Minutes — February 2016 Executive Committee Meeting

2016 Council and Committee Meetings

Attendance

Committee Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Lora Taylor

Committee Members Absent

  • Michael Peace

Council Members Present

  • Meagan Sumbera
  • John Thomas

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Wendy Jones
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, in the Colony Ballroom E at the Sonesta Bee Cave Austin Hotel, 12525 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave, TX 78738. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 3:08 PM.

  1. Introductions
    Committee members and staff were introduced.

  2. Public Comments

    No public comments were offered

  3. Consideration Of Minutes
    The minutes were reviewed and no additions or corrections were noted.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the November 4, 2015, Executive Committee meeting as presented.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Gladys Cortez
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair’s Report
    Council Chair Mary Durheim reported the expected absences for the meeting which include Kristine Clark and Andy Crim. She noted that Crim submitted a letter of resignation on February 2, 2016, citing work and family conflicts that prevent him from attending meetings or placing a priority on Council business. Durheim will also not be able to attend the Committee meetings on Thursday and has asked Council Vice-Chair Kristen Cox to facilitate the Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the Council meeting.

    Durheim also reported that Penny Larkin who was the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) alternate representative has moved from DADS to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Donnie Wilson continues to serve as the DADS representative and plans to bring Justin Babineaux to the meetings as they expect Babineaux to be named to the alternate position.

    Texas A&M Center on Disability and Development representative Dalun Zhang will attend Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting in a non-voting capacity because A&M alternate Meagan Sumbera will attend all meetings to officially represent that agency.

  5. Executive Director’s Report
    Executive Director Stalvey reviewed stipend awards that were approved during the past quarter to the following applicants:

    • Family to Family: Events stipend for up to $4,500 for the “10th Annual Special Education and Transition Conference” and Resource Fair on March 5, 2016, in Houston.

    • The Arc of Texas: Events stipend for up to $6,000 for “The Arc of Texas 23rd Annual Inclusion Works Conference” on February 7–9, 2016, in Houston.

    • Attention Deficit Disorders Association — Southern Region: Events stipend for the “28th Annual ADDA-SR Conference” on February 27, 2016, in Houston.

    • Austin Travis County Integral Care: Events stipend for the “Central Texas African American Family Support Conference” on February 25–26, 2016, in Austin.

    • Austin Travis County Integral Care: Speakers stipend for the “Central Texas African American Family Support Conference” on February 25–26, 2016, in Austin.

    • Texas State Independent Living Council: Events stipend for the “Annual Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference” on April 3–5, 2016, in San Antonio.

    • Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition: Events stipend for the “27th Annual Children’s Disabilities Symposium” on March 19, 2016, in El Paso.

    Stalvey also noted that TCDD staff will be attending some of these upcoming conferences not only as participants but in an exhibitor capacity to provide information about Council resources and to speak to individuals who may have an interest in becoming Council members.

    Stalvey provided an update on TCDD staff noting that Grants Management Director Sonya Hosey has returned to the office on a part-time basis and expects to transition to a full-time schedule in the coming weeks. Interviews were held for the vacant Grants Management Specialist position but a candidate was not selected and the position will be re-posted.

    Stalvey briefly discussed the Annual Program Performance Report, noting that she will provide details at the Committee of the Whole meeting, but highlighted the one-page summary was included in Council meeting materials. She offered thanks to Planning Coordinator Joanna Cordry and Planning Specialist Danny Fikac who prepared the report but added that all staff contributed. Stalvey expressed her appreciation for this report in that it provides a thorough summary of the year’s activities. Cordry noted that the report shows the extent to which Public Policy and Grants Management activities are working together and expects this to be even more evident in next year’s report as well as the development of the 2017-2021 State Plan. Stalvey also noted that staff are becoming more mindful of storing reportable data so that it is easier to summarize when preparing future reports.

    Stalvey discussed agency representation on the Council as it relates to health and human services agencies consolidation. She reminded members that Sunset legislation will consolidate five agencies into one by 2017 and that vocational rehabilitation services will move to the Texas Workforce Commission. The Developmental Disabilities Act outlines specific programs that must be represented on the Council: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (TEA), Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (DARS), Older Americans Act (DADS), Title V of the Social Security Act (DSHS), Title XIX of the Social Security Act (HHSC). Staff will consult with AIDD and work with HHSC leadership as well as the Governor’s Appointments Office to designate “program” representatives and not “agency” representatives to ensure that there is not one agency representative with four votes.

    Stalvey reported that funding for DD Councils across the country for FY 2016 was increased by $1 million from FY 2015. It is still unknown how much of an increase TCDD will receive but that figure will be reported to members once the notice of grant award is received.

  6. Grants Activities Report
    Executive Director Stalvey provided updates on specific grant projects. She noted that the Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project from A Circle of Ten had issues regarding match funds and were initially sent a letter stating that TCDD funds needed to be returned to compensate for the lack of match funds. Staff completed additional reviews and worked with the grantee to obtain documentation to determine that they are now in compliance with match funds and are completing the final four weeks of the project.

    The Community Organizing project from Texas Advocates has established a new project timeline due to a change in organizational structure, staff members and support from the Arc of Texas. It is hoped that circumstances will be resolved so that the project will be considered for continuation funding at the May 2016 meeting.

    Stalvey reported a technical change in project funding to Volar for the Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project. The Executive Committee approved funding of up to $150,000 but funding was initially reported at $145,476. The grantee requested the full amount of $150,000 so this was awarded and an additional vote is not needed.

    The Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project from Community Healthcore returned $29,000 from the previous year’s funding that was unspent due to staff changes. This has been reallocated to other projects.

    The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Public Policy Fellows project is undergoing technical revisions by staff and will be posted in March with an expectation for the Executive Committee to consider applications at the August meeting. A September start date for the project is expected.

    Outreach and Development projects are still pending and it is expected that the RFP will be posted in June. TCDD staff are continuing to work on in-house contracts to administer the Partners in Policymaking project.

    Senior Grants Management Specialist Cynthia Ellison reviewed the Independent Audit Status Report and noted that projects from Region 17 Education Service Center (ESC) and Texas State Independent Living Council that show as incomplete have now been completed and should read as “none/done” regarding recommendations/resolutions. Ellison further reviewed the Grants Monitoring Exceptions Report noting that Region 17 ESC is still pending while waiting on audit reports that are expected in February, but all other projects are now complete. Members did not have questions or express concerns with either report.

    Ellison next reviewed the Risk Assessment Report that highlights projects to be considered for continuation funding as well as new awards. Members reviewed the reasons for projects that need additional monitoring but did not express concerns.

  7. TCDD Quarterly Financial Report
    Operations Director Cantu reviewed the quarterly financial report noting that FY 2014 funds have been fully obligated and $6 is expected to lapse at this time. Grantees have until September 30, 2016 to spend those funds and if any additional FY 2014 funds are returned as unspent, that amount will lapse as well.

    Staff are waiting for final expenditures for operating expenses from FY 2015 but approximately $1,305,000 was spent leaving approximately $3,400,000 for grant projects. $2,200,000 was obligated to projects leaving $1,200,000 to be used for current year projects. Once the final notice of grant award is received for FY 2016 and funds are allocated, it is expected there will continue to be a surplus of funds available. Members discussed ideas for future projects that could be presented and discussed with the Project Development Committee.

    Cantu discussed operating expense expenditures for FY 2016 and reported that these are on target for the year. Members expressed no concerns. Cantu reviewed expenses from current projects as well as a yearly summary of stipend expenditures.

  8. Consideration of Continuation Grant Awards
    TCDD Grants Management Specialist Wendy Jones reviewed the executive summary for continuation funding to Any Baby Can for the health and fitness project. The project offers a 32-week curriculum, focused on children with disabilities and their families, that provides education and exploration of adaptive/inclusive fitness activities. She noted that goals for the project include training 50 families each project year and with one quarter of the 4th year remaining, 177 families have been served and 18 more are expected. No compliance or reporting issues were noted and staff recommend continued funding. Jones also noted that this project continues to ask for less funding with each project year and plans to be sustainable at the conclusion of TCDD funding.

    MOTION: To approve up to $131,165 in continuation funding to Any Baby Can for the final year of a five-year Health and Fitness project.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Grants Management Specialist Jones reviewed the executive summary for continuation funding to the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) for Project HIRE higher education project. Jones noted that she attended the recent Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting and continues to be impressed with the level of PAC member commitment. She also noted that four students were graduating during her visit and two of those students were deaf which is significant because project staff initially thought they would not complete the program due to attitudinal barriers. No compliance issues were noted with this project. It was noted that DARS is looking to expand this project into existing services statewide.

    MOTION: To approve up to $225,000 in continuation funding to the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services for the final year of a five-year higher education project.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously. Council members requested staff attendance at the kick-off event for the final year of the project.

    Jones reviewed the executive summary for continuation funding to Texas State Independent Living Council for the Health and Fitness project. This model partners with Centers for Independent Living and incorporates grant activities into the existing daily program. Jones cited an example of one Center that offered gardening activities which were not part of the grant project but the vegetables and herbs grown in the existing gardening class were used in a healthy cooking class as part of the grant project. Fitness, meditation and classes with adaptive equipment are included. Classes have been offered at three sites and will expand to one additional site for the final year.

    MOTION: To approve up to $230,000 in continuation funding to Texas State Independent Living Council for the final year of a five-year health and fitness project.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously. Durheim requested a presentation from this project.

    Committee members and staff discussed the number of projects that will be considered for continuation funding at the May 2016 meeting and determined that a separate meeting in April will not be needed.

  9. Review Panel Recommendations
    Planning Specialist Danny Fikac reviewed the RFP goals of the Accessible Transportation Summits project to include at least three collaborative events focusing on local transportation issues. Fikac reported that two proposals were received and reviewed by the independent review panel. The panel unanimously selected the proposed project from Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC). SILC proposes five summits over five years in Austin (2), McAllen, Waco, and Galveston with different themes for each summit. Issues to be addressed at the summits include local ordinances, funding, rural transportation, connectivity, boundary line coordination between counties, safe and accessible streets and technological solutions. The only concerns noted were an aggressive calendar with a proposed summit for this winter after a start date in September. Fikac did note that the proposal builds on existing work of the SILC and includes recommendations for developing advocates in different areas. Council members stressed the participation of Texas Department of Transportation as a collaborative partner in the summits.

    A second proposal from Community Options, Inc. was reviewed by the panel but was not recommended for consideration of funding.

    MOTION: To approve grant funding of up to $150,000 per year for up to five years to Texas State Independent Living Council for Accessible Transportations Summits project.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kristen Cox
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Planning Coordinator Cordry discussed the review panel evaluation of Leadership Development and Advocacy Training proposals. She noted that 10 proposals were reviewed but that one additional proposal that should have been reviewed was omitted because it appeared that a budget was not submitted when it was submitted separately. The review panel members will need to evaluate all proposals received in accordance with TCDD review policies.

  10. Review and Proposed Revisions to the Texas Administrative Code
    Chair Durheim reminded members of the discussion at the November 2015 meeting regarding proposed revisions to the Texas Administrative Code. The revisions were posted in the Texas Register for the month of December and no comments were received. Executive Director Stalvey reviewed the primary change that is related to grantee reimbursements to allow for withholding of payment or suspension/termination of funding when the grantee is not in compliance with project reporting.

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval of revisions of TCDD rules in the Texas Administrative Code.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kristen Cox
    The motion passed unanimously.

  11. Proposed Revisions to Council Policies and Procedures
    Executive Director Stalvey reviewed draft revisions to Council Policies and Procedures which further define revisions proposed in the Texas Administrative Code regarding payment withholding to non-compliant grantees. Revisions are also proposed to define Council membership for representatives of state programs (instead of agencies) and additional definition of Conflict of Interest policies. Other proposed revisions indicate further definition of the appeals of funding process to specifically note that a funding appeal is not an opportunity for an applicant to submit additional information resulting in a re-consideration of the proposal but that appeals are only considered for review of proper process. A final revision is proposed to Council procedures to increase the amount of reimbursement for attendant and respite care for Council member travel. It was noted that the Council cannot consider for approval until the May meeting because of policy that requires a 10-day notification before consideration.

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval of proposed revisions to Council Policies and Procedures after the 10-day notification period.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

  12. Conflict of Interest Disclosures
    Committee members reviewed updated conflict of interest disclosure information for Council members and staff. No concerns were noted.
  13. Executive Session: Evaluation of Executive Director
    Chair Durheim announced that the Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities would meet in closed session pursuant to Section 551.71 of the Government Code related to personnel matters. A quorum of the Committee was present. The time was 4:55 PM on February 3, 2016.

    At 5:20 PM on February 3, 2016, the Executive Committee reconvened in open session. Chair Durheim announced that the Committee did not take any action during its closed meeting discussion on personnel matters.

Adjourn

Chair Durheim adjourned the Executive Committee at 5:22 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council