September 15, 2012 ACB Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by President Mitch Pomerantz at 9:05 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Columbus, Ohio.  The following were in attendance:  Mitch Pomerantz, President; Kim Charlson, First Vice President; Brenda Dillon, Second Vice President; Carla Ruschival, Treasurer; Chris Gray, Immediate Past President; Ray Campbell, Berl Colley, Sara Conrad, Janet0f Dickelman, Michael Garrett, George Holliday, John McCann, Alan Peterson, Dan Spoone and Jeff Thom, Directors; Paul Edwards, BOP Representative; and Melanie Brunson and Lane Waters, ACB Staff.  Marlaina Lieberg, Secretary, was not in attendance.  After the call of the roll, several guests introduced themselves.

The agenda for the meeting was reviewed.  A motion was made by Charlson, and seconded by Garrett to approve the agenda as presented, this motion passed.

Next, the pre-convention board meeting minutes of July 7, 2012 and the post-convention minutes of July 14, 2012 were discussed.  A motion was made by Holliday, seconded by Dickelman, to approve both sets of minutes as distributed.  This motion was amended to request that both the Editor's Report and Development Report are attached to the official minutes. 
 
The motion to approve both sets of minutes was divided.  A motion was made by Edwards, seconded by Peterson, to approve the pre-convention minutes with an amendment that they include the substance of Eric Bridges' staff report.  That motion passed.  Motion by McCann, seconded by Colley, to approve the post-convention board meeting minutes as distributed.  That motion passed. 
 
Mitch next gave his President's report.  He is preparing to head off to the World Blind Union General Assembly meetings being held in mid November in Bangkok, Thailand.  ACB will be sending two individuals to stream these meetings via ACB Radio thanks to funding from the Thailand Association of the Blind. 
Mitch will also be attending the North American/Caribbean Regional meeting of the World Blind Union in Washington, DC on September 20.  Finally Mitch will be going to New York in mid December for a vacation, and is working to schedule a meeting with Chin Wan Chen, the Chinese Dicident who is blind that is studying at New York University. 

Motion by Campbell, seconded by Dickelman to accept the President's report.  That motion passed. 
 
We next moved onto staff reports.  Melanie Brunson first gave the DC Area Office report.  Highlights include: 

  1. Francine Patterson began working in the office as of August 1 as our new Administrative Assistant. 
  2. Both offices will be transitioning from Icore to Twin City Telephone for VOIP telephone service.  We will be paying half the price we pay now, and we have been assured that the service quality is much better than what we are currently receiving. 
  3. We are looking for someone to keep the Spanish language general telephone and Washington connection messages up to date on our phone system. 
  4. There are World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) meetings coming up October 17-19, and also in November in Geneva, Switzerland.  Melanie indicated the November meeting could show significant progress on our discussions toward an international copyright treaty, with something being ready to go to the United Nations late in 2013.  The U.S. Government's opposition to a treaty stems from reluctance to open up copyright law at this time. 
  5. The working group to implement the Accessible Prescription language from the recently signed Food and Drug Administration legislation is being put together through the U.S. Access Board. 
  6. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is concerned about the rules implementing the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act.  Their concerns center around the rules' affect on imported vehicles. 
  7. Eric Bridges, Brian Charlson and Pratik Patel will be going to California to discuss accessibility issues with Google, FaceBook and Apple. 
  8. In the area of development, we have 31 ACB members that have volunteered to make Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) presentations.  ACB has been accepted into eight state employee giving campaigns.  We either will need to put a note out on the leadership list letting people know which states, or, people interested in the states we've been accepted in can contact ACB Development Director Steve Obremsky directly.  Our 2011 annual report is almost ready for distribution.  This year, we've included quotes from people who have been touched by ACB's programs.  We have five grant proposals out to foundations totaling about $45,000 that we should hear the status on by the end of the year.  We have five more going out before the end of the year, still discussing dollar amounts.  Board members were reminded to submit names of people we think would be good candidates for the ACB Advisory Board. 
  9. In the area of Audio Description, Eric, along with Bob Hachey, and Joel Snyder have prepared and distributed a guide to help individuals file Audio Description complaints.  The Audio Described tour of the Whitehouse is soon to be implemented.  The Audio Description Project would like to get a grant to describe a whole season of local theater in the Washington, DC area.  And, Smith-Kettlewell is going to need to reduce year 2 audio description grant funding to $60,000. 

Lane Waters reported on the Minneapolis area office.  He told us things are going well there, and took time to describe what each staff member's responsibilities in the office are for new board members. 
A motion was made by Gray, seconded by Holliday, to accept the staff reports.  That motion passed. 
 
Treasurer's report: Carla Ruschival reported on where we are in terms of actual dollars through the year through August in terms of revenue and expenses, and a percentage of where we are, actual dollars to budget. 
Total Support and revenue: $599,166. 
Total expenses: $891,985. 
 
A motion to accept the treasurer's report was made by Edwards, seconded by Thom.  That motion passed. 
 
A motion was made by Edwards, seconded by McCann, to authorize the release of up to $250,000 from Board Designated Reserves to meet expenses for the remainder of ACB's fiscal year.  That motion passed. 
 
We next discussed progress on implementing the ACB Strategic Plan.  Before getting into the specifics of each goal, President Pomerantz stated that he wants each board member to participate in at least one goal group, and that he expects each goal group to meet monthly going forward. 
In terms of goal 1, the objectives for ACB Radio have the most work completed.  We still need to get information up on how to listen to ACB Radio on various devices.  Work is ongoing with regard to the ACB Website objective, and we've added Nolan Crabb to this group as ACB Web Task Force chair.  Other objectives under this goal deal with Public Relations, Social Networking and Membership Database, which we will be moving forward on.  Carla Ruschival agreed to chair this group.  Brenda Dillon asked to be moved off of this goal group, and onto fundraising.  The members of the Goal 1 Group are Carla Ruschival (Chair), Ray Campbell, Annette Carter, Berl Colley, Nolan Crabb, Barbara LeMoine, Marlaina Lieberg, Sharon Lovering and John McCann. 
 
Goal 2 (Dan Spoone (Chair), Brenda Dillon, Michael Garrett, Alan Peterson and Mitch Pomerantz, with Staff members Steve Obremsky, Lane Waters and Annette Carter) has made progress on several fronts.  Work is ongoing to identify members for the ACB Advisory Board.  Work is underway to improve public disclosure on our website.  Conversion of ACB Databases to Donor Perfect is in progress with training of staff to start soon, we should be up and running by early October.  The effort to institute E-appeals is more long term, has not gotten underway.  Ongoing work to diversify funding sources from outside ACB. 
 
Goal 3 (Kim Charlson, Chair, Sara Conrad, Janet Dickelman, George Holliday John McCann and Jeff Thom are board members, Melanie Brunson and Eric Bridges, ACB staff):
Goal 3 has been shared with both the Arlington and Minneapolis office staff.  Have had board orientation dinner, discussing expectations of board members, things we should know about.  Have been discussing procedures and processes in ACB staff meetings.  Need to work with committee chairs on either reducing staff presence at evening committee meetings, or having meetings during the day.   
Have not discussed staff autonomy matters issues yet. 
Looking into resources of possible interns to help with advocacy. 
Goal group 4 (Paul Edwards Chair, Ray Campbell, Brenda Dillon, Mitch Pomerantz and Jeff Thom): No report. 
A motion was made by Peterson, seconded by McCann to accept the Strategic Plan report, that motion passed. 
 
A motion was made by Campbell, seconded by McCann,  to recess into Executive Session for discussion of affiliate, financial and personnel matters.  That motion passed, and we recessed at 12:28 p.m. 
A motion was made by Gray, seconded by Dillon to return to open session.  That motion passed, and the board returned to open session at 3:02 p.m.  President Pomerantz announced in open session that we had discussed financial, personnel and affiliate matters in Executive Session, and that no motions were passed. 
A motion was made by Campbell, seconded by McCann to recess the ACB Board Meeting and convene a corporate meeting of ACB Enterprises and Services.  That motion passed, and the ACB Board meeting recessed at 3:16 p.m. 

The ACB Board reconvened at 3:24 p.m. 

We next discussed the status of ACB's Membership Database.  Mitch acknowledged that while we are all volunteers, there has been frustration expressed that we do not seem to be close to having a finished membership database which affiliates can use to certify their members to ACB.  With the recent purchase of Donor Perfect, a Donor Perfect working group consisting of Annette Carter, Larry Turnbull, Kim Charlson, Carla Ruschival, Sharon Lovering, Lane Waters, Melanie Brunson and Mitch Pomerantz evaluated the feasibility of using Donor Perfect to meet our Membership Database needs.  This group brought forward a recommendation: that ACB contract with Implex to develop an accessible database management system capable of interfacing with the Donor Perfect database to be utilized by ACB and its affiliates in the membership certification process.  This database will also include a component for management of affiliate contacts and other prospects.  This contract is not to exceed $7,500 to be taken from board designated reserves, and is to be implemented no later than December 15, 2012.. 

Motion by Edwards, seconded by Garrett, that we approve the Donor Perfect Working Group recommendation, with a payout schedule to Implex of a small amount up front, another payment  midway through the project, and a final payment at the end.  This motion passed 11-3 on a roll call vote.  Board members voting in favor were Charlson, Dillon, Ruschival, Campbell, Colley, Conrad, Dickelman, Garrett, Holliday, McCann and Thom.  Board members voting in opposition were Gray, Peterson and Spoone. 

After this vote, Chris Gray tendered his resignation from the Strategic Plan Goal 1 Group and indicated he did not wish to serve on any of the other 3 goal groups. 
 
Janet Dickelman next gave the Conference and convention report.  She indicated that the 2012 conference and convention will go down as a very successful one.  Most of the reports are out to Special Interest affiliates and others.  Janet is working to re-write the Request for Proposal (RFP) we send out to hotels interested in hosting our conference and convention, with an eye toward making some changes that will open up greater hotel possibilities. 

A motion was made by McCann, seconded by Charlson to accept the convention report, that motion passed. 
 
We next elected the 2012-13 Executive Committee.  Elected to serve with President Pomerantz are Kim Charlson, Brenda Dillon, George Holliday and Janet Dickelman. 
 
We next held the election for our board representative to the Credentials committee.  John McCann's name was the only one placed in nomination, and on a motion by Edwards with multiple seconds which passed, he was elected by acclamation. 
 
Next, we elected our board representative to the Public Relations committee.  Sara Conrad was elected to this position. 
 
Next, we discussed where the 2013 ACB Raffle proceeds should be designated.  A motion to designate these proceeds   to the ACB Braille Forum was made by Ruschival, and Seconded by Dickelman. That motion passed. 
 
Berl Colley next gave us the Leadership Institute Report.  He indicated the first follow-up call from the summer training was held on August 27, and dealt with fundraising issues.  Future calls will take place on September 24 and October 22 covering Membership and Legislation, respectively. After that, there will be a call on November 26 in which the participants will discuss their goals they set for themselves during the summer training, and also, decide if they want to continue with monthly calls. 

Berl also indicated five affiliates have expressed interest in receiving leadership training, and there are two other areas already discussing plans for leadership training in 2013. 
A motion was made by Edwards, seconded by Holliday, to accept the Leadership Institute report,that motion passed. 
 
Kim Charlson next gave a report on what is happening with the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) regarding ACB's resolution that we would only support adoption of Unified English Braille (UEB) code by BANA in the united states if the Nemeth code is retained as part of UEB implementation for mathematics.  Kim summarized a concept paper that a BANA task force had put together around this issue.  She also indicated in response to concerns raised that we would see a very deliberate, lengthy implementation plan for UEB if BANA votes to adopt it at its meeting, November 2-4 in Los Angeles, California.  A motion to accept the report was made by Campbell, seconded by Conrad and passed. 
 
Our last item was discussion of program ideas for the 2013 ACB President's meeting, to be held February 23-24, 2013 in Arlington Virginia.  President Pomerantz asked that any ideas be e-mailed to him at mitch.pomerantz@earthlink.net by December 1, 2012.  Three ideas did come up which were: 

  1. Discussion of student recruitment and retention, Sara Conrad will be  chairing this panel. 
  2. Discussion of officers, directors and event liability insurance vs. bonding insurance. 
  3. Discussion of safety and security at events.. 

A motion was made by Charlson, seconded by Colley to adjourn the meeting.  The motion passed, and the board meeting adjourned at 5:58 p.m. 
 
Respectfully submitted, 
 
Ray Campbell, Acting Secretary 
 
Submitted:  December 5, 2012 
 
Approved:  12-05-2012

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