Minutes — May 2015 Project Development Committee Meeting

2015 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez, Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Andrew Crim
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Manda Hall, DSHS
  • Jennifer Kaut, DARS
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Cindy Swain, TEA
  • David Taylor
  • Richard Tisch

Committee Members Absent

  • Mateo Delgado
  • Diana Kern
  • Dana Perry
  • John Thomas

Guests Present

  • Annalee Chaumount
  • Ivy Goldstein, DSHS

Staff Present

  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Susan Mihalik
  • Wendy Jones
  • Fernando Rodriguez

Staff Absent

  • Sonya Hosey

Call To Order

The Project Development Committee met on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at the Marriott Austin South at 4415 South IH35, Austin, Texas 78745. Committee Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 2:51 p.m. A quorum was present.

1.  Introduction Of Committee Members, Staff And Visitors

Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

2.  Public Comments

The Committee discussed a letter from the Texas Advocates to Council Chair Mary Durheim encouraging TCDD to create additional grants focusing on people in the State-Supported Living Centers (SSLCs). Texas Advocates currently has a TCDD grant project, Project SAVE, that provides training to people living in SSLCs, and it is ending on May 31, 2015. The submitted letter describes the successful outcomes of that project and requests that TCDD creates an additional grant for more training in SSLCs, especially in Mexia and San Angelo SSLCs.

Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry noted that providing leadership and advocacy training to individuals in SSLCs might be an appropriate objective for the next TCDD State Plan. She also reported that TCDD’s response to the Texas Advocates letter included information about a Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Request for Proposals (RFP) that will be posted in the Fall of 2015. The letter informed them that the project described in this letter would be consistent with the RFP.

The Committee discussed the importance of promoting self-advocacy and noted that projects like this could also provide training to individuals with developmental disabilities around alternatives to guardianship. Other members of the Committee agreed that training in alternatives to guardianship is important for self-advocates as well as judges and attorneys.

3.  Approval Of Minutes

The Committee reviewed minutes of the February 6, 2015, Project Development Committee meeting.

MOTION:  To approve the minutes of the February 6, 2015, Project Development Committee with one correction, the spelling of Lora Taylor’s name.

MADE BY:  Richard Tisch

SECOND:  Scott McAvoy

The motion passed unanimously.

4.  Chair’s Remarks

Chair Cortez announced that Council member Andrew Crim has returned to the Project Development Committee following his service as the Council Vice-Chair.

Chair Cortez stressed to members the importance of attending meetings, noting that a quorum is required in order to be able to conduct business. Committee members discussed possible options for addressing excessive absences. The Committee agreed that the most appropriate option is to discuss the issue with all members of the Council to remind members of the importance of attending meetings.

5.  Member Updates

Durheim announced that:

  • Diana Kern has resigned her appointment to the TCDD Council for health-related reasons. Kern’s resignation was received at the TCDD office and forwarded to the Governor’s office.
  • John Thomas has been appointed to the Project Development Committee.
  • Jennifer Kaut and Mateo Delgado have agreed to move from the Public Policy Committee to the Project Development Committee.

Committee member Manda Hall, DSHS, announced that she will be a speaker at the Parent to Parent conference. Committee member Cindy Swain, TEA, will be giving a presentation on mental health.

6.  Staff Reports

  1. Status of New/Approved Projects
    No new grants were awarded. An Outreach and Development project awarded to Special Kids, Inc. started in this quarter.

    The following continuation awards were approved:

    1. Educational Programs Inspiring Communities, Inc.
    2. Strategic Education Solutions, LLC
    3. Imagine Enterprise, Inc.
    4. Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
    5. Epilepsy Foundation of Texas
    6. Region 17 Education Service Center

  3. Projected Available Funds
    Martha Cantu, Operations Director, reported that there are enough funds in FY 2015 to fund all eight planned projects. There were no questions for Cantu.

  4. Other Updates
    Cordry reported on her participation on the planning committee for the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities Annual Cross Systems Summit, which will be held in August 2015.

7.  Future Activities For State Plan Implementation

  1. Advanced Public Policy Advocacy
    Cordry noted that an Executive Summary for an Advanced Public Policy Advocacy project has not been prepared due to staff time constraints and the desire to gather input from Colleen Wieck, the Executive Director of the Minnesota DD Council and the creator of Partners in Policymaking. Cordry reported that she and Roger Webb, TCDD Executive Director, recently spoke with Wieck about ways to reduce the program costs below $385,000 per class. Cordry briefly reviewed some of the ideas and recommendations from Wieck, including reducing the length of the program, changing the location, having fewer or shortened sessions, having fewer presenters or using a greater percentage of local presenters over presenters from other states, using multimedia technology, and seeking out a wider array of funding sources. Alternate or additional topics, recruitment, and selection were also discussed.

    An Executive Summary will be prepared for the August 2015 Council meeting.

  2. Other Ideas
    No other ideas were presented.

8.  Future Project Funding Priorities

No action taken on Future Project Funding Priorities list. The Committee agreed to make no changes.

9.  Other Discussion Items

Council Chair Durheim reiterated the importance of attendance at Council and Committee meetings. She also informed the Committee that there are seven Council members whose terms are expiring and three of these cannot be reappointed. Council members whose terms are expiring and who are eligible for re-appointment need to submit applications to the governor’s office as soon as possible if they wish to continue to serve on the Council.


There being no further business, Chair Cortez adjourned the meeting at 4:03 p.m.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council