bids for future conventions include Chicago and San Diego.

Mr. Campbell asked if we had numbers yet to describe the success of the one day pass; Ms. Ruschival responded that the numbers weren’t in yet. Mr. Campbell suggested that affiliates be urged to announce fund raising events in the newspaper and on the convention ear.

Dr. Bradley requested stronger enforcement of the use of banquet tickets; someone sat at his table with no ticket and was served. Dr. Bradley also suggested that a policy should be developed regarding registration and vote verification, and Ms. Ruschival responded that she would be glad to assist the Constitution and Bylaws committee to work on this. Dr. Bradley asserted that Parliamentarian, Don Stevens, advised him that Convention Rules could manage this for next year then the committee could come forth with a procedure. Ms. Brunson agreed that the current constitution isn’t really clear on this issue. Ms. Ruschival suggested that at-large dues could be added to the convention pre-registration form. Mr. Campbell and Ms. Brunson will work with the new Constitution and Bylaws committee chair to develop language to resolve this question.

Other feedback included good experiences with the Information desk, the downloading of electronic Convention files and the guide dog relief areas. The Convention Ear had some digital noise, and this will be investigated. The format of the braille program was raised, and suggestions made for improvements for future years. Mr. Miller suggested that when meeting rooms are changed, someone should be posted at the relevant doors to alert folks of a room change. Treasurer Godino reported that $17,150 was pledged or donated from the floor, $5,000 being unrestricted funds. Mr. Trott reminded the Board of Resolution 89-03, resolving that each affiliate would try to make a yearly contribution to ACB and that by these donations, affiliates are complying with that resolution.

Ms. Keith raised the issue of spotty wireless connectivity. Some people were able to hear ACB Radio throughout the week and others were not. Ms. Lieberg reported that the ACB Radio stream statistics indicated no drops all week.

Mr. Thom raised a question about paid registrations, stating he thought the number appeared low this year. Ms. Ruschival stated that registrations this year were very good. She added that currently, we do not count vendors and the people who come with them to work booths. There were many of those this year, and she felt this was an issue. Mr. Miller stated that ACB must absolutely count everyone who comes to convention. Ms. Ruschival agreed, and said that until we tighten down the Convention and require that most people wear badges, we will never have an exact number. She said we must consistently apply what ever system we use. Before one day passes are issued, for example, badges would be given out after collecting names and addresses of those requesting the one day pass. Subsequently, methodologies for follow-up should be developed, as the information should be treated like sales leads. She said that if any of this were to happen, the Convention Committee would need Board support; she clarified that she was not suggesting these steps to keep people out, but to bring people in. Mr. Gray reminded the Board that the Standing Rules which were adopted already require the wearing of badges; the real question is how to enforce the rule. Ms. Charlson suggested that we can assure our members that by wearing badges, they are enhancing security and safety for the organization.

Mr. Campbell moved that the Board direct one or two volunteers to draft a policy regarding the wearing of badges during the ACB Convention. The motion was seconded and during discussion, Dr. Bradley and Mr. Stewart agreed to work on this. Ms. Dillon requested publication of the policy in the Braille Forum near Convention time. The motion was adopted. President Pomerantz hopes to have something on this issue for the Fall Board Meeting. The Convention Committee report was accepted unanimously.

Mr. Miller asked if there was feedback on the arrangement of the ACB Café this year being in an open area. Ms. Ruschival said she hadn’t heard any feedback. Mr. Campbell noted that there were a few busy times when the café seemed short of help, but generally the location was good.

ACB Store Report, Rhonda Trott

Ms. Trott thanked Board members for assisting her. All figures were not compiled, but it was her feeling that ACB would see about $2,000 profit from the Store. She is working on improving the web site, and also setting up a PayPal account to accept online payments. The Minnesota pins sold very well, and Ms. Trott and the Store Committee will be evaluating products for next year’s Convention. President Pomerantz said he has asked Ms. Trott to retain supervision of the Store, and he wants to look at a policy regarding written contracts for all store merchandise sold. This will be one of the first tasks he will ask the Store committee to undertake.

Prioritization of resolutions, Jeff Thom

(Secretary’s Note: Priority 1 indicates immediate action; priority 2 indicates ongoing action to begin as soon as possible; priority 3 indicates a need for action but without urgency.)

07-01 accessibility of educational materials to parents, priority 2

07-02 destination elevators, priority 2

07-03 implementation of 508, priority 1

07-04 paperless health record access, priority 2

07-06 Chelsea Ross commendatory letter, priority 1

07-08 representatives on video description task forces regarding digitization of TV, etc., priority 1

07-10 pedestrian handbook, priority 2

07-11 research of issues regarding the quiet car problem with a report to be given at the 08 Convention, Priority 2

07-12 cost parity for telecommunications, priority 3

07-13 UN Treaty on disabilities, priority 1

07-17 accessible correspondence from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, priority 2

07-18 access to appliances, priority 2

07-25 ratification of ACB’s rehabilitation white paper, priority 1

07-26 gaining seats on rehabilitation councils, priority 1

07-27 access to Apple I-Phones, priority 1

07-29 supporting accessible money including commendation to Congressman Pete Stark for his involvement, priority 2

07-30 legislative reform regarding the Randolph-Sheppard Program, priority 2

03-33 – 03-35 courtesy resolutions, priority 1

President Pomerantz asked if the two resolutions pending staff and board action would be prioritized once completed and Mr. Thom stated they would. Mr. Gray asked for the numbers in aggregate of 1’s, 2’s and 3’s; he expressed concern that there were too few 3’s. Mr. Thom concurred and asked for suggestions for reprioritization. Mr. Gray volunteered to take on activity and work on the I-Phone issue, but felt it should be a priority 3. He stated a small committee could be formed to take this off the back of the office staff; President Pomerantz agreed. Thus, 07-27 was reprioritized to a 3. There was also discussion about 07-02’s category, but it was decided to allow this resolution to remain a priority 2. Mr. Campbell moved acceptance of the resolutions prioritization; the motion was seconded and adopted. To respond to Mr. Gray’s question regarding the numbers in each category, Mr. Thom and Ms. Jackson reported there are seven 1s, ten 2s, and one 3, with 2 pending. (Secretary’s Note: The final prioritization list is shown below.)

07-01 accessibility of educational materials to parents, priority 2

07-02 destination elevators, priority 2

07-03 implementation of 508, priority 1

07-04 paperless health record access, priority 2

07-06 Chelsea Ross commendatory letter, priority 1

07-08 representatives on video description task forces regarding digitization of TV, etc., priority 1

07-10 pedestrian handbook, priority 2

07-11 research of issues regarding the quiet car problem with a report to be given at the 08 Convention, Priority 2

07-12 cost parity for telecommunications, priority 3

07-13 UN Treaty on disabilities, priority 1

07-17 accessible correspondence from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, priority 2

07-18 access to appliances, priority 2

07-25 ratification of ACB’s rehabilitation white paper, priority 1

07-26 gaining seats on rehabilitation councils, priority 1

07-27 access to Apple I-Phones, priority 3

07-29 supporting accessible money including commendation to Congressman Pete Stark, priority 2

07-30 legislative reform regarding the Randolph-Sheppard Program, priority 2

03-33 – 03-35 courtesy resolutions, priority 1

Office review Committee, Mitch Pomerantz

Mr. Godino and Dr. Bradley have been appointed to serve on this committee from the Board; two affiliate presidents will be appointed, and president Pomerantz will serve on that committee as well. Since office rental leases come due in August 2008, this committee will begin its work very quickly.

President Pomerantz called for nominations for candidates to serve on the Internet Oversight Committee. Ms. Lieberg nominated Mr. Gray, who respectfully declined due to his desire to volunteer in other areas. Mr. Godino nominated Mr. Campbell who accepted. Mr. Campbell was elected unanimously.

Executive Committee

The Executive committee is elected yearly. The officers elect two members and the Board elects two members. After separate elections, the Board elected Mr. Thom and Ms. Keith; the officers elected Mr. Gray and Ms. Charlson. President Pomerantz serves on this Committee as well. This Committee will serve until July 2008.

Board of Publications

Charles Hodge, former Board of Publications Chair, took a moment to commend President Pomerantz for his outstanding appointments to that Board in the persons of Mr. Paul Edwards and Ms. Janine Stanley. Mr. Edwards will serve as Chair. Mr. Ken Stewart serves that Board as an Ex Officio member of the ACB Board.

Sign Language Interpreters, guidelines and Issues

President Pomerantz asked Karen Campbell and Lori Scharf to work with the Convention Committee to develop a policy statement and guidelines for provision of sign language interpreter services. This document will be brought before the Board for ratification at the Fall Board Meeting.

After discussion of numbers of hours used and a breakdown of volunteer vs. paid hours, Ms. Ruschival agreed to coordinate a conference call to include Ms. Scharf and members of the Host Committee to work out payment for hours.

Mr. Miller introduced Walter Spillem, a gentleman from Japan who was present, and stated he was interested in having a more formal affiliation between ACB and the Echo Society in Japan. Mr. Miller stated that procedures are already established to enable this to occur, and was presenting this to the Board for its information. The ACB Membership Committee will be approached as well.

Travel Agency Issue

ACB is in the midst of an issue with its designated travel agency. The Executive Director and Dr. Bradley will research this issue and report back via the Board list. Ms. Lieberg requested clarification, and Ms. Brunson responded that Dr. Bradley had asked that our designated travel agency be put on the agenda because of an issue that was raised that should probably be discussed in Executive Session. Ms. Brunson agreed to do some research and get back with Dr. Bradley in a week or so to agree on how to proceed; then Dr. Bradley would inform the Board via its list. A motion by Mr. Godino to recess to Executive Session to discuss contractual issues regarding this matter was seconded, discussed and ruled out of order for lack of information.

Fall Board Meeting Dates

Ms. Ruschival will look for availability for Saturday October 13 or Saturday November 17, 2007. She will try to tie this in with future Convention bid prospects.

The Post Convention Board Meeting of the American Council of the Blind was adjourned at 4:08 PM.

Marlaina Lieberg
Secretary

Approved: 08/02/07