May 11, 2005, Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind
Board Meeting Conference Call
May 11, 2005

The meeting was called to order by President Chris Gray at 8:15pm Central Daylight Time. Secretary Donna Seliger took roll call. Those absent were Mr. Charlson, Ms. Downing, Ms. Keith, Mr. Miller and Mr. Pomerantz. Ms. Brunson, ACB Executive Director, was in attendance. President Gray reviewed the agenda for the meeting:

1. Ratification of Executive Committee actions: Chris Gray

2. Report on Minneapolis Trip: Melanie Brunson

3. Visit by store managers: Melanie Brunson

4. Direct mail update: Chris Gray.

5. Distinguished Service Award name change: Chris and Melanie.

6. Jacksonville convention update: Carla Ruschival.

7. How do we Litigate Internal Matters: Pat Sheehan

8. Unfinished Business, including committee reports.

9. New Business

Motion 1: Dr. Bradley moved to accept the agenda. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 1: ACB and ACBES Audit Price Waterhouse was not able to perform our audit this year. The Executive Committee voted to have a new company do the audit but it was hoped the cost would not exceed $3,000 in additional spending. The total amount of the budget audit would be $38,000. The firm name is Meyer, Hoffman and McCann. Mr. Edwards noted ACBES will share in the cost of the audit. Ms. Brunson said it may take two weeks or more to complete the audit. Copies of the audit will be made available in accessible formats.

Motion 2: Mr. Charlson moved to ratify the action of the Executive Committee pertaining to obtaining an audit firm. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 2: Minneapolis Office Update - Ms. Brunson and Mr. Keoghan went to Minneapolis to talk with the staff and to discuss various other factors. They and the staff discussed when a senior manager would be on board. Ms. Brunson and Mr. Keoghan decided to put a mechanism into place to hire a temporary person.

Ms. Keith and Mr. Miller joined the call at this time.

Motion 3: Mr. Edwards moved that the ACB Board authorize Ms. Brunson and whoever else needs to be involved to seek to fill a temporary position as soon as possible. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 3: The ACBES store managers will visit the ACB convention - There will be a store managers meeting on Sunday. Ms. Brunson said Mr. Keoghan would like to have some sort of activity where the Board will meet with the store managers. The Board discussed having a reception for the store managers late on Sunday afternoon. Mr. Edwards formally offered his suite for a reception on Sunday afternoon at 5:00pm.

Item 4: Direct mail update - President Gray said Ms. Brunson was able to obtain a list of donors that could be used. A mailing from that list went out a month ago. Ms. Brunson indicated 50,000 letters were mailed out. It is hoped that two additional test mailings will occur before July.

Item 5: Service Award name change - The awards committee is recommending the name to be the James R. Olsen Distinguished Service Award. This award is not given every year, but when appropriate.

Motion 4: Ms. Schmitt moved to change the name of the Distinguished Service Award to the James R. Olsen Distinguished Service Award. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Item 6: Jacksonville, 2006 Ms. Ruschival stated she received a call from the manager at the Jacksonville (Adams Mark) Hyatt. He indicated the Adams Mark had double booked the hotel. The manager suggested meeting the second week of July and they might offer some concessions to us.

Motion 5: Mr. Charlson moved to authorize the site selection and convention coordinators to enter into negotiations for a possible move of the convention to the week following the Fourth of July week for the Jacksonville, Florida convention (July 8-15,2006) and whatever happens, this Board would expect a decision to have been made no later than the pre-convention board meeting. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 7: How do we litigate with regard to internal matters Mr. Sheehan had asked to have this topic on the agenda last year, however, due to a time issue it was postponed. Following a short review, the following motion was offered.

Motion 6: Mr. Edwards moved that as envisioned in Roberts Rules of Order and in general practice of not-for-profit organizations the American Council of the Blind Board of Directors will be required to approve any litigation prior to serious investigation of such litigation is undertaken. On a voice vote, the motion carried.

Item 8: Unfinished Business

Mr. Charlson, chair of the Budget Committee, stated the committee will meet on Friday night, July 1, of the convention.

Resource Development Committee Mr. Trott reported the raffle for the time share is doing fine. The auction bid is at $700 currently. He said the committee thought a bowling tournament during a national convention would be an opportunity to raise money and would be good for Public Relations. Also the state affiliate where the convention is held would be involved.

Ms. Bazyn reported the NABS board met and expressed concern about acquiring new members. They thought ACB could do more in the way of communication with the student group. Mr. Charlson suggested ACB use the “podcast” on the internet. Mr. Edwards suggested it might be a way of communicating with affiliate presidents and the Board. It could be a board responsibility. Ms. Bazyn suggested linking the ACB website to a congressional website to make it easy to contact Congress. Ms. Brunson asked for technical assistance with some computer issues. She will check on the current status of the Washington Connection. She has been attempting to keep the staff on their toes with the phone system. Ms. Schmitt said the NABS affiliate has been unhappy for some time and she promised them some time at the pre-convention board meeting. Ms. Brunson reported that a rally has been planned for Washington, DC on the May 26, 2005 outside the Department of Education building. There may be a class action suit against the Social Security Administration because they are not providing materials in accessible format. ACB has been asked to be an organizational plaintiff.

Motion 7: Mr. Edwards moved that this Board authorize Ms. Brunson to enter into negotiations with DREDF with the view to making ACB an organizational plaintiff in the Social Security suit. The motion carried on a voice vote.

Ms. Brunson stated the Executive Committee was interested in the rally. She contacted Ms. JoAnn Wilson, former RSA Commissioner, who said the NFB would like someone from ACB to speak at the rally. There are 15 co-sponsors currently. Ms. Brunson has asked for a document stating the problems with the Department of Education and Ms. Spelling. Mr. Edwards will attempt to get someone from Florida to attend the rally. Mr. Charlson and Mr. Edwards are willing to work on the document. Ms. Soule volunteered her help. President Gray will send out a notice to the leadership list announcing the rally and asking for members to attend. Ms. Ruschival suggested for those who won't be attending the rally to call their congresspersons.

Motion 8: Mr. Edwards moved to adjourn. The motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 10:35pm.

Respectfully Submitted,
Donna Seliger, Secretary