July 7, 2012 Pre-Convention Meeting of the Board of Directors of the American Council of the Blind

The 2012 Pre-Convention Board of Directors Meeting of the American Council of the Blind, held at the Galt House Hotel In Louisville, KY was called to order at 9:10 AM EDT on July 7, 2012.

At the call of the roll, the following Board members and staff were present:  Mitch Pomerantz, Kim Charlson, Brenda Dillon, Marlaina Lieberg, Chris Gray, Ray Campbell, Berl Colley, Janet Dickelman, Marsha Farrow, Michael Garrett, Billie Jean Keith, Allan Peterson, Jeff Thom, David Trott and Judy Jackson.  Staff present included Melanie Brunson and Lane Waters.  George Holliday had an excused absence.
Pomerantz reviewed the agenda; Lieberg moved and Campbell seconded approval of the agenda and that motion carried.

Campbell moved and Dickelman seconded approval of the minutes of the June 7 Board meeting, and that motion carried.

President's report, Mitch Pomerantz

  • Three new charters will be issued during Sunday evening's opening session to affiliates who have changed their names.
  • Miguel Carballeda, President of ONCE in Spain, will be ACB's international speaker in 2013.  It is also ONCE's 75th anniversary next year.
  • •Pomerantz has been invited to speak at the World Blind Union Diversity Forum in November in Thailand, and to make an additional presentation later in the week.
  • Lieberg moved and Trott seconded acceptance of the President's Report, and that motion carried.

Staff Reports:
Melanie Brunson, DC Area Office

  • Brunson acknowledged Eric Bridges by presenting him with a five-year pin for his service to ACB. 
  • A decision has been made regarding the hiring of an Executive Assistant; once all background checks have been completed, the name will be announced.
  • Another meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization will occur regarding international exchange of accessible books.  Brunson is optimistic that agreement has been reached on some critical issues.
  • The 2013 mid year meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn in Arlington, VA, following the President's Day weekend in February.  The date is February 22, 2013.

Development Report, Steven Obremski

  • membership donations have been up considerably. 
  • A new database to help manage donors will soon be online.
  • A relationship has been established with a new direct mail house, and there will be a direct mail sent in the near future.
  • Except for the Aid Association of the Blind in  DC, no foundation support has been received.  This Association granted $15,000 to assist in developing employment programs for the Federal Government.
  • There was an over-all decrease in giving to non profits of about 39% nationwide.  However, ACB sent speakers to many events, and ACB did not see a decrease in over-all donations.  ACB and Human Services Charities of America brought in 23% of all funding.
  • ACB is applying for State Employee Combined Campaigns, which is similar to the Federal campaign.
  • Development of a corporate advisory council is under way.  The convention will vote on this during one of its general sessions.

Braille Forum, Sharon Lovering

  • email subscribers have risen while other formats have declined.  This tells us that many readers are transferring their subscription to email.
  • Lieberg again asked for a more concise, less narrative Editor's report and again asked that the Board receive it prior to the actual Board meeting.  Other Board members agreed.

Governmental Affairs and Advocacy, Eric Bridges

  • Reviewed successes in this legislative year.
  • All resolutions adopted from last year have been addressed during the year.
  • The FDA Safety and Innovation Act has been passed by the Senate and is on its way to the President for signature.  Bridges will let us know when the President signs that important legislation dealing with accessible drug labeling.
  • Bridges expressly thanked members of the Environmental Access Committee for its work regarding accessible rights of way and other environmental access concerns.  He also noted that the Pedestrian Safety handbook is now online as a living document.
  • Apple will be attending this year's conference; this is significant since Apple does not usually attend non technical conferences.

Minneapolis Office, Lane Waters

  • Office staff have been preparing for convention since February, and will be working on convention items until September. 
  • The audit has been completed, and the tax return is nearly done.  Waters thanked his dedicated and experience staff for all the hard work they have done. Charlson and Brunson commended the staff in the Minnesota office for their outstanding work and support relating to the work of the Scholarship Committee

Trott moved and Campbell seconded acceptance of this report, and that motion carried.

Treasurer's Report, Lane Waters for Carla Ruschival

Total Revenue:  $369,026
Total expenses:  $518,745, leaving a net deficit of $-149,718.
Net deficit of operations:  $-149,718
Non operating income $74,120
Total net deficit:  -$75,599.

Charlson moved to amend the budget to transfer up to $1,000 to the other travel to be established from the BANA line item; Gray seconded, and the motion carried.
Campbell moved acceptance of this report; Colley seconded, and the motion carried.

Board thank you calls to donors, Mitch Pomerantz

In general, Board members felt this effort is worthwhile; many had to leave voice mail, and Obremski stated that if Board members leave their contact information voice mail messages are appropriate.  He stressed the importance of keeping our name in front of the public. 

Leadership Institute, Berl Colley

Colley thanked the members of the planning committee.  It was the over-all feeling that the Institute went very well and should be continued.  Dillon moved and Thom seconded acceptance of this report.

At 12:10 PM, Campbell moved and Lieberg seconded that the Board move to executive session to discuss legal and fiduciary matters.  That motion carried.

At 2:10 PM, Gray moved and Campbell seconded a motion to return to open session, and that motion carried.
Pomerantz reported that two legal matters were discussed, as well as some staffing and affiliate issues.  One motion regarding a voluntary change in hours was passed.

Convention Report, Janet Dickelman

  • Most things are going very well. 
  • Approximately 200 persons pre-registered by phone, and approximately 800 pre-registrations were received in all.

Gray requested that the Convention Committee look at its policy of charging for convention events.
Lieberg moved and Campbell seconded acceptance of this report and that motion carried.

Oral History Committee, Berl Colley

Colley requested a broader scope for the Oral History Project which will enable the Committee to work with older tapes from various banquets and past conventions.  Pomerantz agreed, and asked Colley to approach Waters about some tapes just found in the Minneapolis office and how best these tapes, which are very old, can be handled.

Implementation of Strategic Plan, Mitch Pomerantz

  • Chris Gray reported on goal 1, strengthening communications and marketing of ACB.    Two meetings have been held.  Gray stated that this particular goal is very broad, and that sometimes recommendations which may be made seem to be in conflict with other processes.  Gray has a written report and will send it to the Board list. 
  • Marsha Farrow reported on goal 2, strengthening ACB's fundraising efforts.    She feels the goals have been covered and need to be well monitored, but the goal is well under way.
  • Kim Charlson reported on goal 3, developing and implementing a plan to strengthen paid staff and volunteer help.  There was a concern to upgrade and look and feel of the office.  Office furniture has been replaced where necessary.  The next area of concern will be evaluating security at the national office.
  • Paul Edwards reported on Goal 4, to review and recommend modifications of the over-all structure of ACB to maximize its work performance.  Edwards requested others volunteer to work on this goal with him; Dillon, Pomerantz, Campbell,  and Thom were added to the goal working group.  .

At 3:06 PM, Gray moved and Dillon seconded that the meeting adjourn and this motion carried.

Marlaina Lieberg

Submitted:  08-24-2012
Approved:  09-15-2012

This webpage was updated March 4, 2013.