Minutes — August 2015 Council Meeting

2015 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Elaine Eisenbaum, UT CDS
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Sara Kendall, DARS
  • Penny Larkin, DADS
  • Ruth Mason
  • Michael Peace
  • Brandon Pharris
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Rick Tisch
  • John Thomas
  • Nancy Walker, HHSC
  • Dan Zhang, A&M CDD

Council Members Absent

  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kristine Clark
  • Andrew Crim
  • Mary Faithfull, DRT
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Dana Perry
  • Cindy Swain, TEA

Guests Present

  • Jeff Miller, DRTx
  • Darryl Powell
  • Amy Sharp, A&M CDD
  • April Young, HHSC
  • Carrie Warner
  • Donnie Wilson, DADS

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Friday, August 7, 2015, in the Veramendi Salon G&H Ballroom of the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, 1001 East McCarty Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:04 AM.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered to the Council.

  3. Consent Items
    Chair Durheim recommended approval of the consent items including the minutes from the May 8, 2015, Council meeting & May 7, 2015, Committee of the Whole meeting and the excused absences of Hunter Adkins, Kristine Clark, Andrew Crim, Mary Faithfull-DRT, Stephen Gersuk, Scott McAvoy, Dana Perry and Cindy Swain-TEA.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 8, 2015, Council meeting and May 7, 2015, Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the excused absences as noted.
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Public Policy Committee Report
    Chair Durheim moved the Public Policy Committee report ahead in the agenda to accommodate a schedule conflict. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor reported on Committee discussion of guardianship reform, supported decision making, day habilitation, community first choice, and the Supreme Court decision on the fair housing act. The Committee also received updates on implementation of legislation from the 84th Texas Legislature as well as the 2016-2017 budget.

    After discussion on admissions of children to State Supported Living Centers (SSLC), the Committee thought it important to invite Elizabeth Shelby to speak to the Council on this topic.
    MOTION: To invite Elizabeth Shelby to speak to the Council on policy recommendations to reduce the admissions of children to State Supported Living Centers.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor for the Public Policy Committee (motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed unanimously.

    The Committee also heard from member Brandon Pharris on issues relating to bullying in the workplace. TCDD public policy staff also prepared information on the topic ways for individuals to address this issue. It was noted that legislation was introduced during the 84th Legislature on this topic but did not pass. Staff were directed to address this issue during October National Disability Employment Awareness Month via social media and other avenues. The issue will also be addressed during the next revisions to the TCDD Position Statement on Employment. The Committee recommended Brandon Pharris speak to the Project Development Committee on developing a public service awareness campaign on bullying in the workplace.

    Taylor asked members to take note of the Public Information Report in the meeting materials.

  5. Chair’s Report
    Chair Durheim thanked Kristen Cox for leading the Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday.

  6. Executive Director’s Report
    TCDD Operations Director Martha Cantu provided an update on TCDD staff and reviewed an updated organizational chart that shows all TCDD positions as filled. She noted that Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey continues to be out of the office due to illness. She is still working part-time from home as her health allows and continues to be under a doctor’s care for further testing and treatment. Danny Fikac was recently selected as the Planning Specialist for TCDD.

  7. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Chair Durheim reported that the Executive Committee discussed continuing funding for travel support of public members of advisory committees. Funding is provided to advocates through the Texas Center for Disability Services (TCDS) on a reimbursement basis. She noted that there are 13 members of four state workgroups currently attending meetings. It was noted that funds are released to TCDS based on reimbursement of actual travel and any allocated funds that are not used during that time stay with the Council.

    MOTION: To award up to $50,000 per year for up to two years to the Texas Center for Disability Studies to reimburse travel expenses to public members of advisory committees.
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim for the Executive Committee
    The motion passed unanimously.

    It was noted that no changes were made to the Future Funding Priorities list and no new projects were presented to the Council by the Project Development Committee.

  8. Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Education Agency
    Council Chair Durheim discussed the annual review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between TCDD and Texas Education Agency (TEA). She noted that for FY 2106, language regarding business continuity and emergency preparedness was added to the MOU. Operations Director Cantu noted that this was required for TEA by the State Office of Risk Management so TEA management felt it prudent to add to this MOU as well.

    MOTION: To approve the TCDD Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Education Agency
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim for the Executive Committee
    The motion passed without opposition. Ruth Mason abstained from voting.

  9. Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Expense Budget
    Operations Director Martha Cantu presented the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Operating Expense budget for Council approval. She noted that there is a $157,336 increase from FY 2015 due to increases in staff benefits and professional services.

    MOTION: To approve the FY 2016 Operating Expense budget.
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim for the Executive Committee
    The motion passed unanimously.

  10. Executive Committee Report
    Senior Grants Management Specialist Cynthia Ellison reviewed the Independent Audit Status Report and noted there were no exceptions for this quarter. She also reviewed the Grants Monitoring Exceptions report and noted that some grants are still considered in a “pending” status for incomplete documentation but that staff are working to obtain those documents. She reported on new projects that were approved for grant funding by the Executive Committee and discussed the Risk Assessment report that highlights the projects that were approved for continuation grant funding during the Executive Committee meeting.

    Chair Durheim reported that the Executive Committee voted to suspend consideration of new Outreach and Development projects for at least 3–6 months. Due to the absence of the Grants Management Director, Senior Grants Specialist Ellison has added responsibilities and is not able to devote the time needed to new projects of this kind. It was also noted that no applications were received during the past quarter. Four projects are currently in process.

    Operations Director Cantu reviewed the Quarterly Financial report noting that approximately $85,000 remains from that year’s funds for grant funding. Approximately $400,000 in additional funds is expected from FY 2015 to be put toward grant projects. The notice of grant award for FY 2016 has not been received for FY 2016 but budgets are based on level-funding.

    Conflict of Interest disclosure reports were reviewed by the Executive Committee and no concerns were noted. Members were encouraged to submit updates and were reminded that they cannot financially benefit from any TCDD projects and are not eligible for conference stipends funded by TCDD.

  11. Project Development Committee Report
    Project Development Committee Chair Gladys Cortez reported on Committee discussions of the executive summary for a Partners in Policymaking project. The Committee directed staff to bring additional information on this project proposal to the November meeting for consideration.

    Council members further discussed options for leadership and advocacy projects in addition to ways to quantify results as well as the potential for sustainability of these projects.

  12. Announcements and Updates
    Council members discussed dates of future meetings of November 4–6, 2015, February 3–5, 2016, May 4–6, 2016 and August 3–5, 2016.


Council Chair Durheim adjourned the meeting at 10:09 AM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council