March 10 – 11, 2007, Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind
Mid-Year Board of Directors’ Meeting
March 10 – 11, 2007

President Chris Gray Brought the meeting to order at 9:05am Central Standard Time at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Item 2: Roll call was taken by Secretary Donna Seliger. All members were present except Ms. Soule. Ms. Brunson and Mr. Waters were present.

Item 3: Guests were asked to introduce them selves. There were a number of guests in the room.

Item 4: President Gray reviewed the agenda for approval. Some of the items were moved to accommodate schedules.

Motion 1: Mr. Miller moved to approve the agenda as amended. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 2: Mr. Edwards moved to approve the minutes from the January 4, 2007 conference call board meeting. The motion passed on a voice vote.

Item 6: President’s report. a. Ms. Nona Graves announced that the former Badger Affiliate in Wisconsin has changed their name to American Council of the Blind of Wisconsin (ACBW). Ms. Graves asked for approval of an affiliate charter. President Gray stated the charter will most likely be approved at the pre-convention board meeting.

b. The National Library Service (NLS) will begin using digital talking books by the middle to end of 2008. Cassette books will not be produced beyond 2016.

c. Mr. Pomerantz had the opportunity to take a look at two different digital players recently. One is more sophisticated and the other is designed for seniors to use.

d. Following Mr. Edwards’ mention of his being removed from the NLS committee, President Gray suggested that Mr. Edwards, Ms. Kim Charlson and he form a committee to write a document to present to NLS and share with the Board.

e. The Advocacy Services Committee met and has made a decision on an RSVA matter, but he will wait until Ms. Brunson has had an opportunity to discuss the matter with the Board.

f. Mr. Joel Snider has asked President Gray to represent ACB at two meetings with film makers and DVD makers during C-Sun in Los Angeles to try to promote the inclusion of audio description on DVD’s.

Motion 3: Mr. Campbell moved to accept the President’s Report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 7: The National Office Report presented by Ms. Melanie Brunson.

a. Ms. Day Al-Mohamed has tendered her resignation with ACB and will begin another employment opportunity shortly. Her last day will be March 23, 20007.

b. The Presidents’ Meeting and Legislative Seminar went well with ACB members from several states.

c. There probably will not be any comprehensive legislation concerning the Randolph-Sheppard Act in the 2007 legislative session as the emphasis is and will be on Iraq and other issues.

d. A policy statement was to be put together by a group consisting of representatives from the Department of Education, Department of Defense and Committee for Purchase. The policy was supposed to resolve issues between JWOD and Randolph-Sheppard. The result isn’t especially kind to the Randolph-Sheppard Program.

e. A coalition of organizations, Blind Entrepreneurial Alliance, (BEA) has hired a lobbyist to work for the group. Included are the National Federation of the Blind, American Council of the Blind, Blind Merchants and Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America along with other interested parties.

f. The Hawaii Blind Vendors are involved in litigation currently. The vendors have not been able to collect funds from vending machines as the County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii have taken it away. The vendors lost the case in the State Supreme Court and are now preparing to take it to the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Bob Humphreys, counsel for the vendors, has asked ACB to file an amicus brief on behalf of the Hawaii vendors or join RSVA in filing a brief.

g. Both the Washington and Minneapolis offices are working to streamline operations and evaluate expenditures to see where savings can be made.

h. Ms. Brunson has begun to compile a group of documents to be part of the board handbook.

Motion 4: Mr. Godino moved to accept the National Office report from Ms. Brunson. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 5: Mr. Campbell moved to approve the recommendation from the Advocacy Service Committee to the ACB Board that we move forward in support of the Hawaii Vendors (if it could be done) for ACB to file a separate amicus brief but recognizing given the time constraints if this could not be done, supporting as well participation with the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors on their amicus brief. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 8: Update on ACBES from Mr. Michael Garrett. ACBES met its commitment to ACB over the course of 2006. Through new strategy and updated stores an increase in profit has already been seen in the first two months of 2007.

Mr. Lane Waters, Comptroller, reviewed the financial report from ACBES.

During his time with ACB, Mr. Waters has managed to reduce some expenses such as property insurance and workman’s Compensation to name a few.

Through attitude and change in management, the thrift stores are doing much better overall.

ACBES purchased six 2004 International tricks for the stores to use. They are painted bright yellow with black lettering and the round ACB logo on them. Each truck has the phone number of the store in that particular area.

Motion 6: Ms. Ruschival moved that the board express its appreciation to the staff in the Minneapolis office through 2006 for their persistence and assistance. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 7: Mr. Edwards moved to accept the ACBES report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 11: Update on the ACB survey reported from Ms. Schmitt pertaining to accessible currency which was included in the Braille forum but received very few responses.

Ms. Brunson read the survey to the Board for information only.

Motion 7: Mr. Godino moved the acceptance of the ACB survey report. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 17: Mr. Pomerantz reported on National Telecommuting Institute (NTI) issue. An ACB member had applied for a job with NTI, but was turned down. She contacted Ms. Linda Dardarian and Ms. Lainey Feingold who sent NTI a 14 page letter. NTI sent two letters; one to the Board of Directors and a second letter from an attorney who suggested lawyers are expensive and we didn’t need one.

Motion 8: Mr. Edwards moved to accept the NTI report and to commend the committee for its work. The motion carried on a voice vote.

During lunch, Mr. Trott, chair of the Resource Development Committee, announced that the annual raffle would be offered again this year as well as the time share auction. Then he introduced Mr. Lou Abbott who spoke to the Board about Melaleuca products as a possible fund raiser for ACB.

The Board meeting reconvened following the Executive session.

Mr. Trott continued with the Resource Development Committee report. The committee voted to go forward with investigating the Melaleuca Company.

Motion 9: Dr. Bradley moved the Board approve the recommendation of the Resource Development Company to investigate Melaleuca’s intention of making their website and catalog accessible to blind and visually impaired customers. On a roll call vote, the motion failed with five in favor and nine opposed. Those in favor were: Dr. Bradley, Mr. Godino, Mr. Pomerantz, Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Trott and those opposed were: Mr. Campbell, Ms. Dillon, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Keith, Mr. Miller, Ms. Ruschival, Ms. Schmitt, Ms. Seliger and Mr. Thom.

Item 12: The budget committee report was presented by Mr. Godino, treasurer and Mr. Waters, Comptroller. Mr. Godino reviewed the budget by line item.

Motion 10: Mr. Edwards moved to increase the anticipated MMS income amount from $25,000 to $30,000. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 11: Mr. Edwards moved the acceptance of the revenue side of the budget with a predicted revenue of $1,060,200 The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 12: Mr. Edwards moved to increase the Meetings and Training line item an additional $2,000 making the total $3,000. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 13: Mr. Thom moved to increase the miscellaneous item by $3,000 making it $6,000. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 14: Mr. Edwards moved to accept the expense side of the budget with expected expenses of $1,060,200. The motion carried unanimously giving ACB a balance budget for 2007.

Motion 15: Mr. Pomerantz moved to recess until 9:00am on Sunday, March 11, 2007. The motion carried and the meeting recessed at 5:45pm.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

President Gray gaveled the meeting to order at 9:15am Central Daylight Time.

Roll call was taken by Secretary Donna Seliger. Ms. Soule was absent. Ms. Brunson and Mr. Waters were present.

Item 14: Update on the 2007 convention from Ms. Ruschival. The banquet this year will have four entrée choices: Beef, chicken, fish or vegetarian.

Several students from the Indiana School for the Blind have raised nearly $10,000 so they can attend the ACB convention and participate in the Youth Activity Center.

Both convention hotels are planning to have the in-room information put into Braille and have those available at check in. Some of the meetings and functions will be held at the Millennium Hotel as well as one-third of the sleeping rooms.

Motion 16: Mr. Pomerantz moved to accept the convention update report. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 13: Mr. Campbell, chair of the Constitution and By-Law Committee presented a document which would streamline By-law 6, standing committees.

The Board held a discussion concerning By-law 6 and whether or not only mandated committees should be included in the By-law. No decision was made by the Board except for the committee to continue working on the issue.

Item 15: Mr. Charlie Hodge, chair of the Board of Publications, presented his report. He discussed a new award honoring Mr. Hollis Liggett which the BOP would like to present to an affiliate newsletter.

Motion 17: Mr. Hodge moved that the ACB Board create the Hollis J. Liggett Braille Free Press Award to promote excellence and journalistic practices amongst our affiliate publications. Since the voice vote was not clear, the roll was called by the secretary. The results were seven affirmative and seven negative; therefore President Gray broke the tie by voting in the affirmative. Those voting in favor were: Mr. Campbell, Ms. Dillon, Mr. Godino, Ms. Ruschival, Ms. Seliger, Mr. Sheehan and Mr. Thom. Those opposed were: Dr. Bradley, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Keith, Mr. Miller, Mr. Pomerantz, Ms. Schmitt and Mr. Trott.

Item 18: Report on the American Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment was presented by Ms. Schmitt. She read the recommendations from the Governance Structure Committee of the American Center for ACB Board review and approval.

Motion 18: Dr. Bradley moved that two people be elected by and two elected from the American Council of the Blind Board plus the President of the American Council of the Blind and an appointee of the President of ACB, two members of the current American Center Committee and one member appointed by the first eight members to constitute the American Center’s Board. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Motion 19: Mr. Edwards offered the following friendly amendment: that the two members to be elected from the ACB Board and two by the board must be members of ACB but not necessarily members of the ACB Board.

Motion 20: Mr. Edwards moved to accept the report on the American Center. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 16: Dr. Bradley reported from the Vehicle Donation Task Force. A number of recommendations were presented from the Task Force for ACB Board approval.

Motion 21: Dr. Bradley moved adoption of provision number one, “Establish a committee to provide ongoing oversight of the Vehicle Donation Program and make recommendations annually concerning the agreement between the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC). The Committee (suggested name: Vehicle Donation Program Committee) shall be comprised of the following: the ACB President or his/her designee; the ACB Executive Director, one additional Board Member chosen by the President; and two affiliate presidents from states having agreements with the VDPC.” On a voice vote the motion carried.

Motion 20: Dr. Bradley moved the adoption of provision number two, “Establish a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan for vehicles donated via internet advertising from those states with existing vehicle donation programs.”

Motion 21: Ms. Ruschival moved to refer the Vehicle Donation provision number two to the RDC committee for further review and bring back to the Board their recommendation no later than May 15, 2007. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 22: Ms. Schmitt moved the acceptance of provision number three, “provide the monthly report generated by the VDPC on the vehicles donated to ACB through the internet to members of the committee.” The motion carried on a voice vote.

Motion 23: Mr. Edwards moved to accept provision number four, “Make no modifications to the Program for vehicles donated through newspaper and/or radio advertising.” The motion carried on a voice vote.

Dr. Bradley stated the McDaniel fund has a cassette tape made by Mr. Durward K. McDaniel that they wish to sell along with the “People of Vision”. The cassette version is now sold for $30.95 plus $9.00 for the additional cassette. The Braille version is currently sold at $43.95.

Motion 24: Dr. Bradley moved that the cassette version of “People of Vision” be sold with the addition of the cassette made by Mr. McDaniel for $40 with $15 going to the DKM Fund. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

President Gray adjourned the 2007 ACB mid-year board meeting at 12:00pm Central Daylight Time.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger, Secretary