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Minutes from September 4, 2018 meeting

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      Iowa Commission for the Blind
      September 4, 2018

      Call to order and determination of quorum.  The quarterly meeting of the Iowa Commission for the Blind was called to order at 10:00 a.m., by Sandi Ryan, with the following members present:  Sandi Ryan, chair, Joe Van Lent, member, and Ryan Brems, member, which was a quorum. Others in attendance: Emily Wharton, Shawn Mayo, Keri Osterhaus, Sarah Willeford, Alan Bickell, Helen Stevens, Andrew Pulford, Kim Barber, Janice Eggers, Robin Madison, and Michael Barber via teleconference. 

      Action Item. Election of Board Chair. Mr. Van Lent moved to elect Ms. Ryan as the board chair. Mr. Brems seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

      Action Item. Election of Board Secretary. Mr. Brems moved to elect Ms. Eggers as the board secretary. ­­­­­Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

      Action Item. Approval of Minutes from June 23, 2018 Board Meeting. Mr. Van Lent moved approval of the minutes as submitted. Mr. Brems seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

      Action Item. Approval of Minutes from July 23, 2018 Board Meetings. Mr. Brems moved approval of the minutes as submitted. Mr. Van Lent seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

      Action Item. Approval of Budget Request. The board members discussed the budget, funding sources, and appropriations with Director Wharton and Mr. Pulford.  Mr. Brems inquired to where we are at with the Newsline subscription. Director Wharton and Ms. Willeford will work together to re-activate the Newsline subscription with a limit of $30,000 and analyze the data. 

      Mr. Brems moved approval of the budget with the one small change as submitted. Mr. Van Lent seconded the vote.  Roll call vote:  Commissioner Ryan yes, Commission Van Lent yes, Commissioner Brems yes.  Motion Approved.

      Director’s Report - Ms. Wharton:

      a. Have been working on the budget

      b. We have been remiss on the personnel report

      c. Quarterly staff meeting on 9/14.  S.O.A.R.

      d. New staff seminar will be the week of September 17th.  Ms. Ryan will be in to talk to the new staff about the commissioners.

      e. One thing we have been working on, Andrew has, each department to have their own budget and get to plan the training for their staff.  

      Managers Reports:

      a.Mr. Bickell

      i.BEP the set aside is not put in place.  This is for the set aside amount for the vendor to be put in place.  We need more capital.

      ii.Hosting a regional training 9/19-9/21.

      iii.USI is the company, good opportunity for discussion and the struggles and what can be done.  Jesse from RSA not coming.

      iv.Statewide meeting Friday in the afternoon.

      v.Mentioned last time we had an opening in the Department of Correction and that is working out very well.

      vi.Interviews this week for Counselor.Tim services the whole state. This will help him and take some time off of my shoulders.

      vii.Orientation Center – We have LEAP students that have come on.We have been to Iowa State fair, canoeing, will be going to the pumpkin patch, and apple orchard.  Numbers are growing, they fluctuate.

      viii.We picked up Zach Ellingson, as a travel instructor.

      ix.Today is the last day of the Life Skills Instructor position is open.  We are wanting everyone who leaves the center to have a job. I have discussions with students ready to leave and they are not ready to leave and do not have a job lined up.The focus is on getting them ready for employment or college.

      Commissioner Ryan adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m. The meeting was called back to order at 12:00 p.m.

      b.Ms. Stevens

      i.With Technology, as I mentioned at the June meeting, we had to migrate to the platform in a shortened tight frame.  We are migrating from windows 7 to windows 10.We are preparing the new laptops and giving them out with the new platform.

      ii.We have completed the LEAP program. We have 2019 LEAP program set up and the application is out and already have 2 signed up.

      iii. We are doing 6 weekend retreats.We have 8 signed up so far for the first retreat.We are ahead of what we had last year.

      ivAs Al mentioned, Zach has moved to the Orientation Center, we miss him. The position is in at DAS waiting for this and another position to get back.

      v.We are in the midst of interviews of open positions. We have a much better pool. Hopefully have announcements for these positions in December.

      c.Ms. Barber

      i.We have a new member of the IL staff, Alyssa Munsterman.

      ii.Gloria Graves will be leaving to take a position with VR. She has done much to move herself forward, getting her Masters.The position has been posted and will be out there for 10 days.

      iii.August 13, Mark and Gloria travelled to Colorado for the Sr. Training and Support Group.They returned to Iowa with a proposed plan and held the first Support Group on August 27 for the seniors and how they deal with the loss of sight. The meeting was well received and with attendees stating they were looking forward to the next meeting on Monday.

      iv.Senior Integration – October 1-5, 2018 and will have one former participant.ICUB and NFIB to sponsor an evening meal for this.

      v.Have been working with Mark Armstrong and bringing Helen Keller program here.  This would be a 2 ½ day event and would allow eight participants to come with one support person.  I have a grant ready for this.

      d.Ms. Willeford

      i.As of Friday, we received 940 projects to have for the current school year. We receive this steadily throughout the year Right now seeing the materials that were forgotten to be sent to them.

      ii.Our first S.O.A.R. Saturday is 9/22/18 for the library.  Will have a story trail.We have taken the large big books (2’) we are taking them through the skywalk.There will be pieces to pick up along the walk. A lot of braille books from the collection will be brought down for them to look through. We will have a Why Braille table. We want to make sure to provide information for this. The S.O.A.R. Saturday will be the 4th Saturday October and January – April.;

      iii.We are seeing the young coming. Also, want to touch base with the parents and are having the program in January for this.

      iv.Braille Bits – program to help parents to learn braille.  If they are interested how to get them this information.

      v.Braille Bites – pen pal program.  Pair up to be pen pals from across the state. Hope would be to have them meet up at LEAP.  Develop profile from the SOAR Saturday and how to pair these up.

      vi.Library is conference season. Leslie and I are going to the Library Design Institute in Minneapolis. IA Library Conference Association is in October we present a table.  NB Association Conference is at the end of October. The braille transcribers will be going to this.

      vii. RFP for RFID Project should be ready this week to go live this week and are hoping for good prices.This would speed up this process for the Superdup.

      viii.Design thinking teams report – 1st floor space. The Superdup station is done. Our goal next is to bring down the process from the 4th floor to the 1st floor. The 1st floor – we are moving the history display pieces to the assembly room. We are bringing pieces together.

      e.Ms. Osterhaus

      i.We have 3 open positions and we are working to keeping to clients serviced.

      ii.Have hired Lisa Ortner, she is coming to us with lots of experience.

      iii.Ashely West accepted the position of employment specialist.We will miss her as a VR counselor.

      iv.Gloria Graves is joining our team on Friday, we are excited and happy to have her. Since she has been with us her training will be shorter.

      v.The RFP for Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.

      vi.Share with disabilities access committees – survey to the staff in the workforce regions who are serving people with disabilities? Collecting the information and evaluating what they need. Did some disability awareness training. The work has been noticed and being shared with other states.

      vii.October is National disability awareness month. Theme is America’s workforce empowering all.

      viii.Conferences SCABR – region 7 in September, at the end of the month, and will be going down to Kansas City to share with others, and learn more with WIOA.

      Commissioner Ryan - Thank you to all our staff who present these reports. I am so pleased with the reports and the enthusiasm of the staff.

      CFO’s Report - Mr. Pulford:

      a.Stated we just opened the State’s FY19 year.

      b.For FY18 we just had the end of the hold open day last Friday, and we paid bills on Friday. We have a couple that will have to go through the appeals process. As of this morning we have our appropriation balance was $41,700. This is higher than what I like, but it is better than last year. Working on establishing cost centers for the different departments. The other obligations category – we have admin charges and indirect charges, those costs are being pooled and then distributed out.

      c.Gifts and Bequests there was activity in FY18 and FY19. Our balance as of Friday was $2,595,617.48.

      d.Elevator project moving along. Al, Randy and I met with architect and the construction representative. We received three bids, looked over the bids and selected an architect and elevator company. They will come back next two weeks with a last review before bids with contractors. Expect this to be done late November or early December.

      e.DAS – RFPs with them Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and the RFID with the library. Should have these in October.

      Discussion Item. Outreach.Mr. Brems inquired as to what can be done to facilitate Outreach for parents, students, clients, doctors’ offices, etc. Director Wharton shared some background and what is in the works moving forward including videos, presentations, materials, etc. All were in agreement that this is very important and will have on the next board agenda.

      Discussion Item. Gifts and Bequests Policy.Mr. Brems inquired as to the history of the Gifts and Bequests monies.  Board members, Director Wharton and Mr. Pulford discussed the funds.Mr. Brems, Ms. Wharton and Mr. Pulford will look into possibly investing a large portion of the funds. The Board of Directors are very pleased with the work Ms. Wharton has done on the Gifts and Bequests Policy and application and direct Ms. Wharton is to approve or deny applications up to $2,500 as defined by the criteria previously set forth.

      Action Item. Approval of Gifts and Bequests Applications. Mr. Brems moved approval of the gifts and bequests applications as presented. Mr. Van Lent seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

      Time & Place of Next Meeting. Mr. Brems moved the Commission meet on Tuesday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m. Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.

      15)Consideration of Closed Session. Ms. Ryan had Ms. Eggers read paragraph 1a from the Code of Iowa, Section 21.5. Mr. Brems moved to adjourn to closed session. Mr. Brems seconded the motion. There was a roll call vote: Ms. Ryan, yes; Mr. Van Lent, yes; and Mr. Brems, yes. The motion passed unanimously.

      The meeting adjourned into closed session at 1:47 p.m.   The meeting entered closed session at 1:54 p.m.  The closed session adjourned at 2:23 p.m.

      Commissioner Ryan called the meeting into open session at 2:25 p.m.

      16)Mr. Brems moved that request #28 from closed session be approved with equipment swap. Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

      Mr. Brems moved that request #29 from closed session be approve two of the three technology pieces with a grant and the other pieces with a loan.  Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

      Mr. Brems moved that request #30 from closed session be approved as presented. Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

      Mr. Brems moved that request #31 from closed session be denied as presented. Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

      Mr. Brems moved that request #32 from closed session be approved up to $97.95. Mr. Van Lent seconded the motion.The motion passed unanimously.

      Mr. Van Lent moved the meeting adjourn. Mr. Brems seconded and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m.

      Respectfully Submitted,

      Sandi Ryan, Chairperson

      Commission for the Blind

      Janice Eggers

      Secretary to the Commission/ Executive Secretary

      Department for the Blind