Minutes — August 2018 Executive Committee Meeting


  • Committee Members Present
  • Mary Durheim, Council Chair
  • Gladys Cortez
  • Lora Taylor
  • John Thomas
  • Committee Members Absent
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Guests Present
  • Deborah Walker
  • Staff Present
  • Beth Stalvey, Executive Director
  • Ann Bjorgo
  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Scott Daigle
  • 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, August 1, 2018, in the Salon H Room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 6121 North IH-35, Austin, TX 78752. Council Chair Mary Durheim called the meeting to order at 1:31 PM.

  1. Introductions
  2. Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.
  1. Public Comments
  2. No public comments were offered.
  1. Consideration of Minutes
  2. The minutes were reviewed and no additions or corrections were noted.
  4. MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 2, 2018, Executive Committee meeting as presented.
  5. MADE BY: Lora Taylor
  6. SECOND: John Thomas
  7. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. TCDD Quarterly Financial Report
  2. Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the FY 2018 TCDD Administrative and Expense budget, noting 65% of funds have been expended with nine months of the fiscal year passed.
  4. She reported that the final allocation of funding for FY 2018 has been received with the total award of $5,169,382.
  6. Cantu reviewed the Summary of Funds for FY 2016 – 2017. All funds for FY 2016 have been assigned and will need to be spent by September 30, 2018, or returned to Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). $413,095 of FY 2017 funds remain to be assigned to grantees prior to September 30, 2018. Although the report shows a negative balance of $640,438 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. There is approximately $1.5 million allocated toward future projects.
  8. The Committee reviewed the status of current grantees and the stipends which have been funded for the fiscal year.
  1. FY 2019 Operating Expense Budget
  2. Operations Director Cantu reviewed the proposed budget for FY 2019 Operating Expenses. She explained the differences from the FY 2018 budget to what is anticipated for FY 2019 and discussed which expenses fall into state plan and non-state plan activities. $1,563,250 is budgeted for state plan activities and $453,621 is budgeted for non-state plan activities.
  4. MOTION: To recommend Council approval of the FY 2019 Operating Expense budget at $2,016,871.
  5. MADE BY: Lora Taylor
  6. SECOND: Gladys Cortez
  7. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. New Grant Awards
  2. Chair Durheim read a statement regarding Conflict of Interest reminding members, staff and guests to excuse themselves from the conversation if a conflict exists.
  4. Planning Director Joanna Cordry discussed the intent of the Next Chapter Book Club Request for Proposals (RFP). With training and technical assistance, this project would establish at least 30 Next Chapter Book Clubs with at least four in languages other than English and at least two in rural areas. The organization would be required to have at least five affiliates to support six chapters each. It was noted that part of this project includes assistance from the national affiliate organization, Chapters Ahead and TCDD is currently posting for bids to acquire this service.
  6. Cordry reviewed the application from Texas Advocates. The proposal includes establishing books clubs in Williamson, Bee, McLennan, Wilson, and Dallas counties. Strategies include holding clubs in Spanish and will also include American Sign Language (ASL) when needed. Clubs established in Bee County, as well as rural areas of Williamson and Wilson counties, would meet that requirement.
  8. MOTION: To award funding of up to $135,000 for year 1, up to $110,000 for year 2, up to $60,000 for year 3, and up to $40,000 for year 4 to Texas Advocates for a Next Chapter Book Club project contingent on the award of a consultation contract with the national affiliate organization.
  9. MADE BY:Lora Taylor
  10. SECOND: John Thomas
  11. The motion passed unanimously.
  13. Cordry next reviewed the application from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Staff felt it was unclear that this application met the intent of the RFP because it appeared that the intent was to develop a curriculum rather than following the evidence-based model Chapters Ahead Training called for in the RFP. Committee members reached a consensus that this application was not fundable and did not offer a motion.
  15. Cordy then reviewed the Disability-Related Participatory Research RFP noting that the intent was to fund research that includes the perspective of individuals with developmental disabilities to inform TCDD’s future activities on a wide range of topics. One application was received from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The application proposes funding to be used to develop the protocol to support an individual with a developmental disability in an existing project. Staff noted that the area of study is unclear and it does not appear that individuals with developmental disabilities would be actively involved other beyond testing the protocol and giving feedback.
  17. MOTION: To not award funding to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio for the Disability-Related Participatory Research.
  18. MADE BY: Gladys Cortez
  19. SECOND: Lora Taylor
  20. The motion passed unanimously.
  22. Cordry discussed a proposal from Hatching Hope Foundations received this quarter for an Outreach and Development project. Cordry noted that the organization is based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and would primarily focus on African-American and Hispanic/Latino population affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  24. MOTION: To award funding of up to $10,000 for up to 18 months to Hatching Hope Foundation for an Outreach and Development project.
  25. MADE BY: Lora Taylor
  26. SECOND: John Thomas
  27. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Continuation Grant Awards
  2. Committee members discussed the information provided to them for consideration of continuation grant awards. There were no specific questions, concerns, or comments on continuation proposals.
  4. MOTION: To approve continuation grant funding as follows:
    1. Up to $67,500 to Coalition of Texans with Disabilities for the second and final year of a TCDD Policy Fellows project
    2. Up to $67,500 to Disability Rights Texas for the second and final year of a TCDD Policy Fellows project
    3. Up to $67,500 to the Arc of Texas for the second and final year of a TCDD Policy Fellows project
    4. Up to $74,998 to Easterseals of Central Texas for the third year of a five-year Leadership Development and Advocacy Training project
    5. Up to $74,998 to Family to Family Network for the third year of a five-year Leadership Development and Advocacy Training project
    6. Up to $75,000 to Paso del Norte Children’s Development Center for the third year of a five-year Leadership Development and Advocacy Training project
    7. Up to $75,000 to Light and Salt Association for the fourth and final year of a Culturally Appropriate Family Supports project
    8. Up to $108,429 to Mounting Horizons for the second year of a five-year Youth Leadership Development project
    9. Up to $125,000 to SAFE Alliance for the second year of a five-year Youth Leadership Development project
  1. MADE BY: Lora Taylor
  2. SECOND: Gladys Cortez
  3. The motion passed unanimously.
  5. Grants Management Specialist Robert Garcia reviewed the executive summary for continuation grant funding from the University of Texas. Funding of up to $83,186 is requested for the second year of a five-year Texas Sibling Network project. The expected results of this project are the recruitment of over 100 members, establish a sustainable statewide network with at least six community and four college-based chapters, and identify key public policy issues and facilitate member engagement in the policy process. Project staff report that during the first year they have attended conferences, workshops, and other events to connect with potential members and established a website, newsletter and social media sites for the network. Goals for the second year are to increase membership in the network and conduct activities that are meaningful to siblings.
  7. TCDD staff noted that the grantee is behind on year 1 activities including establishing the chapters as proposed, does not plan to spend all the budget for the first year, and will only have part-time staff allocated to the project for the second year. Committee members had an extensive discussion about the progress of this project and expressed several concerns with the continuation. Staff explained if a grantee is not meeting expectations with activities or budget expenditures, TCDD staff will notify the grantee and work toward resolution. Procedures to withhold payment or terminate a project exist when a grantee is not meeting project requirements.
  9. MOTION: To approve up to $83,186 in continuation grant funding to the University of Texas for the second year of a five-year Texas Sibling Network project.
  10. MADE BY: Mary Durheim
  11. SECOND: Lora Taylor
  12. AMENDMENT: To cite concerns in the award notification over the lack of full-time project staff and the ability to meet project deliverables with reduced staffing when deliverables for the first year were not met.
  13. MADE BY: John Thomas
  14. Members asked that the grantee is encouraged to discuss obstacles of the project with TCDD staff as they occur instead of waiting until reporting periods.
  15. The motion passed unanimously.
  17. Garcia next presented the executive summary for continuation grant funding from Volar Center for Independent Living. Funding of up to $150,000 is requested for the fifth and final year of a Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project. The expected results of the project are to identify, enhance, and expand community supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to prevent and reduce admissions to institutions. TCDD staff acknowledged fiscal challenges with this project but noted that a new Financial Administrative Authority has recently been contracted to handle financial reporting. Although monthly Requests for Advancement or Reimbursement (RAR) are behind by several months, it is expected that this will be corrected. TCDD staff are diligent in their review of expenses and follow all procedures for allowable expenses.
  19. MOTION: To approve up to $150,000 in continuation grant funding to Volar Center for Independent Living for the fifth and final year of a Building Community Capacity through Collaboration project.
  20. MADE BY: John Thomas
  21. SECOND: Gladys Cortez
  22. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Education Agency
  2. Operations Director Cantu reviewed the FY 2019 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Texas Education Agency (TEA). This defines the roles and responsibilities of TEA as the designated state agency in providing administrative services and supports to TCDD. There were no changes from the FY 2018 MOU.
  4. MOTION: To recommend Council approval of the FY 2019 Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Education Agency.
  5. MADE BY: John Thomas
  6. SECOND: Lora Taylor
  7. The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Grants Activities Reports
  2. Grants Management Director Cynthia Ellison reported that three projects concluded during the previous quarter including the National Disability Institute’s Understanding Employment Options project, Region 17 Education Service Center’s Family Involvement in Schools project and Texas Advocates’ Grass Roots Community Organization project. She further reported that two projects from the Texas State Independent Living Council (Leadership and Advocacy in Rural Areas and Peer Supports for Individuals Living in Institutions) one from Easterseals of Central Texas (Public Policy Fellow) have just begun.
  4. Ellison reviewed the Independent Audit Status Report and the Risk Assessment of TCDD Projects and noted no concerns. She reported that TCDD is currently managing 24 grant projects.
  6. Executive Director Beth Stalvey reported that Texas A&M University elected to not continue the second year of the Higher Education Collaborative project. Members discussed next steps to execute higher education projects and agreed that the Project Development Committee should discuss options for moving forward.
  1. Chair’s Report
  2. Council Chair Durheim announced that Andy Crim was returning to Council membership. He requested assignment to the Project Development Committee and therefore Kris Clark would return to the Public Policy Committee. Durheim reviewed expected absences for the Council and Committee meetings which include Kimberly Blackmon, Kris Clark, Kristen Cox, Michael Peace, Dana Perry, and Brandon Pharris. Gladys Cortez will attend Wednesday and Thursday’s meetings but is unable to attend on Friday. Scott McAvoy as Project Development Committee Vice-Chair will provide Committee reports to the Council. Durheim also announced that there will be changes in representation from the Health and Human Services Commission Older Americans Act programs as alternate Sue Fielder has accepted a different position within the agency and representative Lisa Akers-Owen is retiring at the end of August but is expected to be present at these meetings.
  4. Durheim also reported that communications with staff from the Governor’s Appointments Office indicate that new members could be appointed in the fall.
  6. Durheim noted that she continues to serve as a Section 504 subject matter expert on the committee to revise the Texas Dyslexia Handbook.
  1. Executive Director’s Report
  2. Executive Director Stalvey reviewed stipend awards that were approved during the past quarter to the following applicants:
    1. Arc of Greater Houston: Events Stipend for up to $5,000 for 3rd Annual Positive Futures Conference on November 9-10, 2018, in Houston.
    2. Arc of Greater Houston: Speakers Stipend for up to $4,000 for 3rd Annual Positive Futures Conference on November 9-10, 2018, in Houston.
    3. Alamo Area Council on Governments: Speakers stipend for up to $4,025 for Texas Gathering for Person-Centered Practices on October 25-26, 2018, in San Antonio.
    4. Texas Tribune: Events stipend for up to $6,900 for Texas Tribune Festival on September 27-29, 2018, in Austin.
    5. The Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas: Speakers Stipend for up to $2,515 for Bodies, Boundaries, and Dating for Individuals with Down Syndrome on September 29, 2018, in Arlington.
  1. Stalvey noted that a stipend application was received from the Texas Disability Project for the Texas Disability Issues Forum but was declined because the use of federal funds for an election-related event is not allowable.
  3. Stalvey provided updates on TCDD staff to note that Scott Daigle was selected as the Public Policy Director and began his position on June 1, 2018. Peggy Oster recently resigned as the Web Administrator and Le Lien is serving part-time as a temporary employee in that position. Alicja Zapalska is serving as a Communications Intern and staff are evaluating proposals for contract work in the Communications division. Staff is evaluating the position description for the vacant Public Policy Assistant position.
  5. Stalvey discussed the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) annual conference that she and Public Policy Specialist Ashley Ford attended in July. She noted that Texas had a strong presence at the conference with presentations from Texas A&M on the PATHS program and TCDD grantee Community Healthcore. Following the conference, there was a “Day of Dialogue” on leadership and advocacy training and the Texas Partners in Policymaking training was discussed. She also attended the AIDD Technical Assistance Institute where she presented on emergency management for people with disabilities and lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey.
  7. Stalvey noted that the federal Office of Management and Budget acknowledged outstanding work from TCDD on reporting match funds and Stalvey wanted to recognize Systems Support Specialist Barbara Booker for her efforts in this area.
  9. Stalvey reported on directions from Administration on Community Living regarding performance periods of federal funds. The practice has previously been that TCDD and other agencies had two years to allocate funds to projects with a third year for that project to expend the funds. For FY 2019 funds, directions are that all activities from federal funds must be completed within two years. The third year can only be used to execute payments for work that took place during the two-year period. Stalvey assured members that staff is diligently monitoring the situation and the important thing for Council members is to keep executing state plan activities.
  11. Members discussed options for the November Council meeting. Stalvey reported that as part of the Disability Policy Academy, Colleen Horton recently presented on trauma informed care and mental health issues for people with intellectual disabilities. As this is a topic that Council members have expressed previous interest, Horton could be invited to do a similar presentation at the Committee of the Whole meeting. Durheim noted that mental health is expected to be a prominent topic during the 86th Texas Legislature and expressed a desire to do preliminary work in preparation for the session including receiving resource materials in November. Committee chairs were directed to discuss topics and resource requests related to the session during their meetings and bring that information to the Council. Members discussed advocacy efforts outside of the legislative session and noticed there are opportunities to meeting with legislators before the session to provide education on disability-related topics.
  13. Members discussed the topics and subject matter for the Communications and Marketing report provided by Joshua Ryf during the Council. Ryf noted that due to the nature of communications, much of the information he’s providing may have been seen by members through social media, email, and other avenues. Durheim directed him to bring forth any new information he desired and did not feel there was a need to repeat information that members have already seen.
  1. Conflict of Interest Disclosure
  2. Committee members reviewed updated conflict of interest disclosure information for Council members and staff. No concerns were noted.
  1. Executive Session: Annual Review of Executive Director
  2. Chair Durheim announced at 4:57 PM that the Executive Committee of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities would meet in closed session pursuant to Section 551.074 of the Government Code related to Personnel Matters. A quorum of the Committee was present.
  4. At 5:20 PM, Durheim concluded the Executive Session and announced that no action was taken during the closed meeting discussion on personnel matters.


Chair Durheim adjourned the Executive Committee at 5:21 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council