Board for the Blind and Vision Impaired
Quarterly Board Meeting
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Ms. Pittman called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. She asked board members, staff and
guests to introduce themselves.
Members Present: Mr. Joe DePhillips, Mr. Ashleigh Moody, Mrs. Althea Pittman, Mr.
Desmond Savill, Mrs. Judy Spears. Ms. Pittman, vice-chair, conducted the meeting place
of Ms. Bruce who was absent due to illness.
Member Absent: Mrs. Evelyn Cabrera-Heatwole, Ms. Liza Bruce
Staff Present: Mr. Joe Bowman, commissioner; Mr. Bob Berrang, deputy
commissioner/general manager Virginia Industries for the Blind; Mr. Jim Taylor, chief
deputy commissioner; Mr. Bob Burton, deputy commissioner for services; Mr. Bill Pega,
special assistant; and Mrs. Kathy Proffitt, board recorder
Guests Present: Mrs. Squig Moore, assistant attorney general
Adoption of Agenda: It was moved, seconded and passed by unanimous vote to adopt
the July 11th agenda as distributed.
Action on Minutes of Previous Meeting: It was moved, seconded and passed by
unanimous vote to adopt the April 11th minutes as distributed.
Commissioner’s Report: Mr. Bowman welcomed members to the meeting and provided
an update on recruitment efforts during the past quarter. He stated that the agency had
concluded a national search for a new Director for the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for
the Blind and Vision Impaired. Eight applicants were screened in for interviews. Bob
Burton chaired an initial interview screening panel consisting of Pat Beattie,
rehabilitation council member and member of the Old Dominion Council of the Blind;
Fred Schroeder, rehabilitation council member and member of the National Federation of
the Blind of Va.; and Ron Lanier, director of the Virginia Department for the Deaf and
Hard of Hearing. Mr. Bowman noted that two of the eight applicants selected for
interview dropped out and six candidates were actually interviewed. The initial panel
recommended two of the six to the Commissioner for final interviews. Mr. Bowman
announced that Ms. Melody Lindsey was selected for the position. Ms. Lindsey is
currently the director of the Training Center at the Michigan Commission for the Blind.
She will begin her new duties here on September 25, 2006. Mr. Bowman provided
highlights of Ms. Lindsey’s career. Currently, Carol Koger is serving as interim center
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director assisted by Gail Kinder, assistant director and Bob Burton, deputy commissioner.
Commissioner Bowman commended the staff for their extra work during the transition
Mr. Bowman reported that the State budget was approved in late June. Included in the
new budget was funding for the renovation of the dorms at the center in the amount of
$951,000. He also noted that two and half million dollars was budgeted for initial design
for the consolidation of the VSDBs at Staunton. Mr. Bowman stated that all agency
heads under the Health and Human Resources Secretariat had been invited to lunch with
Governor Kaine and Secretary Tavenner. The governor discussed his priorities and
stressed the importance of setting high expectations and focusing on results.
Mr. Bowman mentioned that the U.S. Senate had passed their version of the Workforce
Investment Act which includes the Rehabilitation Act. Mr. Bowman offered to provide a
copy of the side-by-side comparison of the Senate and House of Representative bills for
interested board members.
Commissioner Bowman followed up on several items discussed from the previous board
He noted the state auditors concluded its review of the agency. The major focus
was on VIB.
He mentioned the recent recruitment incentive, encouraged by Board members,
for a $10,000 sign-on bonus for difficult to fill positions. He observed that the
bonus appears to be having an effect on interest in Orientation and Mobility
Three representatives from the Rehabilitation Services Administration visited
Virginia in June. The representatives spent two days with DRS and two days
with DBVI. Mr. Bowman reviewed the two day agenda at DBVI. No major
issues were noted and the RSA staff stated that they were impressed with the
services that DBVI provides.
He reported that DBVI passed the standards and indicators report for the federal
fiscal year ending 2005. He noted that the results for FY 06 may not be as
He updated the members on payment collections for invoices for textbooks that
were not returned to the Library and Resource Center and books that were not
returned on time. Forty-one school divisions received invoices totaling $39,393.
To date, 31 school divisions had paid their bills totaling $16,018. Eleven school
divisions have outstanding balances of $23,374.
Mr. Bowman informed the board members of the State Board of Elections’ advisory
committee for implementation of the Help American Vote Act (HAVA) which he had
been asked to serve as a member. One of the topics discussed at a recent advisory
committee meeting was accessible voting devices. He noted that the agency recently had
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two different accessible voting machines available at the center for demonstration to
interested blind citizens. Approximately 50 blind individuals tried out the machines
during the demo. The agency is currently looking into the possibility of obtaining two
machines at the Library and Resource Center for use by blind people in becoming
oriented to the machines prior to election day.
Virginia Industries for the Blind Report: Mr. Berrang reported that VIB ended the
fiscal year in June and preliminary figures show the industries produced twenty-one and
half million dollars. Mr. Berrang provided a breakdown as follows: Richmond Plant –
11%, Charlottesville Plant – 24%, Services – 5%, Base Supply Centers – 60 %.
Mr. Berrang stated that out of the 11 base supply centers, Oceana contributed 24 percent
or $3,000,000 in sales and the Pentagon store contributed over $3,000,000 about 25
percent of base supply center sales. These are two very good producing stores which the
BRAC is threatening to close. Oceana and the Pentagon concourse store will be closed
due to concourse renovation forcing operations to consolidate in the smaller of the two
stores there. Mr. Berrang mentioned that services is five percent of the total revenue but
that it represents over 25 percent of the total blind jobs which currently stands at 103
confirming that and the fact that VIB is focused on the mission and not on revenues. Mr.
Berrang noted that there are a number of service areas that are barely breaking even such
as the one located at the state Tax Department in Richmond which is currently in the red.
However, that location has some excellent jobs. He provided revenue statistics noting
that state agencies amounted to 25 percent of the total, JWOD services and products
amounted to 12.6 percent, base supply centers 60 percent and other sales remaining 2.4
Mr. Berrang explained that the base supply centers and the plants do a very high volume
of purchasing. One of VIB’s employees located in Charlottesville will be recognized for
an award for her outstanding service. Mr. Berrang explained about the Prompt Pay Act
in Virginia which requires that you process at least 95 percent of all invoices within 30
days of receipt. Mr. Berrang stated that in the month of June, this individual processed
820 invoices or 86 percent of total agency invoices and only had one late payment. Her
percentage was 99.9 percent.
Mr. Berrang reported on several miscellaneous items such as all inventories had been
completed in June for all 13 locations. Auditors had been present at two sites, the
Pentagon and Charlottesville plant. He noted that a new fiscal director had been hired
and will begin her job on July 31.
Division for Services Report: Mr. Burton updated the board on recent personnel issues
around the state. Currently have a vacant rehabilitation teacher position in the Bristol
office. Interviews have been completed and the panel recommended a second interview
for one candidate. The individual has a master’s degree in rehabilitation teaching and
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several years of experience. In the Richmond office, there are two vacancies, an
orientation and mobility specialist and a rehabilitation counselor position. Staff at the
rehabilitation center are currently trying to fill the vocational evaluator position which
has been vacant for nine months. Mr. Burton updated the members of the positions
which were recently filled at the rehabilitation center which included the rehabilitation
center director position, mobility instructor, recreation instructor and a crafts instructor.
In the Bristol office a new orientation and mobility specialist will begin employment on
August 1. Two new employees will begin employment on July 16 in the Norfolk office.
One is an orientation and mobility specialist and the other is a rehabilitation teacher.
Mr. Burton reported that out of three of the mobility instructor positions filled within the
last month, two have taken advantage of the sign-on retention bonus. He explained to the
Board members the way the bonus is being administered. The new employee will receive
25 percent or $2,500 of the bonus with their first paycheck. Then the employee will
receive another $2,500 at the end of the first year of employment as long as they meet
their performance expectations, and will receive a final $5,000 at the end of the second
successful year of employment.
Mr. Burton stated that the Integrated Case Management (ICM) system is currently in the
design and development phase. Staff have been loading pertinent information into a
system which will come on line in the next several months for the initial testing phase.
Staff are currently considering implementing a pilot program in the Roanoke office in
October and November of 2007, and bringing the full system on line in early 2008. Mr.
Burton reminded staff that this was a case management system that all programs would
be using to process referrals, applicants and developing plans. The system would also
incorporate a financial management system to better track our budget in all programs.
Endowment Fund Receipts & Expenditures: Mr. Pega reported for the quarter ending
June 30, 2006, the department accepted on behalf of the board, donations in the amount
of $5,229.10. Endowment fund expenditures as of June 30, totaled $110,648.04. He
noted the agency had finished the year under budget of $28,351.96.
Update on VRCBVI Dorm Renovations: Mr. Pega stated that the General Assembly
had approved an additional $951,000 for the dorm project. Additional funds were needed
as a result of substantial price increases in construction costs between 2002 when the
project was originally submitted to the General Assembly. The entire project is
$5,316,000. Preliminary plans have been developed and currently waiting for approval
from the Bureau of Capital Outlay Management. He noted that in the 2006-2008 capital
budget, the General Assembly approved Phase 2 of the VIB Richmond building
renovation and gave additional funding in the amount of $3,972,000 to be included with
the Phase 1 funding of $1,736,000. Mr. Pega explained that this project would be
addressing life safety issues. The funds originally allotted to DBVI was insufficient for
the amount of work that was needed for renovations at VIB Richmond. Mr. Pega
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mentioned that the agency had received funds for replacing the roofs for the
Administrative Activities building, along with evaluating all buildings at the center.
Funding for the project is $2,077,000. Mr. Pega provided an update on remaining
projects at the VIB Charlottesville facility which included work on the flag pole,
Endowment Fund Request – Dreamcatchers: Mr. Pega read a letter from Deborah
Nickerson requesting funding in the amount of $5,000 for Dreamcatchers, Families
Whose Lives are Touched by Deafblindness. The donation would allow five families to
attend the weekend retreat. Mr. Pega noted that the organization is a non-profit 501 (c)
organization and the board had approved a donation in the amount $5,000 for same event
last year. He reminded board members of the stipulation last year that the organization
furnish a report of the weekend and have a family who attended the retreat provide an
update at the October board meeting. Mr. Pega reported that the organization had already
received funding in the amount $7,500 from Together We Can Project Virginia’s
DeafBlind Project and $1,500 grant from Hilton Perkins and $10,000 from the
Department of Education.
MOTION: Mr. DePhillips made a motion to grant $5,000 from unrestricted
endowment funds to support a family retreat weekend for five families of deafblind
children. It was also requested that a family attend the next board meeting and provide a
report of the retreat. Mr. Moody seconded the motion. There being no further
discussion, it was passed by unanimous vote.
Public Comment: None
Adjournment: There being no further business, it was moved, seconded and passed by
unanimous vote to adjourn the meeting at 2:15 p.m. The next meeting will be held on
October 11, 2006, at 1:00 p.m. at the DBVI headquarters building.
Date Approved: ________________
Ms. Liza Bruce Mrs. Evelyn Cabrera-Heatwole
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