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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

September 12, 2009

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 Beth Butler called the 299th meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

The following members were present in the conference room:  Debbie Jackson and Julie Kagy.  Others present were Mary Flanagan, Joann Wood, Cynthia Speight, Cynthia Joos, David Arthur, Dr. Chamblee, Dan Bernstein, and Carla Parker.

Members connected by conference call were:  Beth Butler, Allen Casey, Graham Watt, Tommy Jenkins, Ruth Haines, Kim Lambert, Kathy Brack, Richard Oliver, Terri Meyers, and Eddie Weaver.  Debra Wilson was also on the call.  Ms. Wilson is an advocate and parent of a GMS student. 

Graham Watt offered the invocation.

Chair Beth Butler acknowledged Debbie Jackson, Director of DSB, as she will be retiring October 1, 2009.

Debbie Jackson recognized Jan Fesperman’s retirement.  Ms. Cynthia Speight replaced Jan as Chief, Rehabilitation Programs and Facilities. 

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. 

Mr. Tommy Jenkins will serve as our parliamentarian at today’s meeting. 

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Graham Watt, seconded by Kathy Brack, and carried to approve the minutes of the June 13, 2009 meeting.   

Committee Reports:

Public Relations Committee—Kathy Brack

Discussions have been held to see what DSB can do to get DSB on the agenda for any upcoming conferences that doctors or medical professionals may be participating in.  This will be another way of “getting the word out”.  A conference call will be set up to discuss this topic in detail.

Intercommittee Relations Committee—Julie Kagy and Ruth Haines. 

Ms. Haines reported that the Director of Developmental Disabilities Council, Holly Riddle, had planned to be present at this meeting today.  At the last minute, Ms. Riddle had to cancel.  

Advocacy Committee—Tommy Jenkins

Mr. Jenkins thanked everyone’s effort in opposing the special provision regarding closing the Governor Morehead School for the Blind.  Allen Casey reminded the committee that this issue will come back and we need to be prepared when it does.

Personnel Development Committee—Julie Kagy

New students continue to apply for the VI Program at NCCU.

Ms. Wormsley and Ms. Kagy continue to work on a grant.  A survey was mailed to teachers requesting professional development needs and wants--Response was 33%.  Weekend workshops for professionals will be planned through this grant.

Beth Harris replaced Julie Barden. 

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

Budget—DSB’s cuts amounted to approximately $600,000.  These cuts are spread across 4 different programs. 

All agencies were asked to hold back 5%--If the budget gets better, some of this money will be released back to the agencies. 

DSB is sponsoring Newsline for $75,000—this is a 1-year appropriation. 

DSB now 4 field based Assistive Technology instructors. 

Ms. Jackson gave a briefing on the process of filling the Director’s position.  The position was posted and applications went directly to DHHS’ Human Resources office.  Applications have been given to Maria Spaulding, Assistant Secretary, for her review.  Ms. Spaulding will put together a panel to conduct the interviews.  Timeframe for filling this position is not known at this time.   

Ms. Jackson thanked everyone on the Commission for their commitment—specifically former members Norma Krazjar and John Miller for their past and ongoing efforts, and she looks forward to continuing working with the Commission in other capacities in the future. 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—Gary Ray was not present due to the State NFB Convention

Debbie Jackson reported on the CAAC meeting held yesterday.  The CAAC passed a resolution to make a recommendation to the general assembly on how the Governor Morehead School would operate in the future--Be more proactive than reactive.

From the Library, the first shipment of the digital players have arrived and been distributed. 

The Elected Committee of Vendors is under threat of the roadside rest areas being commercialized.  Approximately 20 rest areas have been closed in the State of VA.  This will be devastating to the Business Enterprises Program if this moves forward. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Cynthia Joos

To date, expenditures are at $115,000 and encumbrances at $120,000.  The vacant nursing eye care position in the Charlotte District Office has been filled. 

Old Business


New Business


Adjournment of Commission for the Blind Meeting

A motion was made by Graham Watt, seconded by Kathy Brack, and carried to adjourn this meeting. 

Respectfully submitted,  

Beth Butler, Chair, Commission for the Blind

Debbie Jackson, Director  Division of Services f/t Blind


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