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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

June 11, 2011

Due to budget restrictions, this meeting was held by conference call.  The out-of-town members were connected via telephone while the Raleigh-based members met in the conference room of Fisher Building in Raleigh, NC.

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance
Chair Butler called the 306th meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, June 11, 2011.  Chair Beth Butler offered the invocation.  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Chair Beth Butler 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.

Present in the Conference Room:  Lin Taliaferro, Cynthia Speight, Gary Ray, Dr. Bernstein, Julie Kagy, Joann Wood, David Arthur, Eddie Weaver, Dr. Gropper, Dr. Chamblee, and Carla Parker

Present on the Conference Call:  Beth Butler, Brenda Montforti, Kim Lambert, Allen Casey, Richard Oliver, and Erica Nail.

Invocation was offered by Chair Beth Butler. Pledge of allegiance

Allen Casey was appointed as Parliamentarian.

Several appointments have been made since our last meeting:  Beth Butler, Erica Nail, Brenda Montforti, and Brenda Savage.  Chair Butler reminded the new appointees of the required Ethics training and the Statement of Economic Interest that must be filed.

Brenda Monforti volunteered to serve as our Ethics Liaison as Graham Watt’s term has expired.  Carla Parker will inform the Governor’s Office of his change. 

There has been interest expressed in changing the meeting time of the Commission for the Blind.  From the beginning, the Commission for the Blind has met on the 2nd Saturday of the third month of each calendar quarter.  Many suggestions were offered--If the meetings were held during the week, the doctors would definitely be effected. A suggestion was made that in June and December, the meeting be held during the week and in March and September, the meetings will be held at the regularly scheduled time on Saturdays.  This meeting time change will also affect the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee meetings.

A motion was made by Kim Lambert and seconded by Richard Oliver to change the meeting times of the Commission for the Blind.

The September and March meetings will be held the 2nd Saturday from 10 a.m. til 12 noon.  December and June meetings will be held on the 2nd Thursday from 4-6 p.m. With the exception of the September 2011 meeting.  Due to the NFB and ACB conferences both planned for the weekend of September 10, the Commission for the Blind meeting will be delayed by 1 week—Meeting on September 17. 

Approval of Minutes:
Motion was made by Richard Oliver, seconded by Allen Casey and moved to approve the minutes of December 11, 2010 and March 12, 2011.

Committee Reports:
Public Relations—Beth Butler and Ruth Haines: 
Mary Flanagan gave an update on our media campaign.  Everyone should have either heard or seen the commercial.  The State Office received 770 calls from the campaign. Some of the callers were not pleasant expressing their concern of being denied by the Medical Eye Care Program and we were advertising.  We explained to callers that the Medical Eye Care Program is only one program within DSB.  DSB changed their greeting on voice mail to correspond with the commercial.  The greeting is in English and Spanish. Overall, DSB is very pleased with the campaign. 
DSB is currently in the process of developing a 3 minute video tape that targets employers. 

Inter-Committee Relations—Ruth Haines
No Report

Advocacy Committee—Richard Oliver
No Report

Personnel Development Committee—July Kagy
No Report

Director’s Report—Eddie Weaver
Mr. Weaver reported on the budget.  At the present time, DSB’s budget for the Medical Eye Care which is funded by all State dollars was reduced by $191,000.  Remaining for the Medical Eye Care Program is $1.7 million for SFY11/12.  The program has been restricted this past year by only being able to provide medications.  DSB will be looking at what services will be resumed effective July 1, 2011. 

The Independent Living Services Program (Social Workers) budget was reduced by $1 million dollars in appropriations but it will be replaced by SSBG money. 

At this time in the legislation there is no consolidation mentioned.  However, in March Governor Perdue issued an Executive Order 85 which recommended the consolidating of Services for the Blind, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Vocational Rehabilitation.  If the legislators do not take any action, this proposal would take effect July 2012.  The Governor did not recommend any budget or position reductions.

DSB’s case management system BEAM, Business Electronic Accessible Management, kicked off in April with a face-to-face meeting with the trainers.  The target date for full implementation is October 1.  Staff from around the State are testing different features of this system. On June 20, all staff should have access to demographics and start entering information into BEAM. 

The North Carolina Conference on Blindness and Visual Impaired was held in April on the GMS campus.  There is a Rachel Rawls award that is presented each year and this year the award was presented to Gary Ray, Chair of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee. 

A fundraiser was held in March, Raising Cane 5K Run.  It was a great success with over 170 people participating.  Over $8,200 was raised.

Report of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—Gary Ray
The Commission for the Blind is on the hit list that the Governor presented to the legislature for them to review and eliminate some of the boards and commissions.  New appointments are being made now.  The advocacy groups will work to protect the Commission for the Blind’s existence.

Gary Ray mentioned the Executive Order 85 wherein it merges Services for the Blind, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Vocational Rehabilitation.  There is a short session coming up and the CAAC will do their best to get a bill introduced into the legislature specifically negating this portion of the Order.

NewsLine is funding again this year but the funding is now coming from non-match block grants. 

The governance of the residential schools is under the State Board of Education but legislation states that DPI will make a recommendation to close one of the three schools.

Professional Advisory Committee—Lin Taliaferro
Certified Medical Eye Care Budget for SFY 10/11 was $1,802,707.
Total Expenditures were $1,682,434
As of now, it is estimated that the MEC will have $1,000 left at the end of SFY.
DSB is hoping to be able to re-open the Medical Eye Care Program on July 1, 2011. 

Old Business

New Business
Richard Oliver and Allen Casey’s term expires June 30, 2011.  Both expressed interest in being reappointed.


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