July 4, 2009, Board Meeting Minutes

American Council of the Blind
Pre-Convention Board of Directors Meeting
July 4, 2009

The July 4, 2009 Pre-convention meeting of the Board of Directors was called to order at the Rosen Center Hotel in Orlando, FL at 11:05 A.M. At the call of the roll, the following members of the Board of Directors were present:

Pomerantz, Charlson, Dillon, Lieberg, Godino, Gray, Colley, Sheehan, Thom, Trott Vloedman and Edwards. Staff present was Eric Bridges. President Pomerantz reminded the Board that many of those not present at the call of the roll were participants in the 5K walk/run, and would be joining us shortly. An introduction of visitors present revealed approximately 20 persons in attendance from various ACB affiliates. (Secretary’s note: all board members not present at the call of the roll arrived within 15 minutes of the call of the roll; thus it should be noted that all members of the Board of Directors and relevant staff including Brunson and Waters were present.)

Paul Edwards moved and Michael Godino seconded the adoption of the meeting agenda as read; that motion carried.

Edwards moved and Godino seconded approval of the May 21 Board of Directors Teleconference minutes; that motion carried./p>

President’s Report: Walk-a-Thon. Brenda Dillon reported a total of 57 participants, 10 of which were virtual walkers. The expenses totaled $965, and the event brought in approximately $22,000.

Membership Committee Report. In the absence of Ardis Bazyn, Membership Chair, the membership report was presented by Dillon. The Connecticut affiliate will be seated this year after several years absence. The membership Committee, having identified no leadership potential in Idaho, recommended that the board revoke the Idaho Charter. Edwards moved this recommendation be accepted and Ray Campbell seconded the motion. during discussion, several Board members raised concerns about revoking the charter and questioned what actions the Committee took to attempt to identify potential leadership in Idaho. Dillon responded that the leads they were given either did not pan out, or individuals were not interested in taking leadership roles. Edwards withdrew this motion with the agreement of Campbell, and instead moved that the charter be temporarily suspended and that the Board discuss this with the Membership Committee Chair in detail at the Post Convention Board Meeting. Chris Gray seconded this motion, and the motion carried.

Schools for the Blind Task Force. Pomerantz raised the issue of the problems arising from closure and attempted closure of schools for the blind. Because such closures remove choices for appropriate education, guaranteed by IDEA, Pomerantz proposed the establishment of a Schools for the Blind Task Force. Members of this Task Force would be: Ray Campbell (Illinois), John Huffman (Indiana), Mark Reichert (AFB), Carla Ruschival (Kentucky), Kay Seth (Oregon), Robert Spangler (Iowa), Stewart Whitenstein (Superintendent, California School for the Blind and president of the organization which represents schools for the blind.) Campbell moved and Keith seconded the establishment of this task force, and that motion carried. Pomerantz requested that Campbell chair this Task Force; Campbell agreed.

Database management program. Gray reported that all back end work has been completed. The programmer has all necessary programs and specs. Lieberg requested a date by which the database would be complete; Gray was unable to provide an actual date. Godino stated that some affiliates are waiting for completion of this database before they develop their own and urged that completion be sooner rather than later. Dillon expressed that the Membership committee recommends having this project completed by the next Dues period. Gray agreed that this time period would be a reasonable goal for completion, but stressed it would be a goal and not a definite completion date. Jeff Thom asked what amount of money would be needed to purchase the necessary resources to complete this project with a hard and fast deadline; Gray responded that he felt about $20,000 would be necessary. Lieberg moved that the recommendation of the Membership Committee be accepted, with a completion date of January 1, 2010, and that Gray present an interim report at the Fall Board Meeting. Godino seconded and the motion carried after a roll call vote.

Ratification of previous Board email vote to join litigation related to the Kindle 2. Pomerantz reviewed the situation surrounding this litigation. Edwards moved to ratify the previous Board vote taken by email; Dillon seconded, and the motion carried. Gray stressed that the membership be clearly told that most Board members would have preferred to wait until convention to decide this issue, but the deadline by which ACB could participate was June 24, prior to convention. Edwards moved that the ACB Board of Directors amend its budget by adding $25,000 to the expense side of the budget. The motion was seconded by Thom, and the motion carried. Edwards moved and Campbell seconded acceptance of the President’s Report; the motion carried.

Staff reports: Melanie Brunson reported that staff have had a number of meetings with White House staff regarding healthcare initiatives and other disability-related issues. There has been extensive work behind the scenes on the issue of quiet cars. Barbara laMoine, formerly with AFB, will be joining the ACB staff to work with administrative issues and to assist Eric. Sharon Lovering reported that the communication Center was going very well. Lieberg noted that her report recommends outsourcing the editing of convention recordings, and asked that Sharon check with ACB Radio before outsourcing the work. Eric Bridges reviewed each resolution passed last year, and reported that all 2008 resolutions have been addressed as prescribed. Pomerantz requested that Bridges compose an article for the Forum, essentially sharing the information in his report to the Board. Work continues on the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, and we will soon have a plea from Bridges to encourage our members to contact their representatives to request co-sponsorship of our bill. Dena Wilson reported that we have received a total of $22,250.00 in various small grants funding. Our direct mail campaigned has already brought in enough to cover postage costs, and we are now benefitting from income from this program. Other grant proposals are outstanding, and these total about $59,000. Waters reported that staffing is going very well in the Minnesota office. all accessibility issues faced by Catalina Roisum, a blind staff member in that office have been resolved. The auditors expressed concern that Waters had access to the general ledger; he has removed himself from that ledger and added Roisum instead. Roisum is also assisting with registration at convention. Godino moved acceptance of the staff report, Trott seconded that motion and the motion carried.

Treasurer’s report, Michael Godino. the figures for May, 2009 show Inflows equaling $549,411.00 and Outflows equaling $499,157.00. Our total assets equal $1,582,333.00. Gray moved acceptance of this report, Edwards seconded that motion and the motion carried.

ACBES Report, Michael Garrett Most stores are doing well; other non profit stores are closing, and managers are taking full advantage of this through advertising. This should attract more business to our stores. The Louisville store shows promise, and our store in Detroit is showing promise as well. Despite the economy, the stores are in a better position this year than they were at this time last year. Trott moved acceptance of this report and Campbell seconded that motion; the motion carried.

Board of Publications, (BOP) Paul Edwards. The BOP meets monthly and is working well together. Edwards reported that ACB Radio is doing well. Larry Turnbull has taken over as volunteer Managing Director as a result of budgetary decisions. The transition has gone well; a management team consisting of Lieberg, Gray, Edwards and Pomerantz (as an ex officio member) meets monthly with Turnbull to discuss and address any issues of concern.

ACB website. A task force has been established to review and when necessary, update or make changes to the ACB web site.

ACB is now in a place where for the first time in history, the ACB program is featured on Newsline. Berl Colley chairs the committee working on making as much content as possible available and accessible via DAISY. Edwards commended Berl and his committee for its hard work.

Mr. Gormley (MO) asked why there have been no reports in the Braille Forum reviewing each Board meeting over the past year. Edwards responded that he had these documents, and intended to make them available. He indicated there would be an article in a future Braille Forum to let members know where to find these. Pomerantz recommended that these reports begin to appear in issues of the Braille Forum in September. Edwards indicated this issue would be discussed during the BOP meeting, to be held on July 5. Pomerantz asked that the BOP consider his recommendation. Campbell and Godino moved acceptance of this report; that motion carried.

ADP report, Joel Snyder. The Audio Description project was responsible for providing description of the inauguration of Barack Obama. Further, the Project provided description for a documentary about the life of President Obama. A version of The Miracle Worker has been described and can be purchased on DVD; ACB receives a percentage of each purchase. Additionally, the Project has provided description for a documentary on Morgantown West Virginia. US Department of Education grant funds for descriptive video will be restored in 2010, and Snyder feels ACB stands a good chance of receiving the $500,000 funding requested. Lieberg moved and Godino seconded acceptance of this report; the motion carried.

Convention Report. Edwards moved and Godino seconded referral of the convention report to the post convention board meeting. that motion carried.

ACB Radio Larry Turnbull. Two new programs have been added to Mainstream. Turnbull expects ACB Radio to be completely moved to the newer and more powerful server by mid August. Turnbull is recruiting program providers, and intends to increase live content on all appropriate streams. Campbell moved acceptance of this report, and Godino seconded that motion; the motion carried.

Draft of Board Handbook, Kim Charlson. Charlson reported ‘that there is a tentative outline for what the book should look like, and it should be ready no later than October, 2009. David Trott moved and Campbell seconded acceptance of this report; the motion carried.

Lieberg moved and Campbell seconded adjournment at 3:15 PM, and that motion carried.

Marlaina Lieberg
Submitted August 13, 2009
Approved September 12, 2009