by Penny Reeder
The American Council of the Blind board of directors held two meetings to consider resolutions which were brought to them, with recommendations, by the resolutions committee. Because of the virtual nature of our 2021 convention, no general session convention time was allotted for members to consider resolutions. Therefore, the board was tasked with evaluating resolutions and deciding which ones to adopt as guidance for ACB’s leaders and staff during the coming year. A synopsis of this year’s resolutions appears in this issue, as well as at https://acb.org/2021-resolutions. Both meetings were streamed live on ACB Media, and the meeting recordings have been converted to podcasts. This summary will review other agendized items at both meetings.
August 31, 2021
President Dan Spoone called the meeting to order shortly after 8 p.m. Eastern. After the roll call and approval of the meeting agenda, the first item addressed was celebration of this meeting’s “Mission Moment.” Dan said that he and executive director Eric Bridges wanted to acknowledge and celebrate the success of ACB’s first-ever in-person elections, which transpired during the 2021 convention. Dan singled out Nancy Becker, who served as ACB’s election supervisor, and Rick Morin, who handled all of the technical aspects for each in-person election, for special praise and gratitude. In addition, he thanked newly elected first vice president Deb Cook Lewis for presiding over the August 14 and 15 convention sessions, at which constitutional changes that will allow ACB members to vote remotely in the future were debated and adopted. A major reason in-person voting went so well and with so few challenges, Dan said, was that all of us were so well prepared. He thanked Pat Sheehan and Jeff Thom, who chaired the 2021 voting task force; Koni Sims, who did such a great job educating members about what to expect and how to vote; and all 18 members of the task force for their excellent work, and said that ACB is looking forward to reports from the voting task force 2.0, who will continue planning for fully inclusive and accessible voting at future ACB conventions.
Dan polled the board to learn who was planning to attend the October board meeting in person and who was planning to attend virtually. Although several members expressed their intentions to attend the Omaha meeting in person, a number of members reported that they intended to participate virtually. Therefore, the ACB fall board meeting will be a hybrid meeting. Dan noted that, since he expects the D.C. Leadership Conference to be hybrid as well, the fall meeting presents ACB with a good opportunity to explore best practices for assuring the success of future hybrid meetings. The October board meeting will be streamed live over ACB Media.
Kelly Gasque reported that ACB has signed a contract with the Hilton Hotel in Old Town Alexandria to host the D.C. Leadership Conference, which is scheduled to begin on March 11, 2022. The hotel is within walking distance of the King Street Metrorail station and Alexandria’s Union Station, there is ample meeting space, and there’s a Starbucks inside the hotel. There’s an Old Town Trolley stop right outside the front door, so it will be easy for attendees to travel up and down King Street to visit restaurants and other venues. The room rate will be $119 per night.
Dan reported that, in response to the Constant Contact request for members to let him know which committees they would like to join, which he had distributed a week earlier, he had already received around 40 e-mails. He encouraged all ACB members to let him know which committees they might wish to join. He also said that each board member will be expected to serve on at least three steering committees, and he encouraged board members to let him know, during September, where their interests lie.
Dan reported that he was feeling well after medical interventions that addressed a health concern that had prevented him from presiding at the August sessions, and he thanked ACB members and friends for their concern and messages of support and encouragement.
Dan thanked Katie Frederick for her service as chair of the public relations committee, and he announced his wish to nominate Deb Cook Lewis to chair the PR committee during the coming year. The board endorsed that nomination, and unanimously confirmed Deb Lewis as chair of the public relations committee.
During the next several hours, the board reviewed the 13 resolutions scheduled for discussion. Gabe Griffith, chair of the resolutions committee, presented each resolution, and several members of the committee, along with makers of the 13 proposed resolutions, were available to answer board members’ questions and add to discussion. Susan Glass served as reader for each of the resolutions. The board adopted a majority of the resolutions, rejected some, and referred others to the committee for further work, and some to related ACB committees and/or affiliates for further attention.
When all the resolutions had been addressed, the board held a brief executive session, after which the meeting adjourned.
September 29, 2021
Because they knew that there were 17 additional resolutions on the docket for consideration, the September board meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. All board members except for Koni Sims and Jim Kracht, both of whose absences were excused, were present, as well as a number of guests, including several members of the resolutions committee, and makers of resolutions slated for discussion at the meeting. No additions to the meeting agenda were offered, and minutes from the July 16 (pre-convention) board meeting were unanimously approved without corrections or additions.
The board then elected members of the budget committee for the coming year. Four board members had shared their interest in serving on the committee with Dan. Three — Kim Charlson, David Trott, and Pat Sheehan — had served on the committee during the prior year, and a fourth board member, Deb Cook Lewis, had also expressed her interest in joining the committee. ACB’s constitution stipulates that three board members should serve on the budget committee. Acknowledging that her involvement in the work of the budget committee will be of great assistance to Deb as she begins serving in her first term as ACB’s first vice president, Pat Sheehan withdrew his name from consideration, pointing out that his term would be up next summer. Deb, David and Kim were confirmed unanimously, and Dan thanked Pat for his service on the committee.
The board then tackled the 17 remaining resolutions which the resolutions committee presented for consideration and approval. Of the 17, 15 were adopted, and two were referred to ACB affiliates or committees for further work.
The discussions which occurred during both the August and September board meetings concerning all submitted resolutions are available for all members to hear. Visit these links to listen:
The meeting adjourned at 12:07 a.m. Eastern.