Minutes — August 2017 Council Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Patty Anderson, Disability Rights Texas
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Sue Fielder, Health and Human Services Commission — Older Americans Act
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Rachel Jew, Department of State Health Services — Maternal-Child Health
  • Jennifer Kaut, Texas Workforce Commission — Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Amy Sharp, Texas Center for Disability Studies
  • Jami Snyder, Health and Human Services Commission — Medicaid
  • Meagan Sumbera, A&M — Center on Disability and Development
  • John Thomas
  • Rick Tisch

Council Members Absent

  • Hunter Adkins
  • Kristine Clark
  • Ruth Mason
  • Dana Perry
  • Michael Peace
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Ron Roberts, Texas Education Agency — Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor

Guests Present

  • Dan Graves
  • Amy Litzinger
  • Linda Litzinger
  • Alexandra Noble
  • Stephanie Martinez
  • Jamie Massero

Staff Members Present

  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Danny Fikac
  • Ashley Ford
  • Linda Logan
  • Jessica Ramos
  • Joshua Ryf
  • Koren Vogel

Call To Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) convened on Friday, August 4, 2017, in the Chennault Room of the Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 Hotel Drive, Austin, TX 78719. Council Vice-Chair John Thomas called the meeting to order at 9:06 AM.

  1. Introductions
    Council members, staff and guests were introduced.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered.

  3. Consent Items
    Vice-Chair Thomas reviewed consent items including the minutes from the May 5, 2017, Council meeting and May 4, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting and the excused absences of Hunter Adkins; Kristine Clark; Ruth Mason; Dana Perry; Michael Peace; Brandon Pharris; Ron Roberts, Texas Education Agency (TEA); David Taylor; and Lora Taylor.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 5, 2017 Council meeting and May 4, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the excused absences as noted.
    MADE BY: Amy Sharp
    SECOND: Kristen Cox
    The motion passed without opposition. Kristen Cox abstained from voting.

  4. Chair and Executive Director’s Report
    Executive Director Beth Stalvey provided staff updates to report that Radames Fuentes resigned his position as a Grants Management Specialist. The vacant Grants Management Positions have been posted for applications. TCDD has also recently employed temporary staff to assist with website maintenance and interns to assist with communications activities. Additional temporary staff and/or interns may be contracted to complete specific projects.

    Vice-Chair Thomas, Council Member Kristen Cox, and Planning Director Joanna Cordry discussed their experiences at the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities Annual Conference and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Information and Technical Assistance Institute. Three TCDD projects were presented at the conference and reporting measures were addressed at the institute.

    Stalvey thanked members for their suggested responses to the Administration on Community Living (ACL) on the recommended changes to federal structure for Developmental Disabilities Councils. She will summarize member comments in a letter to be submitted by the August 11, 2017 deadline. Members who wish to submit individual comments should do so by the same deadline. She reminded members that it is only a proposal at this point. TCDD will continue with state plan activities and our work to improve lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Stalvey reported that TCDD staff are collaborating with staff from the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities to identify specific policy recommendations around employment before the 2017 legislative session.

    She also reported that she, on behalf of TCDD, accepted the Helen G. Fitzsimmons Leadership Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities — Texas Chapter (AAIDD-Tx) and Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos participated in the AAIDD-TX conference closing panel on the 85th Texas Legislature.

    Stalvey reported that she and Planning Specialist Danny Fikac attended an international Statewide Independent Living Council summit with invited travelers from Japan and Taiwan. These self-advocates shared their experiences during a recent trip to Washington DC and compared similar issues of access to services and attendants in their home countries.

  5. Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Internal Audit Report
    Daniel Graves, Senior Manager from Weaver & Tidwell LLP (W&T)discussed internal audit activities and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Annual Internal Audit Report. This report requires Council approval and is due to the State Auditor’s Office, Governor’s Office, Legislative Budget Board and Sunset Advisory Commission by November 1, 2017 and must be posted to the TCDD website following that submission. The Council can approve the report with the understanding that revisions will note the selection of a contractor for FY 2018 audit activities. The report highlights audit activities for FY 2017 in Grant Management and Administration as well as follow-up audit activities for FY 2016 of Website Maintenance and FY 2015 Procedures and Controls. The report also notes compliance with the Texas Government Code, reviews consulting services for grantee desk reviews, notes that an external quality assurance review was conducted in FY 2016, and shows TCDD compliance for reports of suspected fraud and abuse. Council members did not have questions regarding this report.

    Graves next discussed the FY 2017 Findings and Observations of Grant Management and Administration. An overall assessment rating of “strong” was awarded. He provided details on the audit objectives and discussed the four findings for significant activities. Of these findings two were rated moderate and two were rated low and TCDD management indicated efforts to remediate all findings by May 2017. Graves also provided updates on FY 2015 audit activities of Procedures and Controls and FY 2016 audit activities of Website Maintenance. Staff have fully remediated all but three findings from those audits and the remaining are partially remediated.

    Vice-Chair Thomas offered congratulations to staff on the “strong” audit rating and reported that the Audit Committee was in favor of accepting the report.

    MOTION: To accept the FY 2017 Annual Internal Audit Report
    MADE BY: John Thomas for the Audit Committee — motions from Committee do not need a second.
    The motion passed unanimously.

  6. Internal Audit Contract Awards
    Vice-Chair Thomas reported on the process to select a contractor for future internal audit activities. Bids were accepted and evaluated by a review panel consisting of Thomas, Committee member Scott McAvoy, Operations Director Martha Cantu, Executive Director Beth Stalvey, and TEA Contract Specialist Lorie Williams. Five applications were received and two were selected for oral presentations. The review panel recommended continuing with the current contractor of W&T and the Audit Committee agreed with this recommendation. Thomas further explained that the posting to accept bids was written as a contract for one year with an option to renew for four additional years.

    MOTION: To approve W&T as contractor for TCDD internal audit activities for FY 2018, with an option to renew for four additional years
    MADE BY: John Thomas for the Audit Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

  7. Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Expense Budget
    Cantu reviewed the proposed Operating Expense Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. She noted this is based on level funding from FY 2017 but is $22,445 less than for FY 2017. She further explained that 80% of the budget goes toward staff activities related to the state plan and 20% of the budget is for administrative expenses.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of the FY 2018 Operating Expense Budget in the amount of $1,986,335.
    MADE BY: John Thomas for the Executive Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

  8. Fiscal Year 2018 Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Education Agency
    Cantu reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TEA. She noted that the MOU for FY 2018 does not have any content changes from FY 2017. This document defines the responsibilities of TEA as the designated state agency that provides administrative support for Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. TEA is paid $50,000 per year for these services.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of the FY 2018 MOU with TEA.
    MADE BY: John Thomas for the Executive Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

  9. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Executive Director Stalvey reviewed a proposal for TCDD to engage contract services with up to two Community Outreach Coordinators which would create the equivalent of staff level positions in areas outside of Austin. These individuals would coordinate opportunities for community inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities from diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds and provide support to individuals involved in the community. The intent is to build local community capacity and inform TCDD about future projects to underserved groups.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of up to $200,000 per year for up to five years for the salary and other expenses for up to two Community Outreach Coordinators.
    MADE BY: John Thomas for the Executive Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Stalvey next discussed Travel Funds for Advisory Committees. She reviewed the history of TCDD providing these funds to support travel of self-advocates or their family members to participate in state level advisory committees, councils and workgroups. Many of these groups have concluded or been discontinued and TCDD does not anticipate the need for ongoing support. However, it is recommended to reserve $7,500 per year for the next two fiscal years in the event that other needs arise for travel support. The contract to provide these funds to individuals is through the Texas Center for Disability Studies.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of up to $7,500 per year for up to two years for travel funds for advisory committees.
    MADE BY: John Thomas for the Executive Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported on Committee discussion of future grant activities to implement the state plan. The first executive summary discussed was Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training in Rural Areas. This project is similar to other leadership and advocacy projects but would be exclusive to rural areas. Committee members indicated that projects implemented by organizations that are local to their communities be given preference. It was also noted that additional funding may be needed if the project manager is a person with an intellectual, developmental or other disability and additional funding was designated for accommodations that an organization may not be able to afford.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of funding of up to $85,000 per project per year for up to five years for up to five Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training in Rural Areas projects to include the possibility of receiving additional funds up to $25,000 to provide reasonable accommodations to Project Directors or Project Coordinators who have a developmental disability if they are necessary and exceed the amount the group can afford.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Cortez then reported on discussions of the executive summary for Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions. This is designed as a pilot project to develop peer supports and training programs for individuals who live in institutions so that they understand their rights, learn about opportunities in the communities, and can lead or participate in their own person-centered planning process.

    MOTION: To recommend approval of up to $125,000 per project per year for up to five years for up to three Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions projects.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Cortez next discussed the Future Funding Priorities document and noted that following the discussion of new executive summaries, it was agreed that the new projects would take funding priority over existing approved projects.

    MOTION: To prioritize TCDD projects approved for funding in the following order:

    • Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions

    • Leadership Development and Advocacy Skills Training in Rural Areas

    • Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Projects

    • Developmental Disabilities Network Partners Collaborative: Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making

    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

  10. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported that the Committee discussion focused on the issue of disconnected youth specifically in the Lower Rio Grande Valley area. They discussed barriers to employment as well as ways to provide information about available services to those who need it.

    Council member Stephen Gersuk served as Chair of the Public Policy Committee in the absence of Chair Lora Taylor and Vice-Chair Kris Clark. He reported on Committee discussion regarding a failed bill from the 85th Texas Legislature to include business owners with disabilities in the Historically Underutilized Business program. He noted that advocates will be working with representatives from groups currently involved in this program prior to the next legislative session.

  11. Communications and Marketing Activities Report
    Communications Director Joshua Ryf provided updates on communications activities from the past quarter. He discussed information from other organizations that was shared through TCDD social media as well as campaigns for advocacy opportunities, TCDD Request For Proposal releases, REV UP voter registration for people with disabilities, and town hall meetings about vocational rehabilitation services.

    Ryf discussed the July meeting with Developmental Disabilities Network Partners (DDNP) and representatives from the ACL. He highlighted documents that were completed for this meeting but are relevant to future advocacy opportunities. One document shows the collaborative work of the DDNP and the second emphasizes the impact of TCDD projects as well as state and local partnerships.

    Ryf reviewed various activities taking place from August through November and reminded members to share ideas, promote funding opportunities, recruit Council members, and encourage others to connect with TCDD via email and social media.

  12. Executive Committee Report
    Vice-Chair Thomas reported continuation grant funding that was awarded during the Executive Committee meeting to:

    • Easter Seals of Central Texas — Leadership Development and Advocacy Training

    • Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center — Leadership Development and Advocacy Training

    • Light & Salt Association — Culturally Appropriate Family Supports

    • Texas Advocates — Grassroots Community Organizing

    • EveryChild, Inc. — Public Policy Fellow

    • Volar Center for Independent Living — Building Community Capacity through Collaboration

    He further reported that new grant funding was awarded to the Arc of Texas, Disability Rights Texas (DRT), and Coalitions of Texans with Disabilities for Public Policy Fellows projects. Funding was also awarded to the University of Texas for a Texas Sibling Network project. One translation stipend, three event stipends and three speaker stipends were awarded this quarter.

    The Committee approved 14 new individuals to the pool of potential Independent Review Panel members.

    Operations Director Cantu reviewed the quarterly financial reports including the operating expenses and summary of project funds. She noted that the final Notice of Grant Award for Fiscal Year 2017 had been received in the amount of $4,802, 026. The Executive Committee members did not express any concerns with the agency financial reports.

    The Committee reviewed Conflict of Interest disclosures and no concerns were noted.

    Thomas further reported that the Executive Committee approved up to $100,000 in funding toward salary, administrative fees, and travel expenses for a contracted employee to assist with communications activities.

  13. Project Development Committee Report
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported on Committee discussion of staff collaborative activities with the Arc of Texas on Pathways to Justice training for law enforcement, legal professionals, and victim services personnel on how to improve the interactions that people with disabilities have with the criminal justice system.

  14. Public Policy Committee Report
    Council member Gersuk reported on Committee discussion on how to address the increased rate of denials to the Medically Dependent Children’s Program (MDCP). He noted there is a collaborative effort to make a video that explains options for parents in handling this process. The Committee received an update on the proposal to allow members of the community access to State Supported Living Center (SSLC) medical and dental services but for these services to be provided in the community and not on the SSLC campus.

  15. Audit Committee Report
    Audit Committee Chair Thomas noted that he did not have further reports from that Committee.

  16. State Agency Representatives Quarterly Activities Report
    DRT alternate representative Patty Anderson reported on DRT involvement in the MDCP video. She also noted that DRT staff are providing training on alternatives to guardianship.

    Texas Center for Disability Services (TCDS) representative Amy Sharp reported on a disability awareness series in collaboration with other entities at the University of Texas (UT). These will take place on Mondays in October and will focus on health, law, student supports, and universal design and learning. UT Arlington will present an exhibit on evolution of accessibility and this will be available for approximately one month.

    A&M Center on Disability and Development alternate representative Meagan Sumbera reported on a project to address teen pregnancy prevention for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) — Medicaid representative Jami Snyder reported on the implementation of changes from the 85th Texas Legislature. 24 bills impacted the administration of the Medicaid program with 45 required reports. Staff are monitoring the special session which could impact maternal health programs as well as reduce managed care organization payments to fund education vouchers.

    HHSC — Older Americans Act alternate representative Sue Fielder discussed a three-year grant project from the ACL titled Texas Takes On Dementia.

    Texas Workforce Commission representative Jennifer Kaut reported continued transformation efforts and the implementation of new policies and procedures. She noted that there are over 7,000 individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders who are receiving vocational rehabilitation services and this is the largest diagnosis for people receiving vocational rehabilitation.

    Department of State Health Services — Title V Maternal/Child Heath Texas representative Rachel Jew discussed their federal reporting process. She also reported that Texas was selected to participate in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovations Network for children with medical complexity.

  17. Announcements and Updates
    Council members discussed dates and locations of future meetings of November 1–3, 2017 (Hilton Austin Airport), February 7–9, 2018, May 2–4, 2018, and August 1–3, 2018.


Council Vice-Chair Thomas adjourned the meeting at 11:23 AM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council