President Chris Gray called the board of directors meeting to order at 8:10 p.m. Eastern time on Jan. 4, 2007. Secretary Donna Seliger then called the roll. All board members were present except for Naomi Soule. Also present on the call were Melanie Brunson, Michael Garrett and Lane Waters.
Paul Edwards moved that the meeting agenda be adopted as amended; the board approved. Mitch Pomerantz moved to approve the minutes of the Nov. 6, 2006 meeting. M.J. Schmitt moved to recess the ACB board meeting and convene a meeting of American Council of the Blind Enterprises and Services (ACBES).
When the ACB board reconvened at 9:47 p.m., Gray reported that the following matters had taken place during the ACBES meeting. Michael Garrett and Lane Waters had reported that ACBES was holding its own financially, but that some ongoing problems continue to plague operations at certain store locations. Ed Bradley moved to accept the report given by Michael Garrett and Lane Waters. Gray reported further that ACBES had then turned its attention to filling three seats on the board. Paul Edwards nominated LeRoy Saunders; Carla Ruschival nominated Oral Miller; and Ray Campbell nominated M.J. Schmitt. All three were elected by acclamation. Paul Edwards moved to adjourn the ACBES meeting and reconvene the ACB board meeting.
As the ACB board meeting reconvened, Ed Bradley moved that Michael Garrett be included in any future announcements pertaining to ACB board meetings. Melanie Brunson then updated the board on news from the national office. She reported that the most important development was the ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson in the lawsuit brought by ACB against the Department of the Treasury seeking that the U.S. Treasury make differing denominations of U.S. currency accessible to and identifiable by blind and visually impaired Americans. Judge Robertson ruled that the Department of the Treasury was in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for its failure to make U.S. currency accessible to and identifiable by blind and visually impaired Americans. Brunson stated that she remains hopeful about moving some of ACB's legislative initiatives in the new Congressional session.
Lane Waters then presented the Minneapolis office report. He stated that while all of the paperwork related to the 2006 national convention was virtually completed, special-interest affiliates had not yet received reimbursement checks. He indicated that this would be accomplished as expeditiously as possible. He also reported that for the past year -- 2006 --revenues to ACB exceeded budgetary estimations, and ACB expenditures were less than budgetary estimations.
Waters then discussed the need to obtain a resolution in writing from the board authorizing him to deal with and do business with financial institutions which are refusing to recognize him as an authorized representative of ACB for such purposes. Paul Edwards moved that the ACB and ACBES boards adopt the following resolution: "Resolved that Lane Waters, comptroller of this corporation, be hereby fully authorized and empowered to transfer, endorse, sell, assign, settle and deliver any and all annuities, shares of stock, bonds, debentures, notes, evidences of indebtedness or other securities now and hereafter standing in the name of or owned by this corporation, and necessary or proper to effectuate the authority hereby conferred under the direction of the president or the executive director."
Billie Jean Keith then discussed the white paper setting forth ACB's philosophy and principles regarding rehabilitation of blind and visually impaired people in the U.S., which had been sent to board members for their review on Dec. 26, 2006. Ed Bradley moved to approve the written report of the rehabilitation task force. Bradley then moved that ACB utilize the now- approved rehabilitation white paper in its education, training and public relations efforts, and that the task force be the entity designated to develop plans and strategies designed to disseminate the paper.
Paul Edwards moved that the task force broaden its purview with the view of trying to develop its dissemination plan for the white paper, and to have its dissemination plan ready for review and action by the board by April. Edwards then moved that the ACB board authorize the creation of a rehabilitation council distribution list which would be a closed list whose membership would consist of the ACB board, members of the rehabilitation task force, such other individuals as the president shall determine, and all ACB members currently serving on state rehabilitation councils, and that, in addition, the board authorize the planning and holding of a telephone conference call once every two months that would be hosted by the president or his designee in order to provide an opportunity for discussion of rehabilitation issues with ACB members serving on state rehabilitation councils. The board accepted the task force's report.
Gray then led a discussion about the accessible currency online petition that an ACB member, Michael Malver from Minnesota, had written and put on a web site for everyone to sign. Edwards moved to direct the president to put out a note on the leadership list as well as on the ACB-L list and in such other places as the president deems appropriate, acknowledging the existence of the online petition and urging people to sign it. The board approved.
The board next discussed a survey regarding the accessible currency issue that has been made available by the American Foundation for the Blind. Edwards suggested that ACB prepare and distribute its own survey with a more generic approach. Gray indicated that he would like to have a few individuals volunteer to work on developing such a survey. Those who volunteered were Paul Edwards, Melanie Brunson and M.J. Schmitt. The committee agreed to meet on Jan. 7, 2007, at 8 p.m. Eastern. Brunson then stated that she has not used the ACB-announce list for some time now for several reasons. Edwards, Brunson, Gray and Campbell will work together to resolve the announce list problems. Gray asked Campbell to chair this ad hoc committee, which would meet on Jan. 17. With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:58 p.m. Eastern.
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