The ACB board of directors met via conference call on June 9. All board members were present except Jeff Thom and Billie Jean Keith. Despite being on vacation, executive director Melanie Brunson was also in attendance.
President Mitch Pomerantz convened the meeting at 8:38 p.m. EDT. After the agenda was adopted as submitted by Pomerantz, David Trott made a motion to approve the minutes of the midyear board meeting. The motion was seconded by Marlaina Lieberg, who thanked Ray Campbell for taking the minutes in her absence. The motion carried.
Pomerantz reported that Maricopa County, AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio was slated to be the GDUI luncheon speaker to discuss his work with abused and abandoned animals. However, because of his controversial views regarding the new Arizona immigration laws, threats were made to picket the luncheon, so the GDUI board voted to rescind the invitation. Dena Wilson's last day at ACB was June 4; unfortunately, she was unable to bring in additional revenue. Patricia Castillo, Brunson's administrative assistant, has accepted a position with United Health Care; her last day was June 11. Brunson, Pomerantz, Lane Waters, and Carla Ruschival will make sure there will be adequate staffing for the convention.
NFB has hired a consultant, Jeffrey Witt, to work on the accessible currency issue. He has developed new prototypes using tactile and size options that the Treasury Department did not consider, and has asked permission to get feedback from ACB conventioneers. This issue is of grave concern. The Treasury Department suggested providing money identifiers to everyone certified as legally blind as an interim measure, but they must not stop there. Also, Judge Robertson is retiring, so a new judge will be appointed to oversee the court decision. After considerable deliberation, Chris Gray moved that the president or his designee indicate that we would make space available at the convention for either individuals or groups to participate and provide feedback on prototype bills Witt has to show, and that we further authorize the president or his designee to discuss with Witt possible further involvement by ACB based on our impressions of his material and advice of our counsel. Lieberg seconded, and the motion carried. Gray reported that the new database is fully loaded now and, although there are still some minor glitches, it should be ready for further beta testing shortly. Lieberg moved acceptance of the president's report, and Campbell seconded; the motion carried.
Next, Sandra Sermons and Pam Shaw, chair and member, respectively, of the international relations committee, discussed with the board possible collaboration between ACB and Elderhostel. Elderhostel organizes travel/learn programs combining international travel, education, and experiential learning. A trip to Spain, partnering with ONCE (the Spanish agency for the blind in Spain), is planned for Oct. 18, 2010; 20 ACB members are going. Sermons said that if this trip is successful, the goal is to expand to other countries, and these trips could be an opportunity for fund-raising for ACB. Lieberg moved that collaboration between ACB and Elderhostel be explored, and Campbell seconded; the motion carried. Pomerantz asked Sermons to get the draft agreement to him and Brunson by June 22.
Tracfone Wireless Safelink provides free cell phone service to people with low income. They are trying to introduce this program into several states via legislation, and are seeking endorsement from ACB and its affiliates. Following discussion, it was decided that Pomerantz will send a letter to Tracfone indicating that ACB is a grassroots organization whose affiliates are autonomous, and that although we support the concept of the Tracfone effort, ACB cannot endorse the specific product at this time. He will also request further information regarding their expectations. After convention, Pomerantz will convene a task force to investigate further actions vis-à-vis endorsements in general. This task force will be comprised of Michael Garrett, Berl Colley, and Jeff Thom, with Garrett serving as chair.
Campbell moved to ratify the e-mail vote by the board raising the convention function surcharge from $1 to $2. Lieberg seconded; the motion carried.
After comparing schedules for several minutes, Campbell moved that the fall meeting of the ACB board of directors take place Nov. 5-7, 2010, probably in Reno. Lieberg seconded the motion, which was adopted.
The meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m. EDT.
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