Minutes — August 2015 Committee of the Whole Meeting

2015 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Elaine Eisenbaum, UT CDS
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS
  • Sara Kendall, DARS
  • Penny Larkin, DADS
  • Ruth Mason
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Michael Peace
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Cindy Swain, TEA
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • John Thomas
  • Richard Tisch
  • Dan Zhang, A&M CDD

Council Members Absent

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kristine Clark
  • Andrew Crim
  • Mary Faithfull, DRT
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Dana Perry
  • Cindy Swain, TEA
  • Nancy Walker, HHSC

Guests Present

  • Jeff Miller, DRT
  • Darryl Powell
  • Amy Sharp, A&M CDD
  • Carrie Warner
  • Donnie Wilson, DADS

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Belinda Carlton
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Linda Logan
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Committee of the Whole of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Thursday, August 6, 2015, in the Veramendi Salon G of the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, 1001 East McCarty Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666. Council Vice-Chair Kristen Cox called the meeting to order at 9:35 AM.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests introduced themselves. Executive Director Beth Stalvey provided background on her experience with the Georgia and North Carolina DD Councils as well as previous experience with TCDD and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

    Council Vice-Chair Cox reviewed member absences to include Hunter Adkins, Kristine Clark, Andy Crim, Stephen Gersuk, Dana Perry and representatives from Disability Rights Texas. She noted that Council Chair Mary Durheim had to attend to a business matter but would be joining they Council as soon as possible.

  2. Public Comments
    Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry read a public comment letter from Shaun Bickley who requested the Council place a priority on leadership and advocacy training that focuses specifically on self-advocates.

  3. Chair and Executive Director Remarks
    Planning Coordinator Cordry introduced new staff member Danny Fikac who began his position as Planning Specialist on July 1, 2015. Fikac has experience as an HCS Coordinator with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services as well as a guardianship specialist with the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).

    Cordry then discussed her experience at the NACDD National Conference which was focused on diversity and self-advocacy. She also discussed training received at the AIDD Technical Assistance (TA) Institute on increased reporting measures.

    Council Member Lora Taylor spoke on her experiences at the NACDD Conference & AIDD TA Institute. She emphasized the need for the Council to “narrow our goals and drill deeper” in regards to develop of the state plan. She also thanked Cordry and all TCDD staff because it was evident that TCDD very well respected on the national level and specifically is leading the way in activities that address the needs of the unserved and underserved. Council Member Michael Peace also spoke on his experience at the NACDD conference and the training that was presented for self-advocates.

    Council Member Gladys Cortez reported on her experience at the National Down Syndrome Congress & Convention in Phoenix, AZ which she attended with her parents and her young sister who has Down syndrome. Texas Department of State Health Services representative Ivy Goldstein spoke on the Texas Parent to Parent annual conference.

    TCDD Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos discussed the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Texas Conference. Public Policy Specialists Belinda Carlton and Linda Logan spoke on the Texas Advocates Conference and the Texas Autism Research Conference.

    Council Member Ruth Mason discussed her son’s experiences with customized self-employment.

  4. 84th Texas Legislature Update
    TCDD Public Policy staff provided a wrap-up of the 84th Texas Legislature. Public Policy Director discussed legislation and activities related in Interest List Reduction, Promoting Independence, Autism Services, and Medicaid Benefits. Public Policy Specialist Carlton discussed legislation related to Housing and Guardianship Reform and Supported Decision Making. It was noted that great improvements were made in Texas regarding Guardianship reform and efforts will continue through the next session. Public Policy Specialist Logan discussed legislation related to mental health issues. Ramos further reported on Sunset legislation that will consolidate Health & Human Services (HHSC) agencies in Texas as well as changes to state advisory committees and work groups. Public Policy Assistant Ashley Ford discussed election information.

  5. Council Member Training: Council Challenge
    Council members participated in a training activity in the form of a Jeopardy style challenge that covered the topics of the TCDD State Plan Development, Sunset Commission restructuring of HHSC, 84th Texas Legislature, and the history of TCDD and Developmental Disabilities Act.

  6. FY 2017-2021 State Plan Goal Areas
    Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry led a discussion on the development of the FY 2017–2021 State Plan. She discussed the timelines for the development in which goals and objectives will be determined by the Council during the November 2015 and February 2016 meetings, public comment will be obtained during the spring of 2016, and plan will be finalized and submitted to the Administration on Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) in August 2016. Cordry reviewed the requirements of the plan and noted that AIDD measurements include self-advocacy, changes in policy and practice, and systems change. Cordry and members discussed TCDD strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats then further discussed goal areas. She reminded members of the need for the State Plan to have a narrow focus. Cordy reported on self-advocate input that was provided to Belinda Carlton during the Texas Advocates conference and noted how this input influenced recommended goal areas. She recommended four goal areas that include: support people to make decisions and control lives, decreasing the number of individuals in state institutions, people with developmental disabilities and their allies influence policies and practices, and implementation of the plan that responds to emerging issues. Members provided input on the four recommended goals and staff will further develop the goals for discussion at the November 2015 meeting.


Council Vice-Chair Cox adjourned the Committee of the Whole adjourned at 1:40 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council