June 4, 2008, Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind Board of Directors Teleconference Call
June 4, 2008

A teleconference call meeting of the ACB Board of Directors was called to order at 6:20 PM, Pacific Daylight Saving Time. Board members present: Pomerantz, Charlson, Dillon, Lieberg, Godino, Gray, Bradley, Campbell, Keith, Miller, Ruschival, Sheehan, Soule, Stuart, Thom, and Vloedman. Board members absent: Trott. Staff present, Brunson and Waters.

After an agenda review by Mr. Pomerantz, Mr. Gray moved adoption of the agenda, Mr. Bradley seconded the motion and the motion carried.

Mr. gray moved acceptance of the Mid Year Board of Directors Meeting Minutes of February 8 and 9; Mr. Campbell seconded that motion and the motion carried.

President’s Report. Leases. The terms of the new leases, one for office space in Minneapolis and the other for the DC office, have not yet been completed. The Minneapolis property of interest is in Brooklyn Center, MN, ten minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Additionally, it is very close to public transportation options. It would be half the price currently being paid with the first three months rent-free; the lease would be a seven year lease. The DC office is looking at moving to Arlington, VA. The new location is near the Courthouse metro station, two stops over the line from DC. It is hoped that the move to this building would take place during the month of December. The month of January will be rent-free. Our current DC landlord is willing to extend our lease through November. The Board will recess rather than adjourn at the end of this meeting, and will reconvene when both leases are ready for review and ratification.

Dimensions in Travel. This agency was the only one with cruise planning experience who responded to ACB’s RFP, they have planned cruises for guide dogs for the Blind. After some discussion dealing with the fact that Dimensions is unable to absorb some of the costs associated with providing certain services that ACB members have come to expect while cruising, Mr. Pomerantz proposed that ACB draft a letter to Dimensions in Travel, stating that at this time, ACB is not in a position to pursue a contractual relationship, and thanking them for their proposal. ACB will revisit this item again in the future, perhaps when the economy is more favorable to the traveler, giving cruise lines more incentive to help meet our travelers’ needs.

Direct Mail Program evaluation. Pursuant to a Board request to evaluate ACB’s Direct Mail program, Ms. Brunson reported that two consultants have expressed interest in conducting this evaluation. ACB is drafting a contract which should be done by mid June. Mr. Pomerantz proposed that ACB undertake a mailing effort which would highlight the recent currency decision and other significant milestones of accomplishment for ACB, asking people to make contributions. Mr. Godino moved that ACB undertake a mailing effort which would highlight the recent currency decision and other significant milestones of accomplishment for ACB, asking people to make contributions; the motion was seconded by Mr. Gray and carried with one abstention.

The US Department of Justice has contacted ACB to renew its agreement to conduct their service animal testing project. More information will be forthcoming.

ACBES. The Board passed a motion in February, extending a line of credit of $100,000 to ACBES to cover extenuating expenses relative to improvements needed in our stores and property relocation. Mr. Waters reported that one store was closed sooner than expected due to the landlord selling the property. Therefore, we have been experiencing a revenue decrease due to the lack of a store and its profitability. Moving expenses came to about $52,000, not including rental deposits, consultant fees dealing with city requirements, etc. After discussion, it was clarified that ACBES has used approximately $84,000 of this credit line. Mr. Gray moved that the Board go on record as supporting the increase in the loan to ACBES to $150,000 and all other terms of the loan remain the same. Mr. Miller seconded the motion, and the motion carried.

Standing Rules. Mr. Gray moved adoption of standing rules 1 through 6; Mr. Bradley seconded, and the motion carried. Mr. Campbell moved that rule 7 be brought before the 2008 convention for its consideration; Mr. Godino seconded, and the motion carried.

Reduction in convention registration rates Mr. Campbell moved that the Board ratify its recent decision made via e-mail reducing pre-convention and convention registration fees to $20 and $30 respectively; Mr. Bradley seconded, and the motion carried.

Proposed policy regarding Board Stipends. A recently drafted policy did not contain Board of Publications reimbursement criteria. It was suggested by Ms. Ruschival to defer further discussion on this matter until the ACB Board reconvenes. The policy will be reviewed and criteria added; Mr. Godino will lead this effort.

Mr. Bradley moved that the Board recess to Executive Session; that motion carried and at 8:08 PM, the Board moved into Executive Session.

At 8:27 PM, the Board returned to open session. Mr. Pomerantz reported that the settlement of previous structured negotiation was discussed. One motion was adopted during Executive Session; Ms. Lieberg read the motion as follows:

Mr. Thom moved to authorize ACB to enter into Section 508 litigation as recommended by the Advocacy Services Committee and to take appropriate steps to retain council. Mr. Campbell seconded, and the motion carried.

Mr. Bradley moved to recess the Board meeting to a date in the near future when ACB lease agreements will be ready for discussion; Mr. Campbell seconded, and the motion carried at 8:31 PM.

The June 4 Teleconference call Board of directors meeting of the American Council of the Blind reconvened at 6:20 PM PDT on June 24.

Board members present: Pomerantz, Charlson, Dillon, Lieberg, Godino, Bradley, Campbell, Keith, Miller, Ruschival, Sheehan, Soule, Stuart, Thom, Trott and Vloedman. Board members absent: Gray. Staff present, Brunson and Waters.

A motion, made by Mr. Bradley and seconded by Mr. Miller, to accept the proposed stipend policy for board members and members of the board of publications carried.

Dimensions in Travel. Dimensions in Travel has offered a service to our members where when an itinerary exceeds $1,500, and the booking party mentions ACB, ACB will receive a $25 donation. A motion, made by Mr. Godino and seconded by Mr. Bradley, that Ms. Brunson be empowered to draw up a letter or memo of understanding with the terms discussed earlier in the e-mail sent out by Mr. Pomerantz carried.

ACB Store Committee. Mr. Pomerantz has made a change in the chairmanship of the ACB Store Committee, which will take place after convention. The new chair will be Kim Venable. He expressed his appreciation to Rhonda Trott for all her hard work; Ms. Trott will remain on the Store Committee. Mr. Pomerantz shared that through the excellent work of Ms. Trott, the ACB Store will be selling the Talking Thermostat after convention..

A motion by Mr. Stuart and seconded by Mr. Campbell that the Board recess to Executive Session carried at 6:40 PM PDT.

The Board returned to open session at 7:45 PM PDT. President Pomerantz announced that during Executive Session, the proposed new leases for the Washington DC office and Minneapolis or Brooklyn Center office were reviewed and both were approved. The motions read as follows:

A motion, made by Mr. Bradley and seconded by Mr. Trott, to accept the lease terms for the office that would become the Washington DC Area office in Arlington Virginia carried with one opposition.

A motion, made by Mr. Godino and seconded by Mr. Bradley, that we sign a three month sub lease of the current office which would carry us through December 31 for a rental rate of $42 per square foot carried.

A motion by Mr. Trott and seconded by Mr. Thom that the lease for the new Minneapolis office, as presented by Mr. Waters, be accepted; that motion carried.

Mr. Pomerantz announced that the Board was provided an informational update regarding a staffing matter. This concluded his summary of actions and discussions during Executive Session.

Ms. Charlson advised that the House Appropriations Committee voted to approve funding for the Digital Talking Book Transition Program at 34.5 million dollars. The transition is to take place over a 3 year period instead of a six year period.

After a motion to adjourn, made by Mr. Campbell and seconded by Mr. Bradley carried, the meeting adjourned at 7:55 PM PDT.

Marlaina Lieberg
Secretary
Submitted: June 25, 2008
Approved: July 5, 2008