Minutes — May 2018 Executive Committee Meeting

Attendance

Committee Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Lora Taylor
  • John Thomas

Committee Members Absent

  • Gladys Cortez

Council Members Present

  • Meagan Orsag, A&M-CDD
  • Amy Sharp, TCDS
  • Rick Tisch

Guests Present

  • Cheryl Grenwelge
  • Stephanie Martinez

Staff Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Ann Bjorgo
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Cynthia Ellison
  • Danny Fikac
  • Robert Garcia
  • Sylvia Medina
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, in the Yucca/San Pedro Room at the Embassy Suites Austin Central, 5901 North IH-35, Austin, TX 78723. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

  1. Introductions
    Committee members, staff and guests were introduced. Gladys Cortez participated in the second half of the meeting by phone as a non-voting member.

  2. Public Comments
    Public comments were offered from Megan Orsag and Cheryl Grenwelge on the Higher Education Collaborative project from Texas A&M Center on Disability and Development (A&M CDD). Orsag thanked the Council for the first year of funding and acknowledged that there were ways to develop a more collaborative relationship with the Council. They offered a handout of recommendations related to grants management. Grenwelge acknowledged that they may have been remiss in reporting activities that showed progress of the work plan and stated that she was interested in more training in the DD Suite software and increased communication with TCDD staff in the future.

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

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the February 7-8, 2018, Executive Committee meeting as presented.
    MADE BY: John Thomas
    SECOND: Kimberly Blackmon
    The motion passed unanimously. (May 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 1)

  4. TCDD Quarterly Financial Report
    Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the FY 2018 TCDD Administrative and Expense budget, noting 38% of funds have been expended with the first six months of the fiscal year passed.

    Cantu reviewed the Summary of Funds for FY 2016 – 2017. All funds for FY 2016 have been assigned and will need to be spent or returned to the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). $378,805 of FY 2017 funds remains to be assigned to grantees prior to September 30, 2018. Although the report shows a negative balance for FY 2018 funds, this is expected to become level due to unspent funds from current grant projects, delayed starts of new projects and funding assigned to RFPs which may not eventually be completely obligated.

    The Committee reviewed the status of current grantees and the stipends which have been funded for the fiscal year.

  5. Maximum Funding Amounts of TCDD Policy Fellows Funded Per Year
    Chair Durheim reviewed the previously approved funding amounts for TCDD Policy Fellows projects which would have funded a total of 10-13 fellows over five years. She noted that after discussions with staff, she would like the Committee to discuss a recommendation to the Council for increased funding that would allow for two more fellows per year. Planning Specialist Danny Fikac explained that the current funding levels allow only two new fellows to be added each year which would only allow one project to funded when the Committee considers applications during this meeting. Planning Director Joanna Cordry noted that the projects have been very successful with quality work from each of the fellows and this could expand on that success. Members questioned if the funds were available for this and Operations Director Cantu acknowledged that there were adequate funds.

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval to increase funding for TCDD Policy Fellows projects by $135,000 per year allowing for two additional fellows each year.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously. (May 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 3)

  6. New Grant Awards
    Chair Durheim read a statement regarding Conflict of Interest prior to the consideration of funding of new grant projects reminding members, staff and guests to excuse themselves from the conversation if a conflict exists.

    It was noted that TCDD staff designed a new form that summarizes each application to a Request for Proposal (RFP). Each document explains the intent of the RFP, highlights of the application, independent review panel comments and ratings, and staff comments on the proposal as requested by the Committee.

    Planning Specialist Fikac reviewed the intent of the Leadership and Advocacy Training by Self-Advocates RFP. The project would be implemented by a local self-advocate group and train at least 100 people per year in the history of disability rights, principals of self-determination, access to services and supports, development of self-advocacy skills, and activities to promote peer support.

    Fikac first discussed the application from the Arc of Greater Beaumont. It was noted that the application did not clearly state the role of self-advocates in leading this project. Independent review panel members had rated many of the review categories as unclear and staff noted that the application did not meet the intent of the RFP.

    MOTION: To not award funding to the Arc of Greater Beaumont for the Leadership and Advocacy Training by Self-Advocates Request for Proposals.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Fikac next reviewed the application from the Arc of North Texas. It was noted that this organization did not clearly state the role of self-advocates in leading this project. The application also stated it would train 50 people per year instead of the 100 that the RFP requires. Staff noted in the summary document that this application did not meet the intent of the RFP.

    MOTION: To not award funding to the Arc of North for the Leadership and Advocacy Training by Self-Advocates Request for Proposals.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Fikac then reviewed the application from ASI which is an organization created and led by an individual with a disability. Staff noted this to be a one-person entity and although it is a person with a disability, the role of other self-advocates in leading this project was unclear.

    MOTION: To not award funding to the ASI for the Leadership and Advocacy Training by Self-Advocates Request for Proposals.
    MADE BY: Kimberly Blackmon
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Fikac noted that three applications for TCDD Policy Fellows were reviewed. Committee members were reminded that there is currently funding available for one project. If the Council approves the recommendation for additional funding, additional projects could be awarded funds.

    Fikac reviewed an application from the Arc of North Texas and noted it was unclear if the application meets the intent of the RFP. The application describes a fellow conducting “advocacy by policy” classes instead of individual professional development and policy training.

    MOTION: To not award funding to the Arc of North Texas for the TCDD Policy Fellows Request for Proposals.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Fikac reviewed an application from Easter Seals of Central Texas which would employ a fellow to focus on childcare and education.

    MOTION: To approve funding of up to $67,500 per year for up to two years to Easter Seals of Central Texas for the TCDD Policy Fellows Request for Proposals.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kimberly Blackmon
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Fikac reviewed an application from Family to Family Network, in partnership with the Arc of Greater Houston, which would employ a fellow with a focus on employment. Members noted that it would be beneficial to have a fellow based in an area of Texas other than Austin.

    MOTION: To approve funding of up to $67,500 per year for up to two years to Family to Family Network for the TCDD Policy Fellows Request for Proposals.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kimberly Blackmon
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Chair Durheim repeated that current funding levels allow for only one project and that if the Council approves additional funding as proposed, both projects could be funded. She noted that the Committee should rank these projects if for some reason the Council does not approve additional funding and only one can be awarded.

    MOTION: To place priority of the project from Easter Seals of Central Texas over the project from Family to Family Network if funding was only available for one project.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kimberly Blackmon
    The motion passed unanimously. It was again noted that if the Council approves the increase in funding, both projects could begin as TCDD grants staff negotiated budgets, work plans, and beginning dates.

    Planning Director Cordry discussed a proposal from The Community Integration Project received this quarter for an Outreach and Development project. Cordry noted that the application does not appear to meet the intent of the RFP. Although the application says the organization serves both African-American and Hispanic minority groups, this does not appear to be its focus. The Committee did not take action on this application but indicated it would consider another application from the organization if they clarified their intent after guidance from TCDD staff.

  7. Continuation Grant Awards
    Council Chair Durheim again read the Conflict of Interest statement.

    Grants Management Specialist Sylvia Medina reviewed the executive summary for continuation grant funding from Educational Programs Inspiring Communities. Funding of up to $125,000 is requested for the second year of a five-year Youth Leadership Development project. During the first six months of the project, program staff have been selected and collaborative partnerships have been established with Houston Independent School District, Houston Food Bank and the Arc of Greater Houston. The project is on target to train 50 individuals by July 31, 2018 and begin recruitment for the next group of participants. There are no monitoring concerns with this project.

    MOTION: To approve up to $125,000 in continuation grant funding to Educational Programs Inspiring Communities for the second year of a five-year Youth Leadership Development project.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kimberly Blackmon
    The motion passed unanimously. (May 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 6)

    Medina next presented the executive summary for continuation grant funding from Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC). Funding of up to $150,000 is requested for the third year of a five-year Accessible Transportation Summits project. The project hosted its second summit in Waco with more than 100 attendees, has 36 Consumer Advocates in Transportation who discuss ongoing advocacy activities, and is planning the third summit in McAllen in 2019. There are no monitoring concerns for this project.

    MOTION: To approve up to $150,000 in continuation grant funding to Texas State Independent Living Council for the third year of a five-year Accessible Transportation Summits project.
    MADE BY: John Thomas
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously. (May 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 6)

  8. Grants Activities Reports
    Grants Management Director Cynthia Ellison reported on projects that were awarded funding during the February meeting. Project Amistad began its Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions project and West Central Texas Foundation began its Leadership Development and Advocacy Training project on May 1, 2018. Grants Management staff are in negotiations with Texas SILC for its Leadership Development and Advocacy Training project and again with Texas SILC and Texas Advocates for Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions projects.

    Ellison reviewed the Independent Audit Status Report and noted that responses regarding the grantees’ audit reports are expected by May 18, 2008 from Community Healthcore and Disability Rights Texas. She also reviewed the Risk Assessment of TCDD Projects and noted that no changes were made during the quarter. She reported that TCDD is currently managing 20 grant projects.

  9. Appeal of Funding Decision
    Council Chair Durheim introduced the discussion of the appeal from Texas A&M University following the Committee decision in February to not award continuation grant funding for the second year of the Higher Education Collaborative project. She noted that members received a summary of the Executive Director review of the appeal by email as well as in the Council meeting materials. Council Vice-Chair John Thomas announced that he would abstain from voting on this issue because his daughter has been accepted in the Bridge to Careers and PATHS program at Texas A&M which is affiliated with the Higher Education Collaborative and he does not want to have any perceived conflict of interest.

    Executive Director Stalvey reminded members of the TCDD appeal policy and noted that a letter of appeal was received from Texas A&M within 15 days of the notification of the decision to not award funding. She conducted a review of this appeal and the summary was sent to Executive Committee members within 30 business days of the appeal per policy.

    She offered three options for Committee members based on the appeal. The first option is that the decision to not award funding can be reversed and funding for the second year of the project can be awarded in the requested amount of $459,727. The second option is that the decision to not award funding can be upheld. The third option is to uphold the decision not to award funding and TCDD can repost the RFP for the Higher Education Collaborative and review new proposals.

    Stalvey apologized to members who received an email directly from the grantee regarding this subject on April 30, 2018. She noted that this was done without her knowledge or permission as it is outside of the appeals process. The appeals process does not allow for a grantee to respond to the Executive Director’s report and members do not have to consider or respond to the information included in the email. Stalvey further noted that TCDD does not share personal email information with grantees and that group communication of Council business violates the Open Meetings Act.

    Stalvey noted that she and grants management staff are confident that the monitoring report provided to the Committee on February 7, 2018 was an accurate reflection of the performance record to date. At that point, few work plan activities and only $57,625 in expenditures had been reported by the grantee. Staff could only report to the Committee what had been reported to them. She thoroughly reviewed all email communication with the grantee and there had been no requests to change the budgeted amount of $372,927 for the first year of the project. She further noted that several deliverables were submitted after the February 7, 2018 Executive Committee meeting and that reporting received on February 28, 2018 indicated up to $126,000 in request for reimbursement of work plan activities. A detailed summary of activities was included in the Executive Director’s report of the appeal.

    Committee members had an extensive discussion on the merits of awarding continuation grant funding due to first year deliverables from the grantee. They also discussed the perceived conflict of interest related to an entity receiving a sub-contract to provide technical assistance for all program sites and also being the first awarded replication site. Members acknowledged that Texas A&M has consistently implemented quality projects and wanted to see the project succeed. They also recognized the importance of this project for students with disabilities across Texas and did not want to delay the benefits for those students.

    MOTION: To reverse the previous decision on continuation grant funding and award $459,727 to Texas A&M University for the second year of a five-year Higher Education Collaborative project with the understanding that the perceived conflict of interest with technical assistance and program replication site be resolved.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Kimberly Blackmon
    The motion passed without opposition.
    John Thomas abstained from voting. (May 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 7)

  10. Chair’s Report
    Council Chair Durheim reviewed expected absences for the Council and Committee meetings which include Hunter Adkins, Kris Clark, Gladys Cortez, Mateo Delgado, Dana Perry, and Brandon Pharris. Scott McAvoy will not attend Thursday’s meetings but is expected to attend on Friday. In the absence of both Cortez and McAvoy, Rick Tisch has agreed to serve as Chair of the Project Development Committee. Durheim also announced that Council member David Taylor has resigned his position due to family and work commitments.

    Durheim reported that Katlyn Le has been designated as the representative from the Title V Maternal and Child Health program at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and that Justin Porter and Keith Swink (alternate) have been designated as representatives from the IDEA program at Texas Education Agency (TEA). They along with the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) representatives for the Title XIX Medicaid programs, Stephanie Muth and Dana Williamson, have all attended new Council member orientation and are eligible to vote. Durheim noted that Williamson will attend Thursday’s meetings but Penny Larkin, who is a former Council member, will attend Friday’s meeting as a representative from that program.

    Durheim noted that convening a quorum could be a problem due to the many absences of members and encouraged all members to be on time for the meetings.

    Durheim also reported on the Partners in Policymaking graduation which took place on April 14, 2018 at the Texas State Capitol with Senator Judith Zaffirini providing a keynote address to the 29 graduates. She was very complimentary of the ceremony as well as the projects that the participants have completed.

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

    • Texas Parent to Parent: Events Stipend for up to $7,500 for 14th Annual Texas Parent to Parent Conference on June 22-23, 2018, in San Marcos.
    • Arc of Greater Houston: Events Stipend for up to $750 for Good Decisions for a Better Future on June 9, 2018, in Houston.
    • Down Syndrome Diagnosis Association of South Texas: Events stipend for up to $6,965 for National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention on July 12-15, 2018, in Dallas.
    • Texas Advocates: Events stipend for up to $7,489 for 2018 Texas Advocates Annual Convention on August 3-5, 2018, in Grapevine.
    • Texas Parent to Parent: Speakers Stipend for up to $7,500 for 14th Annual Texas Parent to Parent Conference on June 22-23, 2018, in San Marcos.
    • Coalition of Texans with Disabilities: Translation stipend for up to $3,000 for the Latinx Annual Conference on May 31 – June 1, 2018, in Austin.
    • Arc of Texas: Speakers stipend for up to $7,500 for the Pathways to Justice on August 8-10, 2018, in Austin.
    • Green Oaks Education and Support, Inc.: Events stipend for up to $7,337 for National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention on July 12-15, 2018, in Dallas.
    • American Association on Intellectuals and Developmental Disabilities – Texas Chapter (AAIDD-TX): Events stipend for up to $7,486 for the 43rd Annual AAIDD-TX Convention on July 24-27, 2018, in Corpus Christi.
    • American Association on Intellectuals and Developmental Disabilities – Texas Chapter (AAIDD-TX): Speakers stipend for up to $1,520 for the 43rd Annual AAIDD-TX Convention on July 24-27, 2018, in Corpus Christi.


    Stalvey provided updates on TCDD staff to note that Sylvia Medina recently accepted a full-time position as a Grants Management Specialist and that Ann Bjorgo was also selected as a Grants Management Specialist and started with TCDD on April 16, 2018. Stalvey also reported that Ashley Ford was recently promoted to Public Policy Specialist.

    Stalvey discussed process improvements and new formats of reports to the Council such as RFP applications and quarterly grant monitoring. She asked members to provide any feedback as they review the reports. Durheim commended staff for the work that has been put into the process improvements.

    Stalvey and Durheim next discussed the planned and potential activities for the Partners in Policymaking program for 2018-2019. The contractor for the program has determined the feasibility of holding an additional class in the Rio Grande Valley area to coincide with the class based in Austin. The class would use the same format and be held simultaneously. It would allow an additional 15-20 participants for the program and would establish a regional model for Partners classes. Additional funding of up to $100,000 would be required and it was noted that this would only be for the next year of the project. Staff and the contractor would then evaluate the success of the second class and consider its value, perhaps in another region of the state, for future years. It was confirmed that there are funds available for this.

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval of an increase in funding for the Partners in Policymaking project by $100,000 to conduct a second class in the Rio Grande Valley.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: John Thomas
    The motion passed unanimously.

  12. Conflict of Interest Disclosure
    Committee members reviewed updated conflict of interest disclosure information for Council members and staff. No concerns were noted.

Adjourn

Chair Durheim adjourned the Executive Committee at 6:49 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council