The August 31, 2021, conference call meeting of the Board of Directors of the American council of the Blind was called to order at 8:00 PM EDT by President Dan Spoone.
At the call of the roll, the following Board members were present: Dan Spoone, Deb Cook Lewis, Ray Campbell, Denise Colley, David Trott, Kim Charlson, Jeff Bishop, Chris Bell, Donna Brown, Jim Kracht, Doug Powell, Kenneth Semien, Pat Sheehan, Koni Sims, Michael Talley and Jeff Thom. Board of Publications Member Penny Reeder was present representing that body.
Staff present: Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director, Clark Rachfal, ACB Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs, Cindy Hollis, ACB Membership Services Coordinator, Kolby Garrison, Membership Services Administrative Assistant, Kelly Gasque, Multimedia Design Specialist, and Nancy Marks-Becker, ACB Chief Financial Officer.
Guests: Gabe Griffith, Rene Zelickson, Susan Glass, Paul Edwards, DeAnn Elliott, Margie Donovan, Dorene Cornwell, Judy Brown, Karyn Campbell, Patricia Tusing, Melanie Brunson, Katie Frederick, and Janet Dickelman, ACB convention coordinator.
Contractors present: Rick Morin, ACB Media Technical Director.
Approval of Agenda: Dan Spoone, President
President Spoone reviewed the agenda. An item number 9 was added to the agenda to include an executive session to address one important topic. It was moved by Trott and seconded by Brown to approve the agenda. The motion carried.
Mission Moment: Dan Spoone and Eric Bridges
This Mission Moment focused on thanking everyone who worked so hard to pull off our first ever remote elections. Dan especially thanked Nancy Becker, who served as our Supervisor of Elections; Rick Morin, for all the technical work he did pulling together all the different Zoom rooms, Deb Cook Lewis, for stepping in at the very last minute to run the special election session on August 14-15, and the overall management of the voting process;, the Voting Task Force and its members for the hard work they put in over 30 different informational sessions to help members understand how the whole voting process would work at this year’s convention; The Constitution and Bylaws Committee for all their work in drafting the amendments necessary to align ACB’s meeting and voting practices with the provisions of the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act of 2010; and Denise Irminger, our Parliamentarian, who stepped in and guided us through a unique set of steps to be accomplished to get our remote voting process approved by our membership. Dan also gave a special thank you to all ACB members, who engaged in the democratic process with enthusiasm and inclusiveness.
Eric highlighted the work done by Nancy Becker at the beginning of the year to identify our different voting options and services, and the meetings that the Voting Task Force held to map out the process. The communications component of this entire process was critical in supporting what ACB undertook to make the historic voting process work.
President’s Announcements: Dan Spoone
ACB Fall Board Meeting in Omaha:
A poll of the Board was taken, and seven Board members will be attending the fall 2021 Board meeting in Omaha in person. The remaining board members will be attending virtually. Board training will be held on Friday, October 8, beginning at 2:00 PM ET, and the Saturday, October 9 Board meeting will be held from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM ET.
Election of the 2022 ACB Budget Committee:
The election of our 2022 Budget Committee will take place at the September 29 resolutions telephonic Board meeting. Anyone who has an interest in serving on the Budget Committee needs to let President Spoone know prior to that meeting.
Resolutions and Voting Task Forces 2.0:
President Spoone will be forming a new Resolutions Task Force 2.0 and a new Voting Task Force 2.0, and the members of those committees will be announced at the Fall Board meeting. Any officers or Board members interested in serving on either of those Task Forces should let Dan know.
Update on 2022 DC Leadership Conference:
The hotel contract has been signed for the 2022 DC Leadership Conference. The Conference will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Old Town Alexandria. The hotel is across the street from the King Street Metro Station. The hotel has sufficient meeting space and a full-service Starbucks inside. There is no airport shuttle to the hotel, but there is a trolley that goes directly in front of the hotel and all the way down King Street. The dates of the Conference are March 11-14, 2022 with the Hill day on March 15. Room rates are $119 per night.
ACB Committee Member Solicitation:
A solicitation has been sent out through Constant Contact for members interested in serving on an ACB committee. He has received over 40 responses so far. Those interested in serving should let President Spoone know of their committee preference. Also, with 4 new Board members, Dan will be working on getting them assigned to the various Program Steering Committees.
Since the fall Board meeting is going to be hybrid, Campbell asked if we could consider electing the Executive Committee at our September 29 telephonic Board meeting. If time allows, this will be considered.
Appointment of Public Relations Committee Chair:
Since Katie Frederick, our former Public Relations Committee chair is the new chair of the Board of Publications, Deb Cook Lewis, the former BOP chair has expressed an interest in serving in this role. Trott moved and Powell seconded the motion. Deb was unanimously elected.
Review and Approval of 2021 ACB Resolutions Part 1:
Resolution 2021-02: Apple Updates
Concern was expressed that the Information Access Committee already has a very vibrant relationship with Apple, and has direct communication with top leadership within Apple to raise any concerns. If people have specific accessibility issues to be brought to Apple’s attention, as opposed to generalities, this would be more productive.
An edit to the fifth Whereas clause was recommended to add the phrase “complete essential employment tasks”. This addition was considered a friendly amendment by the author of the resolution and the Resolutions Committee.
It was moved by Campbell and seconded by Powell to refer this resolution back to the Information Access Committee to more specifically address areas of concern that were identified. The motion passed with two no votes.
Resolution 2021-3: The Inaccessibility of the Pentair Screenlogic Connect App for Pools and Spas
Several edits were suggested as friendly amendments. The first was to remove the words “if necessary” from the last Resolve clause. The second was to add the word “residential” before “pool and spa owners in the first Whereas clause.
The Resolution failed with a vote of 8 no and 7 yes. California will continue working on this issue, as the originator of the resolution, along with assistance from the ACB Information Access Committee.
Resolution 2021-11: PBS Audio Descriptive Content
The Resolution was unanimously passed by the Board.
Resolution 2021-12: Accessible Telehealth
An amendment was offered that would change the wording of the first Resolve clause to say “that all health care practitioners using telehealth offer an accessible WCAG-compliant telehealth option, and an alternative which provides effective communication for the individual.
An amendment was offered to the 5th Whereas clause by adding “Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” in front of Section 504 of the Rehab Act in the list of Federal statutes involved.
The Resolution with the two friendly amendments was unanimously passed by the Board.
Resolution 2021-13: DOT Air Travel Forms
A friendly amendment was offered to add an additional Resolve clause which says “that the Airlines make completion of service dog travel forms an integral part of the normal booking process. This was considered a friendly amendment.
The resolution as amended was passed unanimously by the Board.
Resolution 2021-15: Recognizing the American Foundation for the Blind in light of its Centennial was proposed.
The Resolution was passed unanimously by the Board.
Resolution 2021-16: Accessible programs at the VA
An Amendment to the second Whereas clause by removing the term “speech to text software” and replacing it with the term “speech recognition software”. This was considered a friendly amendment.
There was considerable discussion and a difference of opinion around what was being conveyed in the resolution.
It was moved by Powell and seconded by Thom to refer this Resolution back to the Resolutions Committee for needed additional edits, and then bring it back to the Board at the September 29 meeting. The motion passed.
Resolution 2021-22: Text-to-Speech and the Voicing of Audio Description
There was discussion around whether those in the audio description industry would understand the term “text to speech”. A friendly amendment was made to put the term synthesized speech in parenthesis after the first time the term text to speech is used in the resolution. The term TTS also needs to be spelled out the first time it is used.
There was then discussion as to what state affiliates could do or what impact they could really have related to this issue. A friendly amendment was made and accepted to remove the second Resolve clause relating to state affiliates from the Resolution.
The Resolution as amended passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-23: Conference Requirements for Accessible Materials
Concern was expressed about the broadness of the scope of this Resolution and how it could ever be enforced, given the number of conferences that take place each year. It was felt that the scope of this resolution is too broad and too unmanageable. In order to have any impact, the focus would need to be more specific. Since concerns about the CSUN conference are specifically mentioned, this would be a good place to start, and if we were to be successful, they could then be a good example to share with other conference venues.
A friendly amendment was proposed and accepted to remove the first and third Resolve clauses and keep the second Resolve which specifically deals with concerns about CSUN.
A minor wording change was recommended to replace the term WCAG 2.0/3.0 in the third Whereas clause with the term “current WCAG standards”.
The Resolution as amended was passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-24: ACB Permanent Broadband Benefit Resolution
This Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-25: Accommodations Provided to Olympic and Paralympic Athletes with Disabilities
It was pointed out that the USOPC does not sponsor Olympic competitions and events, they sanction them. Thus, the term sponsored in the third Resolve clause was replaced with the term “sanctioned” for consistency.
A friendly amendment was made and accepted that the Resolution be revised to remove any reference to Title III of the ADA and allow for the rest of the language about accommodations to remain.
The Resolution as amended passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-33: Teddie-Joy's Law
The Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2021-35: E-Reader Prioritization for Deafblind Patrons
An amendment to the wording of the Whereas clause was made and accepted as follows: “that the board of directors of the American Counsel of the Blind, calls upon NLS to prioritize distribution of this new braille e-reader by revising LC/NLS policy to allow network libraries to provide secondary preference to braille reading NLS patrons who are blind and have a severe hearing impairment”.
The reason for the recommendation of this language comes from a standard for the NLS Talking Book Libraries authored by the American Library Association. This standard allows for the giving of primary and secondary preference. The language being recommended infers that NLS has the policy-making authority to determine that deafblind individuals can be given secondary preference for receiving the e-reader. Presently, iving blind and severely hearing-impaired patrons priority is not being done.
The Resolution as amended was passed with one no vote.
It was moved by Campbell that the Board recess into Executive Session for the purpose of discussion of one item as outlined by the president. The motion carried and the Board moved into executive session at 11:56PM EDT.
Campbell moved and Trott seconded the motion that the board return to open session. The motion carried.
The board returned to open session at 12:35AM EDT. The president reported out that the board received an update about a specific situation and there were no motions made during the executive session.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:35PM EDT.