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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

March 9, 2013

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance
Chair Richard Oliver called the 313th meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10 a.m.  Chair Oliver offered the invocation.  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. 

Present in the Conference Room:  Eddie Weaver, Cynthia Speight, Brenda Savage, Gary Ray, Dr. Bernstein, Julie Kagy, Dr. Chamblee, Lin Taliaferro, and Carla Parker.

Connected by Conference Call:  Verdina Simms-Gillette, Dorothy Frye, Richard Oliver, Erica McMahon, Tony Ferrita, Brenda Montforti, and Dr. Kurup.

Julie Kagy was appointed Parliamentarian.

Chair Oliver welcomed everyone and reminded members of the Ethics Awareness and Conflict of Interest order.  If any board member has any known conflict with respect to any matters coming before the Board, please identify the conflict or appearance of conflict and refrain from any undue participation in the particular matter involved. 

Approval of Minutes:
Motion was made by Dorothy Frye, seconded by Verdina Simms-Gillette and carried to approve the minutes of the December 13, 2012 meeting. 

Committee Reports:

Public Relations—Eddie Weaver
In John Maren’s absence, Mr. Weaver reported on the many outreach events DSB participated in.  They included:  employer contacts with Target, McDonalds, and Kohls; deaf-blind Christmas parties;  job fair in Asheville; Chimney Rock Employee Health Fair; outreach activities in Morganton; IOS training; outreach at Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh; and a health fair at the Thomasville Health Center. 

Intercommittee Relations—Dorothy Frye
The Youth Leadership Forum is coming up.  Applications will be accepted at the end of March and it will be held in July.  This conference brings young adults with disabilities together so they can develop leadership skills for work.  It is held at NCSU and national leaders and mentors speak at this forum.

Advocacy Committee—No Report

Personnel  Development Committee—Julie Kagy
The NCCU Program is going strong.  It is applying for a federal grant to provide stipends and other financial support to both TVI’s and O & M Specialists.  We are working with LEA’s to get more teachers to complete this program.

Director’s Report—Eddie Weaver
Mr. Weaver has met with the new DHHS Secretary, Dr. Aldona Wos.  He gave the Secretary an overview of the programs and services the DSB offers. 

The Acting Deputy Secretary is Sherry Bradsher and she remains the Director of the Department of Social Services. 

DSB is a sponsoring agency for the annual NCCVIB planned for April 19-20.  The conference will be held on the Governor Morehead School campus.

Every 3 years, RSA requires a comprehensive needs assessment.  DSB has put this out for bid to universities to complete this assessment for us.  A part of the assessment will be interviewing some of the Commission members.  Eddie will send an email to members asking for volunteers to assist in this assessment. 
Mr. Weaver reminded the committee members to complete their Ethics Training by April 15 and their Statement of Economic Interest.

There are now travel and purchase restrictions set forth by the Department.  All purchases require Eddie Weaver’s approval. 
Agencies will be limiting purchases in order to help with the Medicaid shortfall.  All vacant positions must be reviewed by the Department before posting. 

Sequestration—It appears that DSB will suffer a 5.1% reduction in our VR and ILR Programs until the end of September.  The VR Program should not be affected too much, but for the ILR Program, it may have a major impact.  The SSBG program will also be affected.  The continued resolution must be decided on by March 27. 

DSB had 4 retirements this month.

DHHS has requested a lot of information about the Commission for the Blind.  We have provided all requested information to the Department.  The Commission for the Blind was established by General Statute.

There was question concerning the needs assessment and a RFP…Cynthia Speight responded to the question.  There is an agreement or an exception to having to do a RFP if an agency reaches out to all 17 public universities.  DSB sent an announcement to each university, but if we do not get any replies, DSB will then need to do a RFP. 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—Gary Ray
Mr. Ray has a meeting scheduled with Secretary Wos on Monday, March 11, at 4:30 p.m.  Mr. Ray plans to acquaint her with the functions of the Commission for the Blind, Consumer Advocacy and Advisory Committee, and the importance of independent services for the blind in North Carolina.

On the legislative front, we are working on getting NEWSLINE into the budget. 

Mr. Ray asked the Commission for the Blind to consider holding its September meeting one week later, September 21, rather than September 14 because this coincides with the NFB Convention. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Lin Taliaferro
$2,313,334    Budget
1,539,230    Expenditures through March
1,148,873    Net Encumbrances
(374,770)     Balance

This deficit is going to increase as there are outstanding bills to be paid.  Effective March 1, changes were made to the services provided in the Medical Eye Care Program.  Additional changes may need to be made in order to stay within budget.  We are referring consumers to other resources that are available to assist them such as Prevent Blindness NC. 

Dr. Shuree asked if it may be possible to solicit funds from private companies who are willing to make a donation to help close the gap?  We do not think this would work with the State but Mr. Weaver will check with the Department. 

Old Business

New Business
A number of members term will expire in June—Brenda Savage, Verdina Simms-Gillette, Steve Harris, John Marens, Brenda Montforti, and Erica McMahon.  Julie Kagy and Beth Butler are not eligible to renew as they have already served two (3) year terms.  All members in attendance agreed to renew their terms.  Steve Harris and John Marens were absent so Eddie Weaver will check with them.  Julie Kagy will check with Tom Winton at DPI to find someone to replace Ms. Kagy.

Chair Oliver asked the committee about Gary Ray’s request regarding changing the date for September’s meeting. Verdina Simms-Gillette made a motion to move September’s meeting to the 21st rather than holding it at its usual time of September 14.
Brenda Montforti seconded the motion, and it was carried. 

With no other business to discuss, Julie Kagy made a motion to adjourn, Dorothy Frye seconded, and it was carried.

The next Commission for the Blind meeting is Thursday, June 13, from 4 til 6 p.m.


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