Minutes — November 2017 Council Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Council Members Present

  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Hunter Adkins
  • Patty Anderson, DRTX
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Kristine Clark
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Kristen Cox
  • Stephen Gersuk
  • Rachel Jew, DSHS — Maternal-Child Health
  • Ruth Mason
  • Meagan Orsag, A&M — CDD
  • Michael Peace
  • Amy Sharp, TCDS
  • David Taylor
  • Lora Taylor
  • Rick Tisch

Council Members Absent

  • Lisa Akers-Owen, HHSC — Older Americans Act
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Jennifer Kaut, TWC — Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Scott McAvoy
  • Dana Perry
  • Brandon Pharris
  • Ron Roberts, TEA — IDEA
  • Jami Snyder, HHSC — Medicaid
  • John Thomas

Guests Present

  • Ricky Broussard
  • Michelle Dooley
  • Norine J. Gill
  • Dan Graves
  • Mel Hocker
  • Linda Litzinger
  • Alexandra Noble
  • Ginger Mayeaux
  • Stephanie Martinez
  • Crystal Vasquez
  • Adrienne Walsh
  • Havilah Walsh
  • Patrick Walsh
  • Tiffany Williams

Staff Members Present

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

Call To Order

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities convened on Friday, November 3, 2017, in the Chennault Room of the Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 Hotel Drive, Austin, TX 78719. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 9:08 am.

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

  2. Public Comments
    Linda Litzinger offered public comments on grass-roots groups handling disaster relief.

  3. Consent Items
    Chair Durheim reviewed consent items including the minutes from the August 4, 2017 and September 27, 2017, Council meetings and August 3, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting and the excused absences of Mateo Delgado, Scott McAvoy, Dana Perry, Brandon Pharris, John Thomas and program representatives from the Older Americans Act at Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Medicaid at HHSC, Vocational Rehabilitation at Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at Texas Education Agency (TEA).

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the August 4, 2017 and September 27, 2017. Council meetings and August 3, 2017, Committee of the Whole meeting as well as the excused absences as noted.
    MADE BY: Stephen Gersuk
    SECOND: Kristen Cox
    The motion passed unanimously

  4. Chair and Executive Director’s Report
    Chair Durheim reported on the presentation that she and Project Development Committee Chair Gladys Cortez provided to the Partners in Policymaking class in September. They spoke on Special Education and Section 504 laws for students with disabilities.

    Executive Director Beth Stalvey provided updates on TCDD staff to include the selection of two Grants Specialists. Angie Rose began her position on November 1 and Robert Garcia is scheduled to begin his position on November 15. Staff continue to receive assistance through part-time contract work provided by a Grants Assistant and a Communications Intern. Stalvey also reported that Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos submitted her resignation which is effective November 14, 2017. Stalvey noted that among other activities, staff have been focused on the Cross-Council Collaboration for Disaster Relief, beginning seven different grant projects, and gathering data and drafting language for the Annual Project Performance Report (APPR).

    Stalvey reported on the Executive Director Summit which was held in Santa Fe, NM in October. She noted that staff from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) provided updates on reporting and budget requirements. Peer discussion topics included messaging and branding for DD Councils as well as the limits of advocacy efforts to ensure that lobbying activities do not take place.

    Stalvey also reported that that the proposal to consolidate DD Councils, State Independent Living Councils and Traumatic Brain Injury Councils is no longer being considered. Overwhelming support to maintain the current structure and funding was received by email and Congressional budget proposals include level funding in FY2018 for DD Councils and language that is opposed to the previous consolidation proposal.

  5. Fiscal Year 2018 to Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Internal Audit Plan
    Daniel Graves, Senior Manager from Weaver & Tidwell LLP briefly discussed the recent meetings with TCDD management staff to update the Risk Assessment for Council Activities. Sixteen activities/processes were identified of which ten are included in TCDD operations. The remaining six are included in TEA activities and are in the scope of the audit for that agency.

    Based on the updated risk assessment, a plan for audit activities for the next three years has been developed and is proposed as follows:

    • FY 2018 — Focus on External Communications and Public Policy activities with a follow up on Grants Management activities.

    • FY 2019 — Focus on Governance to include staff and Council policies and procedures with a follow up on External Communications and Public Policy activities.

    • FY 2020 — Focus on Program Development and Compliance Reporting with a follow up on Governance.

    MOTION: To accept the FY 2018 to FY 2020 Annual Internal Audit Plan
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim for the Audit Committee. (motions from Committee do not need a second)
    The motion passed unanimously.

  6. Selection of TCDD Nominating Committee
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported David Taylor as that Committee’s representative to the Nominating Committee. Public Policy Committee Chair Lora Taylor reported Hunter Adkins as that Committee’s selection. Chair Durheim asked for a nomination from the Council membership to complete the Nominating Committee.

    MOTION: To nominate Rick Tisch as the third member of the Nominating Committee.
    MADE BY: Kristen Cox
    SECOND: David Taylor
    The motion passed unanimously.

  7. Future Activities for State Plan Implementation
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez reported on Committee discussion of future grant activities to implement the state plan. The first executive summary discussed was Next Chapter Book Club. This project forms community book clubs for individuals with developmental disabilities to meet in public locations to read books aloud and discuss them. The clubs are supported with trained volunteer facilitators and may also discuss other topics as well as spend time socializing both during and outside of the meeting.

    MOTION: To approve funding of up to $175,000 for year one; $150,000 for year two; $100,000 for year three; and $75,000 for year four for one organization to establish at least 20 Next Chapter Book Clubs, with preference given to proposals that plan to begin a greater number of clubs in rural areas.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Cortez then reported on discussions of the executive summary for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who are Aging and Their Caregivers. This grantee would identify and begin to address service system gaps to better serve adults with developmental disabilities who are aging and their caregivers. Further policy actions and future projects can be developed with data and best practices identified through this initial project.

    MOTION: To approve up to $175,000 per project, per year, for up to five years, for up to three projects to address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities who are aging and their caregivers who are aging.
    MADE BY: Gladys Cortez for the Project Development Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Chair Durheim reported on Executive Committee discussion on the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) following Hurricane Maria. She noted that if Cross-Council Collaborative activities are set up in these territories to address those needs, TCDD is in a position to contribute to those efforts. Any funding contributed would come from TCDD grant funds and not from the Cross-Council Collaboration established to provide relief for individuals in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

    MOTION: To approve funding of up to $25,000 to Puerto Rico and up to $10,000 to the United States Virgin Islands toward a Cross-Council Collaboration for Disaster Relief, once such a collaboration is established and approved by Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities for each territory.
    MADE BY: Mary Durheim for the Executive Committee.
    The motion passed unanimously.

    Cortez next discussed the Future Funding Priorities document and noted that the Executive Committee did not select an application for funding the Local Self-Advocacy Groups Leadership and Advocacy project. The Project Development Committee recommends this project to be prioritized on list.

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

    1. Local Self-Advocacy Groups Leadership and Advocacy Training (repost)
    2. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Projects
    3. Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who are Aging and Their Caregivers
    4. Next Chapter Book Club
    5. DD Network Partners Collaborative: Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making

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

  8. Self-Advocate Speakers on Meaningful Day Activities from Imagine SPEAK
    Norine Jaloway Gill provided a brief synopsis of the Self-Advocates as Speakers project from Imagine Enterprises. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities received training on public speaking and developing presentations. Participants have spoken on personal activities as well as policy issues for people with disabilities to local school boards, civic groups, state agencies and legislators.

    Havilah Walsh who participated in Imagine SPEAK gave her presentation on volunteer activities and other important activities in her life. She described her participation in hippotherapy, a youth reading camp, and a trip to China where she worked with children in orphanages.

    Imagine SPEAK Peer Leader Ricky Broussard spoke about the principles of self-determination as well as his volunteer activities with Texas Advocates. He discussed efforts to advocate against wage reduction for personal attendant services.

  9. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    Executive Assistant Koren Vogel provided a summary of the recent report from the National Disability Institute entitled Financial Inequality: Disability, Race and Poverty in America. This report is based on surveys conducted by the Census Bureau and the National Center on Health Statistics and explores the relationship between race and disability and how they relate to poverty. The report gives data on the prevalence of disability, education levels, poverty rates, employment status, health insurance coverage/medical debt, food stability and banking status for Non-Hispanic White, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian populations. Recommendations from the report include continued discussions on a national level as well as engaging communities of people with disabilities and people of color. It is also recommended that education on financial capacity be incorporated in the social and human services delivery systems.

  10. Communications and Marketing Activities Report
    Communications Director Joshua Ryf discussed the campaign to collect stories from individuals with disabilities and their family members who use Medicaid services. These stories are being gathered for a DD Network Partners project that can be used in advocacy efforts to show the importance of Medicaid services. 78 stories (including 27 photos) have been collected from 46 cities throughout Texas. Ryf shared four stories that discussed the types of services such as medication, doctor visits and therapy sessions as well as the impact the services have on the daily lives of these individuals with disabilities.

    Executive Assistant Vogel discussed a recent campaign to recruit individuals who are interested in applying to become Council members. A form was added to the TCDD website allowing people to provide contact information and basic experience with leadership and advocacy. Vogel responded to over 80 interested individuals and has had approximately 25 in-depth conversations to discuss the application process as well as responsibilities, activities, and time commitments to serving as a Council member. 11 individuals continue to express interest and have submitted or are working on applications to the Governor’s Appointments Office.

    Public Policy Assistant Ashley Ford reported on efforts to advertise RFP announcements and reach new organizations. Announcements were sent by USPS mail to several organizations in addition to email and advertised through social media. Applications from two new organizations were received for the last two RFPs.

    Ryf discussed the availability of stipends to translate materials to reduce linguistic barriers to access services and supports in Texas. Two of these stipends were awarded after Hurricane Harvey about housing rights and maintaining special education services for people who were displaced following the storm.

    Ryf also presented graphics that were used to raise awareness about Stakeholder Training on Guardianship Alternatives, the Texas Tribune Festival, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the Disability Rights Texas Community Survey.

  11. Executive Committee Report
    Chair Durheim reported continuation grant funding that was awarded during the Executive Committee meeting to:

    • Community Healthcore (Building Community Capacity through Collaboration)
    • Reaching Families Advocacy and Support Group (Culturally Appropriate Family Supports)

    She further reported that new grant funding was awarded to Imagine Art for a Peer Support Specialists in the Community project. Two translation stipends, two event stipends and two speaker stipends were awarded this quarter.

    The Committee approved 5 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 initial Notice of Grant Award for FY 2018 had been received in the amount of $902,996 and that the full amount for FY 2018 is expected to be equal to FY 2017. Cantu reviewed the Summary of Funds for FY 2016 to 2017. All funds for FY 2016 have been assigned and although a negative balance for FY 2017 is indicated on the report, this is expected to diminish due to unspent funds from grant projects, delayed starts of projects and funding assigned to RFPs which may not eventually by completely obligated 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.

  12. Public Comments (continued)
    Chair Durheim recognized Mel Hoker, President of Texas Advocates who was not present at the beginning of the meeting for Public Comment. Hoker spoke about the organization’s fund raising efforts and desire to assist with people with disabilities obtain employment.

  13. Project Development Committee Report
    Project Development Committee Chair Cortez did not have additional updates.

  14. Public Policy Committee Report
    Public Policy Committee Chair Taylor reported on the Committee decision to accept the proposed Position Statement Review Schedule. She noted that three statements do not need revisions, four statements need minor revisions such as grammar or formatting, five statements will need content revisions, and two statements will be eliminated with the content from one included in a statement of similar content.

    Taylor also noted that the Committee discussed creating a resource list of Council members that includes their areas of interest and expertise.

    Taylor thanked outgoing Public Policy Director Jessica Ramos for her service to the agency and Texans with disabilities.

  15. Audit Committee Report
    Council Chair Durheim noted that she did not have further reports from that Committee.

  16. State Agency Representatives Quarterly Activities Report
    Disability Rights Texas (DRT) alternate representative Patty Anderson thanked the Council for completing and marketing the DRT Community Survey.

    Texas Center for Disability Services (TCDS) representative Amy Sharp that the University of Texas will offer a minor course of study in Disability Studies beginning in the Fall of 2018. The Texas Gathering of Person Centered Practices was recently held with more than 40 participants from five different states. Videos on supported decision making will be produced and scripts for these videos contain very plain language for individuals with low literacy.

    A&M CDD alternate representative Meagan Orsag reported on several projects that speak to employment, advocacy, post-secondary education, and community inclusion. She noted that an “Aggies on the Spectrum” group was recently started at Texas A&M. She also reported on Center staff that participate in national organizations and boards.

    Department of State Health Services (DSHS) — Title V — Maternal Child Health representative Rachel Jew reported that with the HHSC transformation her program is now under a new division entitled Community Health Improvement. She discussed a pilot program that began in August and has connected over 100 infants with congenital Zika syndrome and other related disabilities to services for infants with disabilities. She further reported that federal reviews of their program have been positive and complimentary of their partnerships with other organizations such as TCDD.

  17. Announcements and Updates
    Council members discussed dates and locations of future meetings of February 7 to 9, 2018, May 2 to 4, 2018, and August 1 to 3, 2018 that will all be held at the Holiday Inn Austin Midtown. November 7 to 9, 2018 are the tentative dates for the fall meeting.


Chair Durheim adjourned the meeting at 11:53 am.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council