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

Commission for the Blind Meeting Minutes

December 13, 2008

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

Call to Order, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

Chair Beth Butler called the 296th meeting of the NC Commission for the Blind to order at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, December 13, 2008.  Chair Butler offered the invocation.  Members joined in the pledge of allegiance. 

The following members were present in the conference room:   Julie Kagy, Debbie Jackson, and Terri Meyers.

The following members were connected via conference call:  Anita Heath-Cunningham, Jay Williams, Tommy Jenkins, Allen Casey, Beth Butler, Richard Oliver, Ruth Haines, Eddie Weaver, Graham Watt, and Kathy Brack.

Others present in the conference room:  Gary Ray, Mary Flanagan, Joann Samuels Wood, David Arthur, Jan Fesperman, Cynthia Joos, Dr. Fleming, Dr. Gropper, and Carla Parker.   

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.

Approval of Minutes:

A motion was made by Julie Kagy, seconded by Terri Meyers, and carried to approve the minutes for the September 13, 2008 meeting. 

Committee Reports:

Public Relations—Kathy Brack and Allen Casey

Allen Casey has reviewed the Outreach Guidelines and believes there are ways that PSA’s can enhance these guidelines with primary emphasis in rural areas and make the general population aware of blindness issues. 

Inter-Committee Relations—Ruth Haines

The Inter-Committee members will meet after the 1st of the year. 

The Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is trying to become an independent entity.  This is a long, complicated process.  SILC’s money goes through VR; therefore, a contract is required.   The next SILC meeting is scheduled for January 14. 

Advocacy Committee—Tommy Jenkins

No Report

Personnel Development Committee—Julie Kagy

Dr. Barden and Dr. Wormsley are planning to attend our next Commission meeting in March. 

Director’s Report—Debbie Jackson

DSB has been looking at several ways to reduce spending for the current year and potentially, if asked, make cuts beginning July 1.  For the current year, DSB is monitoring travel, purchases, and maintain vacant positions that have State money.  Another measure, DSB has been able to exchange social security money with State money so that the State money is reverted back to the State.  All of the Divisions within DHHS have been asked to develop plans to revert 4 percent of its total State funding. 

In October, the Medical Eye Care Program had to stop authorizing any new services and stop any new consumers.  Medications are continuing to be provided.  Before July, a priority list of services that will be provided in the Medical Eye Care Program will be developed. 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee—Gary Ray

The CAAC is also concerned with the budget cuts and how it will affect the blind consumers.  The CAAC stands ready to do whatever is needed during the legislative session. 

The CAAC will be following up with the DPI/DHHS report regarding DHHS is continuing to study. They are beginning to study regionalization in the public schools.  At the end of the first study, it was not recommended that the schools be moved to DPI.  It was recommended that a further study be done. 

The American Council for the Blind is planning to have a leadership seminar in Raleigh in April—a definite date is not known at this time. 

A commemorative Silver Dollar is being issued in honor of the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille.  This Silver Dollar is being sold for $45 and has Braille on the coin. 

The National NFB Convention will be held in Detroit in July. 

Professional Advisory Committee—Cynthia Joos

As of December 8, expenditures in the Medical Eye Care Program are $1,558,000.  The vacant nursing eye care consultant position in Raleigh and Fayetteville has been filled.  Ms. Patricia Turner will be joining DSB on December 5. 

Old Business

In September, three Business Enterprises rule changes were proposed.  The Rules Review Committee did not approve 1 rule. 

Clay Pope removed part F of the rule regarding the Financial Analysis/Operating Standards to meet the Rules Review Committee requirement.   The next step is to go before the Rules Review Committee again for their approval. 

New Business


Adjournment of Meeting

Motion was made by Ruth Haines, seconded by Graham Watt, and carried to adjourn this meeting at 11:10.


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