Minutes — November 2015 Council Meeting

2015 Council and Committee Meetings


  • Council Members Present
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Elaine Eisenbaum, UT CDS
  • Mary Faithfull, DRT
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Ruth Mason
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Brandon Pharris
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Rick Tisch
  • John Thomas
  • Donnie Wilson, DADS
  • Council Members Absent
  • Kristine Clark
  • Andrew Crim
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Barbara Kaatz, TEA
  • Jennifer Kaut, DARS
  • Dana Perry
  • Nancy Walker, HHSC
  • Dalun Zhang, A&M CDD
  • Guests Present
  • Isabella Evans
  • Dan Graves
  • Alyssa Martin
  • Darryl Powell
  • Staff Members Present
  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Friday, November 6, 2015, in the Ballroom F-H of the Horseshoe Bay Resort, 200 Hi Circle North, Horseshoe Bay, TX 78657. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:05 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 November 6, 2015, Council meeting & November 5, 2015, Committee of the Whole meeting and the excused absences of Kristine Clark, Andrew Crim, Mateo Delgado, Stephen Gersuk, Barbara Kaatz — TEA, Jennifer Kaut — DARS, Dana Perry, Nancy Walker — HHSC and Dalun Zhang — A&M CDD.

    Motion: To approve the minutes of the November 6, 2015, Council meeting and November 5, 2015, Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the excused absences as noted.
    Made By: Brandon Pharris
    Second: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair’s Report
    Chair Durheim reported on her recent meeting with Executive Director Beth Stalvey and Gaby Fuentes of the Governor’s appointments office. They discussed current vacancies and members with expired terms who are not eligible for re-appointment. Members continue to serve until another individual is named in their place. At this point, Fuentes reported there are only 10–12 applications and many of them do not meet the requirements to serve on the Council. Durheim and Stalvey expressed the need for increased cultural diversity on the Council as well as the need for representation from areas other than the IH-35 corridor, Houston and El Paso. It was also noted that any applications that were submitted under Governor Perry were archived when Governor Abbott took office so anyone who submitted prior to January 2015 would need to submit a new application. Members were asked to encourage individuals who would be interested to apply.

  5. Executive Director’s Report
    Executive Director Stalvey reminded members of the TCDD Conflict of Interest policy. Members are not to have financial gain from Council activities meaning members should remove themselves from detailed discussion and abstain from voting if they or their organization would receive direct funding or financial gain from a project or policy. The conflict of interest policy does not preclude members from suggesting ideas or taking part in initial discussions. Members were reminded that everyone has an equal stand in voting on subject matter and only need to abstain if a financial conflict exists.

    Stalvey provided an update on TCDD staff to note that Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey continues to work from home as her health allows. Grants Management Specialist Susan Mihalik resigned from her position and her final day with the agency was November 3, 2015. The position has already been posted for applications.

    Stalvey reported that she recently attended the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) Executive Directors meeting in Atlanta. Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) Commissioner Aaron Bishop presented on changes to the federal structure that increase opportunities for collaboration. Staff from the Centers for Disease Control presented on disability data and resources. The directors also attended a tour of the Civil and Human Rights Museum which includes exhibits related to the disability rights movement and provided a background for discussion on Councils’ role in addressing cultural competency and diversity.

  6. Selection of Nominating Committee Member
    Project Development Committee Chair Gladys Cortez reported that David Taylor was selected to serve as that Committee’s representative on the Nominating Committee. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor reported that Brandon Pharris was selected to serve as that Committee’s representative on the Nominating Committee. Council members were advised that a third member from the Council was needed to complete the Committee.

    Motion: For Rick Tisch to serve as the third member of the Nominating Committee
    Made By: David Taylor
    Second: Brandon Pharris
    The motion passed unanimously.

  7. Approval of Internal Audit Report and Internal Audit Plan
    Audit Committee Chair Kristen Cox reported that the Audit Committee met on October 13, 2015 and that draft minutes of this meeting were available for members in the handout folder. The Committee received reports of internal audit activities conducted by Weaver & Tidwell, LLP and reviewed the reports of those activities as well as proposed changes to the Internal Audit Plan. Cox introduced Dan Graves and Alyssa Martin of Weaver & Tidwell, LLP to present their findings.

    Martin reviewed the Internal Audit Report on Procedures and Controls. Copies of the report were provided for all members as part of the Council meeting materials. She noted that the scope of the audit activities included grant administration, agency communications, planning and program development, compliance and compliance reporting, public policy and operations. The objectives were to 1) verify that Council policies and procedures are complete, up-to-date, and align with the significant processes of the agency; and 2) verify that TCDD has appropriately designed controls in place to address risks associated with the significant processes of the agency.

    Graves presented the recommendations based on the findings which include an update of policies and procedures and to formalize the performance of controls. TCDD staff acknowledged that many of the specific recommendations have already been implemented and others are in progress.

    Graves discussed the Annual Internal Audit Report that is submitted annually to the State Auditor’s Office (SAO). It was determined to not be required by law but TCDD management plans to continue submitting this report of internal audit activities to the SAO in the interest of agency transparency. This report is a summary of the year’s activities including the Procedures and Controls report and the planned activities for FY 2016.

    Graves further discussed the 3-year Internal Audit Plan that was approved by the Council at the February 2015 meeting. After conducting the procedures and controls audit and receiving input from staff, the recommendation is to change the order of future audit activities. The suggestion is now to review Website Maintenance in FY 2016 and Grants Administration in FY 2017. This will lessen conflicts for communications staff during the 2017 legislative session and will allow grants management staff to implement recommended procedures before the review.

    After Graves and Martin completed their report, Cox continued to report on Audit Committee discussion. She noted that Andy Crim stepped down from the Audit Committee prior to the October 13, 2015 meeting due to repeated scheduling conflicts. Amy Sharp replaced Crim on the Committee. Cox also expressed her opinion that this was an exceptional audit although the designation of the report is “satisfactory” because the findings were minor and have already been addressed.

    Council members discussed the risk rating for activities and clarified the designations of moderate vs. high risk. Graves reviewed the criteria to assign the ratings and noted that high ratings would require extensive levels of senior management involvement to correct the findings.

    Motion: To approve the Internal Audit Report
    Made By: Kristen Cox for the Audit Committee (Motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Motion: To approve the recommended changes to the Internal Audit Plan to review Website Maintenance in FY 2016 and Grants Administration in FY 2017
    Made By: Kristen Cox for the Audit Committee
    The motion passed unanimously.

  8. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Chair Durheim reminded members of the Committee of the Whole discussion regarding advanced leadership and advocacy training in the form of a Partners in Policymaking© program.

    Motion: To approve the Executive Summary for implementation of a Partners in Policymaking© program and to increase the amount of funding for the planning year to $150,000 with funding levels for implementation years at $225,000 (year 2), $250,000 (year 3), and $300,000 (years 4 & 5) and to grant flexibility to TCDD staff (with Council Chair approval) to increase funding for years 2–5 and on the implementation of the project.
    Made By: Mary Durheim for the Committee of the Whole
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported that the Project Development Committee reviewed the Future Funding Priorities list and following the Committee of the Whole discussion agreed to list the Partners in Policymaking© project as the first priority. The remaining projects stay in the same order
    Motion: To approve revisions to the Future Funding Priorities, placing Partners in Policymaking© in the first position.
    Made By: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee
    The motion passed unanimously.

  9. TCDD Administrative Rules Review
    Executive Director Stalvey reviewed the three levels of policy that govern TCDD and the process to review/amend that policy. The Texas Administrative Code defines the rules adopted by the agency and must be reviewed and re-adopted every 4 years. Council policies and procedures further define operations of the Council and revisions are subject to Council approval. TCDD staff policies and procedures provide details for the day-to-day operations of the agency. The review of the administrative code is due in 2016 and guidelines for the review and/or revision of the code require posting for public comment in the Texas Register. With direction from the Executive Committee, staff drafted proposed amendments which would allow for payment withholding to a grantee that is non-compliant with reporting and documentation. The Council will consider revisions to Council Policies at a future meeting.

    Motion: To approve posting for public comment, the TCDD Texas Administrative Code Rule Review and revisions regarding payment withholding.
    Made By: Mary Durheim for the Executive Committee
    The motion passed unanimously.

  10. State Plan Goals and Objectives
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported that the Project Development Committee did not have any recommended changes to the draft FY 2017 — FY 2021 State Plan Goals and Objectives.

    Public Policy Committee Chair Taylor reported that the Public Policy Committee offered suggested revisions to Goal 2, item d to include the language of mental health in addition to medical and behavioral health. The Public Policy Committee also offered suggested revisions to Goal 1, item c to include the language of financial management in the training goals of the objective. Council members contributed to a discussion of needed training regarding financial management, SSI/SSDI benefits and personal assets. Following the discussion the consensus was that Goal 1, item c should remain as presented in the draft document but the following item should be added to the goals: “Provide training and information to people who have developmental disabilities and their families on financial literacy and to better understand SSI/SSDI and health benefits by 1/1/2021.”

    Motion: To authorize staff to make language changes to the FY 2017 — FY 2021 State Plan to reflect Council input and to post the plan for public comment.
    Made By: Rick Tisch
    Second: Gladys Cortez
    The motion passed unanimously.

  11. 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 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 three projects were approved for continuation grant funding including the Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project from Community Healthcore and the higher education projects from Texas A&M and Texas Tech Universities. A Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project from A Circle of Ten was not granted funding for continuation. New grant projects were approved to the National Disability Institute for Understanding Employment Options and Supports ant to Disability Rights Texas for Stakeholder Training on Guardianship Alternatives.

    Operations Director Cantu reviewed the Quarterly Financial report noting that FY 2014 funds have been fully obligated and no funds are expected to remain from that budget year. FY 2015 funds have been obligated with $765,478 still available to re-obligate for projects. The notice of grant award for FY 2016 has not been received for FY 2016 but budgets are based on level-funding. Cantu also presented a new design to portions of the financial report that provide details on grant projects. The Executive Committee approved this change with minor revisions and future reports will be presented in this format.

    Conflict of Interest disclosure reports were reviewed by the Executive Committee and no concerns were noted. Members were encouraged to submit updates.

  12. Project Development Committee Report
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported on Committee discussions of potential activities to promote education around bullying in the workplace and activities to support state-wide self-advocacy organizations

  13. Public Policy Committee Report
    Public Policy Committee Chair Taylor reported that the Public Policy Committee received updates on State Supported Living Center data and TCDD staff comments to the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services on the Autism Program. The Committee had a discussion on day habilitation models and community-based standards as well as support for state-wide self-advocacy organizations.

  14. Announcements and Updates
    Council members discussed dates and locations of future meetings of February 3–5, 2016 (Sonesta Bee Caves), May 4–6, 2016 (Doubletree Arboretum), August 3–5, 2016 (Horseshoe Bay Resort) and November 2–4, 2016 (tentative date).


Council Chair Durheim adjourned the meeting at 10:41 AM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council