by Ken Stewart
(Editor's Note: The American Council of the Blind constitution and bylaws require that a narrative summary of every board of directors meeting be prepared by the board of publications' ex officio representative to the board of directors. Upon approval of the minutes of this meeting by the board of directors, the minutes will be made available to the membership on the web site. Members who cannot access the minutes in that way may request assistance from the national office.)
Holiday cheer extended a bit into the new year for the ACB board of directors. During its two-hour teleconference on January 2, there was unanimity on every vote, and major portions of the meeting dealt with happy, or at least encouraging, financial matters.
The board went into executive session to deal with matters concerning investment issues. After the session ended, President Mitch Pomerantz reported that there were no motions made or voted on, and that the board accepted the recommendation of the investment committee to engage the services of RBC Dain Rauscher to manage the assets of ACB.
Resource development committee chairman David Trott's proposal that again this year, the proceeds of the annual raffle be devoted to "The Braille Forum," also achieved a unanimous affirmative vote. Trott indicated the raffle usually generates $5,000 to $6,000.
Waters reported on his search for an auditing firm which would perform the annual audit of the organization's financial records at a substantially lower cost than has been expended in recent years. The board approved his recommendation to engage a Minneapolis firm to audit the books of both ACB and its affiliated company, ACB Enterprises and Services.
Pat Sheehan was approved by another of the unanimous votes, to replace Ray Campbell as the board's liaison to the Internet oversight committee. Campbell had resigned from that role due to the press of other responsibilities, and Sheehan volunteered for the assignment.
Executive director Melanie Brunson brought the board up to date regarding negotiations with Damar Travel. Some payments have now been received from that business, and she agreed to a tight deadline for resolving remaining questions about the contractual relationship with it. Brunson also spoke of a telephone call received at the national office from an academic familiar with the Peabody College program that trains teachers of the blind. The caller reported that Vanderbilt University is considering terminating that program. The board voted to send a letter strongly objecting to the closing down of the program.
Godino inquired about this year's procedure for mailing holiday solicitation for donations from ACB members. Discussion established that some members received the mailing after the holidays or not at all. Getting the solicitation in the appropriate format to each recipient also was not accomplished as well as would be hoped. Chris Gray indicated he would check into the matter. It was noted that the director of development, to be hired shortly, will be taking responsibility for the holiday mailing and other projects in the future.
Secretary Marlaina Lieberg had minutes of the most recent previous board meetings, both in October, ready for final approval. And they received that approval, enabling them to go up on the organization's web site promptly. At adjournment it was expected that the board would be meeting next in Washington in early February immediately prior to the mid- year presidents' meeting and the annual legislative seminar.