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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

December 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 300th meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2009. 

Present in the conference room were:  Mary Flanagan, Gary Ray, Dan Bernstein, Chris Fleming, Cynthia Joos, Dr. Holland, Dr. Gropper, Joann Wood, David Arthur, Dr. Chamblee, Sandy Scarlett, Steve Sligar, Mim Kim, and Carla Parker.   

Connected by conference call were:  Beth Butler, Tom Ackers, Kathy Brack, Eddie Weaver, Allen Casey, Tommy Jenkins, Terri Meyers, Richard Oliver, and Kim Lambert. 

Mary Flanagan explained that there is a change in the agenda items.  Dr. Sligar and Mim Kim will be reporting under “New Business” for the State Rehabilitation Council.  Dr. Sligar and Mim Kim will be interviewing the Council members regarding the needs assessment when the State Rehabilitation Council meeting adjourns and DSB staff is dismissed.   

Chair Beth Butler offered the invocation.   

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. Allen Casey was appointed as parliamentarian at today’s meetings.  

Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Kathy Brack, seconded by Richard Oliver, and carried to approve the minutes of the September 13, 2009 meeting.   


Public Relations Committee—Kathy Brack

A conference call was held with the committee members to discuss PSA’s.  In the Recovery Plan, there is a part that is designated for PSA’s.  Mary Flanagan and her staff are currently working on developing PSA’s for DSB.   

The Public Relations Committee needs the Professional Advisory Committee’s assistance by distributing DSB’s materials to participants to any conference that they may attend.  

Intercommittee Relations Committee

No Report 

Advocacy Committee—Tommy Jenkins

The Advocacy Committee has not met.  Mr. Jenkins participated in the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee meeting which was held yesterday. 

Personnel Development Committee

No Report

Acting Director’s Report—Mary Flanagan

Mrs. Flanagan gave an update to the posting of the Director’s position.  The position was posted before Debbie Jackson retired.  Applications have been received by Human Resources in the Adams Building.  No interview dates have been set. 

DSB has met with DHHS Public Affairs office regarding public service announcements.  Goals, target audience, and scripts have been developed—1 PSA will be directed to employers and 1 will be directed to consumers regarding services.  Radio and TV PSA’s will be developed. 

ARRA Update--The ARRA rule change officially went into effect October 9, 2009.  Counselors can now purchase technology devices for consumers who have an IPE and are going to further their education or whose job requires technology for employment. 

As part of the American Recovery and Reinforcement Act, the Division received funds for VR and ILR.  DSB did create 3 part-time temporary positions.  These positions are Social Security Specialists and two are located in Raleigh and one is located in Winston-Salem.

DSB is also creating 2 full- time temporary positions that will focus on Transition.  Their job duties will entail meeting with EC Directors and Superintendents of LEA’s to inform them about our transition services and promote cooperative agreements with DSB.  They will also talk with families, other professionals, and students in helping to identify job opportunities.   

DSB has been working on a cooperative agreement with 4 counties (Nash, Pitt, Edgecombe and Wilson).  These counties had a number of visually-impaired high school students that would directly benefit from having a transition counselor but no one county could support a single program.  Each EC Director was contacted regarding forming a regional program and they were in agreement.  This program will have a Rehabilitation Counselor and Community Employment Specialist.   DSB hopes to have these 2 positions posted by the beginning of the year. 

Budget Update--In August, the Governor requested each agency for a 5% hold back.  Now that 5% has been reverted back to the State.  DSB did give up about $700,000 which most of that was Medical Eye Care.

DSB’s Business Enterprise Program is now operating the Fort Bragg Military Contract.

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—Gary Ray

Discussion of the future of the Governor Morehead School, residential school for the Blind, was held at yesterday’s meeting of the CAAC.  Last September, the CAAC voted to take the issue up and take a next step. 

A open-ended motion was made and carried at the CAAC meeting that the CAAC approach the legislature of North Carolina and begin to explore setting up the residential school for the Blind, GMS, as a fully state-funded local education agency out from under the Department of Health and Human Services.   The CAAC will be proactive rather than reactive.   

The CAAC strongly encourages DHHS to move forward in hiring a DSB Director and thanked Mary as serving as the Acting Director.   

Professional Advisory Committee-Cynthia Joos

To date, Medical Eye Care expenditures as of December 4 are $143,000.  A balance of $1.4 million remains.   

The Medical Eye Care Program continues to provide basic eye exams, eye medications, and emergency surgery/treatment. 

The Nursing Eye Care Consultant in our Wilmington District Office is on medical leave and a temporary nurse has been hired.   

Old Business


New Business



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

Respectfully submitted, 

Beth Butler, Chair
Commission for the Blind    

Mary Flanagan, Acting Director
Division of Services for the Blind 

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