by Charles S.P. Hodge

President Chris Gray called the meeting to order at 9:15 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 6, 2006. All members were present except for Naomi Soule, who was attending to the illness of her guide dog. Mike Duke, the board of publications chairman, was also in attendance. Gray then reviewed the draft meeting agenda, and as board members suggested amendments or corrections, he amended the agenda.

Ray Campbell moved to adopt the meeting agenda as amended. The motion carried. Each board member present introduced himself/herself to Lane Waters, ACB's new comptroller. Mitch Pomerantz moved to approve the draft minutes of the fall meeting; the board agreed.

Mike Duke reviewed with the board the nominations and judging criteria developed by and recommended by the BOP for a proposed new award intended to promote excellence and the best journalistic practices in state and special- interest affiliate publications. Charlie Hodge added that, if and when the proposed new award is established, the BOP recommends that the new award be named the Hollis K. Liggett Braille Free Press Award. Oral Miller moved that this matter be referred back to the BOP for further study and the gathering of meaningful, quantitative and factual data regarding the length, formats, number of writers and copies actually distributed of affiliate publications within ACB in order that the board may have a more realistic discussion regarding the establishment of the proposed new award. All board members approved. Paul Edwards moved that the board suggest to the BOP that it seriously consider having the proposed new award be presented to a deserving editor of an affiliate publication rather than to the affiliate publication itself as a way of garnering the necessary support among board members toward having the proposed new award established. On a voice vote, the motion carried, but not unanimously.

Mike Godino reviewed ACB's financial statements. He then moved that the board direct that a fundraising appeal letter be sent to the entire ACB membership as soon as possible. The motion carried. Melanie Brunson discussed some recent developments regarding the lobbying efforts concerning the Randolph-Sheppard program which had been spearheaded by the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind. She related that on a recent conference call, Terry Smith of NCSAB indicated that his organization could no longer afford to fund the Randolph-Sheppard program lobbying effort, and he asked for organizations in the coalition to step forward to fund this lobbying effort. Jim Gashel of the National Federation of the Blind said that his organization would contribute $40,000 toward the Randolph-Sheppard program lobbying effort.

Gray asked Ed Bradley to chair the vehicle donation committee that was created at the fall board; Bradley agreed to serve. Carla Ruschival moved to recess the board meeting and to convene a corporate membership meeting of the American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services (ACBES).

When the ACB board meeting reconvened, Gray reported for the record that during the ACBES meeting, Jeff Thom had moved, and the members agreed, that elections for the ACBES board be postponed to a later meeting to be held before the end of 2006. Paul Edwards then moved to adjourn the ACBES meeting and reconvene the ACB board meeting.

Billie Jean Keith stated that she had not yet had the opportunity to put her committee to work on the rehabilitation task force issue. The board then discussed the direct mail program. Staff indicated that the "thank you" letter authorized at the fall board of directors meeting had not yet been sent out, but that accomplishing this task would be a top priority item. With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:21 p.m. Eastern.

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