by Winifred Downing

(Author's Note: The duties of the BOP liaison member of the ACB board of directors were assigned to me in January because of the illness of the person who held this position in July 2004. Somehow this unusual circumstance has had as one of its consequences failure to communicate to me board functions routinely, including the telephone conference call of May 11. I am constructing a summary, therefore, from the secretary's minutes and conversations with participants.)

President Chris Gray called the meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 11. Absent were Downing and Pomerantz. Along with the other officers and directors, Melanie Brunson, executive director, was present.

Financial Matters: Because PriceWaterhouse could not complete the audit this year, the executive committee voted to have the work done by Meyer, Hoffman and McCann with the hope that the additional cost would not exceed $3,000. The total amount of the audit would be $38,000, the cost to be shared with ACBES. Brian Charlson's motion to ratify the action taken by the executive committee passed.

Brunson reported on her visit to the Minneapolis office and discussion with the staff there, and Paul Edwards moved that she and other appropriate people be authorized to hire a temporary manager for the Minneapolis office as soon as possible. The motion carried. It was decided that the store managers would have a meeting prior to the opening session of the national convention. To provide an opportunity for them to meet with the ACB officers and board members, Edwards offered his suite for a reception late Sunday afternoon.

Gray reported that Brunson had been able to secure a list of possible donors for the direct mail campaign, and 50,000 letters were mailed in late April with the intention of having two more test mailings this summer.

Awards: First Vice President M.J. Schmitt moved that the Distinguished Service Award be renamed the James R. Olsen Distinguished Service Award, and the motion was approved.

Jacksonville, Fla. Convention: Carla Ruschival received a call from the Hyatt Hotel in Jacksonville explaining that another convention had been scheduled at the same time as the ACB 2006 convention. The manager suggested that, if the council agreed to meet from July 8-15, advantageous monetary concessions would be made, and Charlson introduced a motion to authorize the site selection coordinator to enter into negotiations to that effect with a report to the board of directors at the pre-convention meeting in Las Vegas on July 2. A voice vote approved the motion.

Litigation: Responding to Pat Sheehan's request for a discussion on how ACB reaches decisions concerning litigation, Edwards moved that, as envisioned in Robert's Rules of Order and in the practice followed by non- profit organizations, the board be required to approve any litigation prior to the serious investigation of such litigation. The motion carried.

Resource Development Committee: Trott reported that the time share auction was progressing nicely, with the latest bid at $700. The committee suggested that, in future conventions, a bowling tournament be held with the involvement of the specific affiliate hosting the convention.

Final Notes: The board discussed the National Association of Blind Students' need for help in gaining members, and Schmitt promised time at the pre-convention board meeting to provide some assistance.

Actions Planned by the Executive Director: Brunson stated that a class action suit may be instituted against the Social Security Administration for failure to provide material in accessible formats. Edwards moved that the board authorize Brunson to enter into negotiations with DREDF with the view of becoming an organizational plaintiff in the suit. The motion carried.

Brunson also reported that a rally would be held on May 26 in Washington, D.C. in front of the Department of Education building in opposition to proposed changes in the Department of Rehabilitation. With assistance offered by Edwards and Charlson, Brunson will develop a document to be circulated among those attending the rally to explain the problems resulting from the suggested changes. JoAnn Wilson, former RSA commissioner, said that the NFB wanted a speaker from ACB to be present at the rally, already supported by 15 sponsors. Gray will send an announcement to the leadership list requesting participants in the rally.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

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