Minutes of the American Council of the Blind 2013 Post Convention Board of Directors Meeting

The meeting was called to order by President Kim Charlson at 10:03 a.m. Friday, July 12, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.  At the call of the roll, all board members were present:  Kim Charlson, Jeff Thom, Marlaina Lieberg, Ray Campbell, Carla Ruschival, Mitch Pomerantz, Berl Colley, Sara Conrad, Janet Dickelman, Michael Garrett, George Holliday, John McCann, Allan Peterson, Patrick Sheehan, Dan Spoone, and David Trott.  Board of Publications Representative:  Denise Colley.  Staff present:  Melanie Brunson, Lane Waters and Eric Bridges.  After roll call was taken, the news was shared that Brenda Dillon had passed away after a long illness.  A moment of silence was observed in Brenda's honor.  Following that, several guests introduced themselves.

Following guest introductions, Lauren Carter and Christa Highley from the Greater Columbus Convention Center addressed the board.  They thanked ACB for having our convention in Columbus, and received a round of applause from all in attendance for the great job they and the rest of their staff had done to accommodate ACB's needs.

Review of Agenda:  Kim reviewed the agenda.  Marlaina Lieberg asked if the ACB Radio Report could be moved before the President's report as ACB Radio Managing Director Larry Turnbull needed to leave early from the hotel.  Berl Colley asked to add a brief Leadership Institute report.  This item was placed after the ACB Conference and Convention report.  Melanie Brunson asked to add one additional item of new business.  Lieberg moved, and Conrad seconded approval of the agenda as amended, the motion carried.

Larry Turnbull, managing director, next gave the ACB Radio Report.  He stated that they had had a good experience during the Columbus convention.  He provided listener counts broken down by convention session or workshops.  Overall, listenership was up from 2012, except for the opening session where we were down.  We received some nice feedback from listeners.  Larry indicated that all of the convention sessions and workshops which were either streamed live or recorded would be available on the ACB Radio Archives which can be accessed at www.acbradio.org/acb, click on 2013 link, then access general sessions under one heading, workshops under a second heading.  The ACB Radio website has been converted into Drupal and has undergone a makeover, with Live Events and World News streams added.  Larry acknowledged the team which helped him with ACB Radio coverage this year.
Lieberg moved, and Pomerantz seconded  acceptance of the ACB Radio report.  The motion carried.

Jeff Thom and Mark Richert next presented the Resolutions Prioritization report.  The following resolutions were given priority 1:

  • Resolution 2013-01, Congratulating DC Council of the Blind on their 100th Anniversary.
  • Resolution 2013-02, Braille Dear Colleague letter from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Resolution 2013-04, Common Core state standards.
  • Resolution 2013-09, PDF Accessibility.
  • Resolution 2013-13, Support Repeal of 14C of Fair Labor Standards Act dealing with Sub Minimum wage.
  • Resolution 2013-14, commending Eric Bridges for his service to ACB.
  • Resolution 2013-15, safer access for pedestrians in parking lots.
  • Resolution 2013-19, Services to Older Blind.
  • Resolution 2013-20, seeking change in leadership at Guide Dogs for the Blind.
  • Resolutions 2013-22, 2013-23 and 2013-24, 2013 ACB Conference and Convention thank you resolutions.

Resolutions receiving a Priority 2 include:

  • Resolution 2013-05, asking for harmonization of DOJ and DOT service animal regulations.
  • Resolution 2013-06, Thanking Amazon for Kindle App accessibility, urging further efforts.
  • Resolution 2013-08, tying Social Security Benefits to Chain Consumer Price Index.
  • Resolution 2013-10, affects of Sequestration on workers who are blind.
  • Resolution 2013-12, denial of affiliation of Blind Pride of Texas with ACB of Texas, Priority 2, referred to Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
  • Resolution 2013-16, Vendors and requirements to sell healthy snacks.
  • Resolution 2013-17, Diabetes Testing and Availability of test strips.
  • Resolution 2013-18, urging guide dog schools to include more graduate input in decision making.
  • Resolution 2013-21, local voting accessibility.

Finally, these resolutions received a priority 3:

  • Resolution 2013-03, regarding the TEACH act.
  • Resolution 2013-07, urging greater accessibility to CAPTCHAs.
  • Resolution 2013-11, copyright reform issue.

McCann moved, and Lieberg seconded approval of the Resolutions Prioritization report as presented.  The motion carried.

President's report:  President Charlson repeated the appointments she has made to the ACB Board of Publications.  They are Denise Colley as Chair, and Ron Brooks as Appointed member.  She indicated that she will be taking Immediate Past President Pomerantz's list of current committee chairs and his recommendations as she works to appoint ACB committees.  She also indicated she wants to expand the role of Officer Liaison to include directors as well.

At this point, 22 individuals from various departments with the Hyatt Regency Columbus hotel spoke with the board.  These included Andy Taylor, main Convention contact and Steve Stewart, General Manager.  All individuals introduced themselves and told us which department they work in.  They thanked us and received a round of applause and thanks from the board for the excellent job they had done during our convention, many helping out on their own time.

Back to the President's report, President Charlson reminded us that the Fall Board Meeting will take place on Saturday, September 28 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is planning on just a one day board meeting, and will have an answer by July 19 if there is going to be any board training on Friday, September 27 prior to the meeting.  Finally, she reiterated the dates of the 2014 midyear Board meeting, President's meeting and Legislative Seminar in Washington, DC.  They are February 21-25, 2014.  Janet will start talking with her contacts in Dallas about possible dates for the Fall, 2014 board meeting.  It was suggested the board contact affiliates who have not been represented at recent midyear meetings to encourage them to send people.

Lieberg moved, and Holliday seconded acceptance of the President's report. The motion carried.

Development Director's report:  Tom Tobin, ACB Development Director joined by phone.  He, Melanie Brunson and Jo Steigerwald whom ACB has engaged to assist with grant writing per Tom’s recommendation will be meeting to review grant opportunities, some of which have August 1 due dates.  Tom has developed a five page plan to generate additional revenue.  He reported that the last direct mail appeal, sent out in April to 3,600 donors, has generated $5,864.55 in donations thus far with a 4.78% return rate, at a total cost of $6,000.  He recommends that our next appeal go out in late August, focusing on back to school with an end of year appeal after that.

Tom indicated if we wish to increase our mailing database to 10,800 which would be a 3-fold increase over the April appeal, we'd need to increase our budget, and he, Melanie and Lane will meet in the next 10 days to develop budget numbers.  Melanie also indicated that she, Jo and Tom have had conversations about the lay of the land in terms of grants, they need to refine it a bit and then share with the board, perhaps having Jo talk with us during the fall board meeting.  At this point, Mr. Tobin needed to leave our meeting to attend to another commitment.

Lieberg moved, and McCann seconded that we conduct a planning session either on the Friday before the Fall Board meeting or on Saturday before that meeting to develop a strategic fundraising plan for ACB.  The motion carried.  Pomerantz moved, and Lieberg seconded that we hold a teleconference board meeting within the next month with Development Director Tobin to engage in dialog with him.  The motion carried.

Resource development Committee Report:  Dan Spoone discussed the proceeds we'd received from the ACB Walk, the ACB Auction, ACB Braille Forum Raffle and Appeal for Donations during convention roll call.  In total thus far, we've received $60,000 in donations and pledges with additional dollars still coming in from the walk.  Lieberg moved, and Conrad seconded to rename the ACB Walkathon the Brenda Dillon Memorial ACB Walkathon.  The motion carried.  Lieberg moved, and Holliday seconded acceptance of the Resource Development Committee report.  The motion carried.

ACB Mini Mall report:  Carla Ruschival indicated that the ACB Mini Mall had done well during the conference and convention, bringing in between $6,000 and $7,000.  She thanked everyone for their support and all of the people who helped in the booth.  Lieberg moved, and Thom seconded acceptance of the ACB Mini Mall report.  The motion carried.

Membership Statistics Analysis:  We will discuss this item during the Fall board meeting as we need to do further analysis on data presented prior to conference and convention, and compare life member list to ACB Membership Database.

Don Stevens, ACB Parliamentarian, addressed the board.  He indicated he will be unable to work with ACB in 2014 after 10 years for personal reasons.  He thanked ACB for giving him the opportunity to learn about the organization and help ACB with parliamentary issues, helping us to do business in a more efficient manner.  The board thanked Don for his work and wished him well.

ACB Voting Task Force report:  Jeff Thom indicated the task force intends to conduct a mock telephonic vote as they work through the issue of remote voting for ACB.  This will happen after a number of logistical issues are addressed.  Campbell moved, and Lieberg seconded acceptance of the Voting Task Force report, the motion carried.

Conference and Convention Report:  Janet Dickelman indicated she would be taking suggestions on the 2013 ACB Conference and Convention, and several suggestions and questions were offered by the board.  Janet will begin to work on the 2014 Conference and Convention, which will take place from July 11-19, 2014 at the Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Finally, she will begin working with Dallas for 2015, dates of July 3-11, 2015.  Campbell moved, and Conrad seconded acceptance of the Conference and Convention report.  The motion carried.

Leadership Institute Committee Report:  Berl Colley indicated plans are underway for a second national leadership training to be held on Friday, July 11, 2014 in Las Vegas.  It will be a similar format to the 2012 training in Louisville.  He stressed we need to let our affiliates know about this soon so those interested in attending can plan on being there.
ACB Budget Committee Election:  Lieberg moved, and Dickelman seconded the election of Berl Colley, Carla Ruschival and Dan Spoone to the 2013-14 ACB Budget Committee by acclamation, the motion carried.

2013-14 Executive Committee Election:  Following caucuses by both the ACB Officers and Directors, the following were announced as the 2013-14 ACB Executive Committee:  President Kim Charlson, Officers: First Vice President Jeff Thom, and Immediate Past President Mitch Pomerantz, Directors:  Sara Conrad and Dan Spoone.

Officer Liaison Reports:  All of the committees did very well.  Many offered programming during the 2013 Conference and Convention, or presented their work in other ways.  Campbell moved, and Trott seconded acceptance of the Officer Liaison Reports, the motion carried.

New Business:  Melanie Brunson reminded us that as board members, we need to be careful what we discuss with whom as she has become aware of people who know details about issues being discussed in Executive Sessions.  She indicated if we are not careful, the result could be an increase in the cost of ACB's liability insurance if we would be sued due to a breach of confidence, not to mention there are laws in all 50 states regarding breach of confidentiality.

Secretary Campbell indicated that he'll be sending out a request once the board list is updated for board members' contact information so he can put together a Board Contact list.

Dan Spoone asked that we have a discussion of officers and board members adopting affiliates to help strengthen our relationships with them, and that such discussion take place during the fall board meeting.

McCann moved, and Lieberg seconded to adjourn the meeting.  The motion carried and the Post Convention Board Meeting adjourned at 2:27 p.m.

Ray Campbell,

Date Submitted:  7/25/2013
Date Approved:  8/21/2013