Minutes — February 2018 Executive Committee Meeting

Attendance

Committee Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Michael Peace
  • Lora Taylor

Committee Members Absent

  • John Thomas

Council Members Present

  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Amy Sharp
  • Dalun Zhang

Guests Present

  • Gina Matizzi-Fuller
  • Lauren Gerken
  • Brooke Hohfield
  • Annessa Lewis
  • Ana Martinez

Staff Members Present

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

Call To Order

The Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 in the Maple/Mesquite Room at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown, 6000 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 3:36 pm.

  1. Introductions
    Committee members, staff and guests 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 1 to 2, 2017, Executive Committee meeting as presented.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

  4. Chair’s Report
    Council Chair Durheim reviewed expected absences for the Council and Committee meetings which include Mateo Delgado, Ruth Mason, Brandon Pharris, and John Thomas. Kristine Clark will not attend Friday’s meeting but is expected to attend on Thursday. Representatives from Texas Education Agency (TEA) are also not expected to attend. The Health and Human Services Commission has designated new representatives for the Title XIX Medicaid programs. Stephanie Muth has been named as the State Medicaid Director and will serve as the representative to TCDD. Dana Williamson will serve as the alternate representative. Neither individual has been through orientation so they will attend as non-voting members. Williamson is expected to attend on Friday and Muth expects to attend part of the day on Thursday but will send Stephanie Stephens for the remaining part of the day.

  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 13th Annual Conference and Resource Fair on January 27, 2018, in Houston.

    • Family to Family: Speakers Stipend for up to $1,763 for 13th Annual Conference and Resource Fair on January 27, 2018, in Houston.

    • The Arc of Texas: Events stipend for up to $7,440 for 25th Annual Inclusion Works Conference on February 4 to 6, 2018, in San Antonio.

    • Attention Deficit Disorders Association: Southern Region: Events stipend for up to $6,972 for 30th Annual ADDA-SR Conference on February 17, 2018, in Houston.

    • Austin Travis County Integral Care: Events stipend for up to $6,265 for the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference on February 27 to 28, 2018, in Austin.

    • Austin Travis County Integral Care: Speakers stipend for up to $4,500 for the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference on February 27 to 28, 2018, in Austin.

    • Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition: Events stipend for up to $6,600 for the 29th Annual Children’s Disabilities Symposium on March 24, 2018, in El Paso.

    • Jewish Family Services: Speakers stipend for up to $7,500 for the 2018 ReelAbilities Film Festival on February 15, 2018, in Houston.

    • University of North Texas Kristin Farmer Autism Center: Events stipend for up to $7,500 for the Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference on July 28, 2018, in Denton.

    • Any Baby Can: Translation stipend for up to $3,000 for Case Management and Autism Parent Education Training in March to June 2018, in San Antonio.

    • Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas: Events stipend for up to $7,475 for the 2018 National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention on July 12 to 15, 2018, in Dallas.

    • Texas State Independent Living Council: Events stipend for up to $7,500 for the Independent Living Evolution on April 23 to 24, 2018, in Dallas.

    Stalvey provided updates on TCDD staff to note that Wendy Jones and Angie Rose resigned their positions as Grants Management Specialists. These two vacancies have been posted for applications until February 12, 2018. Sylvia Medina has continued in her part-time, temporary position in grants management. Communications Intern Yazmeen Yahya has returned for a second semester. Vacancies in the Public Policy division have been submitted to the Human Resources division at TEA and will be posted for applications this quarter.

    Stalvey reported that TCDD has received funds from Maryland toward the Cross-Council Collaboration on Hurricane Harvey relief. Funds originally offered from Louisiana are being reserved for the greater need in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI). Funds from TCDD allocated for Puerto Rico and USVI are still set aside for this need because these territories are not yet able to receive funds.

    Stalvey discussed a recent visit from iTACC Director of Technical Assistance Sheryl Matney. TCDD staff met with Matney to review procedures for grant funding and monitoring, Request for Proposals (RFP) development, and Council member engagement in these processes. Matney offered initial opinions and will provide final recommendations to streamline processes and reduce the burden of work on grantees and staff while still meeting requirements of the Developmental Disabilities (DD) Act and other federal rules.

    Stalvey reviewed the meeting agendas and discussed the work session scheduled for Thursday afternoon. This session is available for Council members to discuss and provide feedback on opportunities available to them as members including educational opportunities and ways that members can be engaged in their own communities. Stalvey noted that opportunities for participation in national conferences include the Disability Policy Seminar in April and the NACDD Annual Conference in July which will both be held in Washington, DC.

    The Committee discussed ways for the Council to address disproportionalities and disparities in its work. This subject has been a specific item on the agenda for each meeting in order to have an intentional discussion. Members and staff agreed that after several quarters of using this focused method, the issue should be addressed as a standard topic of discussion in project ideas and policy statements.

  6. Grants Activities Reports
    Grants Management Director Cynthia Ellison reviewed the list of projects that received onsite reviews during the quarter. She reported that staff are negotiating with Imagine Art on the budget and workplan to initiate the Peer Support Specialists for Community-Based Person Centered Planning project.

    Executive Director Stalvey reported that the Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project at Volar Center for Independent Living continues to have difficulty in financial reporting. TCDD staff have been working with the project team to improve accuracy of the Request for Reimbursement (RAR) forms. Stalvey reported that the project activities are meeting workplan expectations and it is only the financial reporting that is problematic.

    MOTION: To require Volar Center for Independent Living contract with a separate fiscal agent to manage TCDD project funds or face termination of the project and to complete this within 30 days.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND:Gladys Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Ellison reviewed an updated Independent Audit Status Report to show that four projects reported independent audits during the quarter. No exceptions were noted for any of the projects. Two are reported as complete and two have been forwarded for desk reviews.

  7. TCDD Quarterly Financial Report
    Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the FY 2018 TCDD Administrative and Expense budget, noting 20% of funds have been expended within the first three months of the fiscal year passed. She noted that the first allotment of FY 2018 funds has been received in the amount of $1,452,866 with a second allotment expected in late March and that funding for the entire year is expected to be level with FY 2017.

    Cantu reviewed the Summary of Funds for FY 2016 to 2017. All funds for FY 2016 have been assigned and $175,598 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.

  8. Continuation Grant Awards
    Council Chair Durheim read a statement regarding Conflict of Interest prior to the consideration of continued funding of grant projects reminding members, staff and guests to excuse themselves from the conversation if a conflict exists. Council members Dalun Zhang and Amy Sharp exited the meeting at this time.

    Grants Management Director Ellison reviewed the executive summary for the Texas A&M Higher Education Collaborative project. Funding of up to $459,727 is requested for the second year of a five-year project.

    Ellison noted that the project provides technical assistance to colleges and universities to include students with disabilities in higher education. She reported that $372,927 was budgeted for the first year of the project but only $57,625 was reimbursed for reported project activities. The initial budget for the second year of the project is $450,789 but the grantee is now requesting almost $9,000 more for that time period.

    Ellison reviewed the accomplishments for the first year of the project which include established partnerships, formalized procedures, developed evaluation plans, identified best practices through Texas Post-Secondary Education programs, identified assessment instruments for project sites, developed university site recruitment procedures, and established an application process. Although the goal for the first year was to select and develop two sites, only one site was chosen in month 9 and some site activities began in month 11. Ellison noted that project quarterly reports indicate the project is behind in all grant activities. Goals for the second year are the same in providing technical assistance to replication sites at three other universities.

    Ellison reported that staff have concerns with this project due to the delay in year one activities, lack of spending the allocated budget for the first year, and delay in submission of required monthly RARs. An additional concern is that the University of Texas (UT) was selected as the technical assistance center but is also selected as a replication site so this gives the appearance of a conflict of interest in that UT is receiving funding to provide assistance to itself.

    Chair Durheim questioned the reasons or barriers that the grantee has been unable to meet the requirements of the project by deadlines and Ellison responded that the grantee has not provided any justification.

    Durheim summarized issues with the project which include a lack of deliverables, lack of monthly RARs and a significant delay in selection of replication sites. Council members and staff discussed and the appearance of conflict of interest results from UT receiving funding both as the subcontract for technical assistance and as a replication site

    MOTION: Due to significant concerns on current RFP intent and outcomes, continuation funding will not be awarded for the second year of the five-year Higher Education Collaborative project at Texas A&M University.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    Members questioned if there were other choices or options for the success of the project and Durheim asked staff if they have explored all options to support this project. Staff agreed that every option has been offered. It was noted that if the project was successful with outcomes meeting deadlines and RARs submitted in a timely manner, there would be no reason to not fund the project. Stalvey added that staff are aware that innovative projects may experience unique barriers but extenuating circumstances were not evident or expressed by the grantee.

    The motion passed unanimously. (February 2018 Meeting Materials, Tab 5).

  9. New Grant Awards
    Chair Durheim reminded members, staff and guests of the previous statement regarding conflicts of interest.

    Planning Director Joanna Cordry reviewed the proposal selection criteria for new grant awards and the intent of the Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions. Project goals include: 1) develop peer supports and training for people in institutions to understand rights and community opportunities; lead/participate in their planning process, 2) train at least 25 people with developmental disabilities as peer support specialists, 3) coaches support each peer support specialist to help at least 10 people per year, 4) prepare a training manual for statewide audiences

    Planning Specialist Danny Fikac reviewed five applications for the Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions received from Texas Advocates, Project Amistad, My Health My Resources of Tarrant County, BCFS Health and Human Services, and Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC). Members discussed each proposal and offered the following motions:

    MOTION: To approve funding to Texas Advocates of up to $125,000 per year for up to five years for a Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions project.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously.

    MOTION: To approve funding to Project Amistad of up to $125,000 per year for up to five years for a Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions project.
    MADE BY: Lora Taylor
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    Members discussed guardianship services that are provided by Project Amistad and and the Council’s position to promote guardianship alternatives and supported decision-making when possible. TCDD staff advised that project monitoring will ensure that TCDD funds are spent only on project activities and not on guardianship services. The motion passed unanimously.

    MOTION: To approve funding to Texas State Independent Living Council of up to $125,000 per year for up to five years for a Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions project.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    Members discussed the focus of this proposal on voting rights and whether that meets the intent of the RFP and required components of peer to peer support. Following this discussion, Cortez tabled her motion.

    Cordry then reviewed the goals of the Leadership Development and Advocacy Training in Rural Areas RFP. Project goals include: 1) effectively provide leadership and advocacy training in a rural area — the applicant must be a part of the community, 2) serve an average of 50 people per year, unless number cannot be recruited in the area, 3) document at least 10% of participants continue involvement in leadership or advocacy and at least 80% say they improved their ability to advocate.

    Fikac reviewed five applications for the Leadership Development and Advocacy Training in Rural Areas RFP. Applications were received from West Central Texas Regional Foundation, Texas SILC, Texas A&M University, the Arc of Texas with the Arc of Greater Beaumont, and the Arc of North Texas. Members discussed the selection criteria for each proposal and offered the following motions:

    MOTION: To approve funding to West Central Texas Regional Foundation of up to $85,000 per year for up to five years for a Leadership Development and Advocacy Training in Rural Areas project.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

    MOTION: To approve funding to Texas State Independent Living Council of up to $85,000 per year for up to five years for a Leadership Development and Advocacy Training in Rural Areas project.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Lora Taylor
    Members discussed the counties proposed for training to occur and noted that not all are designated as rural counties. Staff was directed to clarify in contract negotiations that training will only occur in rural counties and adjust the proposed budget as necessary. The motion passed unanimously.

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

Recess

Chair Durheim recessed the Executive Committee at 6:31 pm.

Attendance

Committee Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Michael Peace
  • Lora Taylor

Committee Members Absent

  • John Thomas

Staff Members Present

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

Reconvene

Chair Durheim reconvened the Executive Committee in the Maple/Mesquite Room at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 5:06 pm.

  1. Continuation of Unfinished Business
    Project Development Committee Chair Gladys Cortez reported that after discussion with her Committee, she would bring forward the previous motion regarding new grant funding.

    MOTION: To approve funding to Texas State Independent Living Council of up to $125,000 per year for up to five years for a Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions project.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
    SECOND: Michael Peace
    The motion passed unanimously

  2. Other Discussion Item
    Committee members and staff discussed the process of peer review for RFP applications. Executive Director Stalvey inquired about the level of information provided to members from the peer review panel to make funding decisions. Members requested the list of questions that review panel members are asked to consider. Chair Durheim directed staff to further evaluate the process and propose suggestions for improvements. Members also discussed ways to provide greater input to staff when drafting meeting agendas.

Adjourn

Chair Durheim adjourned the Executive Committee at 5:54 pm.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council