WV Commission f/t Deaf & Hard of Hearing
Executives Directorís Report
Pierre Sevigny opened the meeting at 1:14 p.m. Minutes from the December 13, 2001 meeting were read and approved. Annette Carey made motion to approve the minutes as read, Alice Kennedy seconded, motion carried.
Summary Reports from July 1, 2001 to February 28, 2002 were passed out to Board Members, you can see where Kara went to the National Interpreting Conference in Florida and so far our total number of contacts is 4,143, last year at the same time they were l,433. We continue to increase our number of contacts inside and outside the office. There are many different methods of contacting the Commission. I have identified three of them, Incoming calls, faxes, IM/ E-mail. You will see the number of visitors to office and outside contacts away from the office such as court, interpreting etc, have greatly increased.
The Commission has four areas of focus R for referral, A for Advocacy, T for Training and E for Education. The numbers for referral continue to increase.
Letters from the Governor were given to the Board to show the appointment of two new board members. Another letter shows that we must wait until the next legislative session for appointment of any additional board members due to an error. Explanation was given about the error.
Alex and I had a meeting with Annette to discuss ASL as a Foreign Language Credit. We have decided to put it on hold.
Charity turned the floor over to Jennifer Burgess to discuss the Resource Library. Jennifer explained to the board that she had not had much progress, she had made some initial contacts and one was with Carol Johnson, who is very enthusiastic about the possibility of having the collection. The other was with the Cultural Center at the State Capitol, they are not interested at this time. Jennifer explained that she had tried to contact Marshall University and could not reach the woman there. Carol Johnson contacted Charity through Jennifer to see if she could address the Board at this meeting.
Carol Johnson explained that when she heard this was a collection for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing she was immediately interested because she had worked with them in the past. We rehabilitate the deaf to work on their own and after traveling to Romney and seeing the collection, I feel it would be in the best interest of the deaf and public if we could house it here. Anything given to us is available to the public world wide. All the public would have to do is go to the Library where they can have access though the Library Commission to this material. Mrs. Johnson explained to the Board that due to the fact they service a large population of deaf and hard of hearing the material would get immediate circulation. We will make sure the people who work with the deaf and hard of hearing know the collection is here. There would be 176 Libraries that would have access to this collection if it is housed here. You can make a request via internet 24 hours a day. DRS will send it to the Library, because they have the information on the person so they would get the materials back, we donít charge to send them. DRS has transportation that travels and we can send the materials with them. If I send a book or video out and the person damages it, their library would pay for the cost of replacing the item, that is why it should go thru inter-library loan.
Jennifer explained that if a public library would get the resource library it would not work any different than what DRS would do and since DRS was interested and no others seemed to be, why couldnít we just let DRS have it. Carol has a sincere and valid reason for wanting this collection.
Barbara King made a motion that based on the information presented by Carol Johnson on the inter- library system and the accessibility afforded to individuals on a state wide basis that the resources currently housed in the Commission office be moved to the library at the WV Rehabilitation Center, following the completion of a Memorandum of Understanding between DRS and WVCDHH, including a completed inventory list at the time of transfer and with the understanding that all materials say they are made available thru the WVCDHH and that in six months time a report be given to show how many people are using the resources so it can be determined if we need to do any kind of additional publicity to let the public know these resources are available. Motion seconded by Shana Phares, motion passed.
Carol Johnson was thanked for her persistency and travels to Romney to view the collection.
Charity had the board look over a letter from Lynn Harris who has asked the Commission for help to establish an advisory council. Charity asked Barbara to elaborate on that. Barbara explained there has been an effort for about ten years to establish an advisory committee for each of the training areas and units at the Rehabilitation Center. Seeking consumer input, seeking input from the business community as to how these areas can better prepare the students who come through the center for employment. The life skills programs for the deaf had attempted to pull together a council comprised of deaf consumers, counselors for the deaf, members of the employment community, post offices, and hospitals, but it was a struggle to get the council moving, we tried to meet in the evenings to accommodate those who work, transportation was also an issue, after trying a couple of times for several years, it just died. What Lynn is asking is that the board assume some advisory responsibilities for the life skills unit for the deaf. The center is seeking accreditation as a certified rehabilitation facility and that is something that enhances the accreditation process. Barbara made a motion that we table this discussion until the next meeting. Motion was seconded, motion passed.
Charity told the board about the Communication f/t Deaf in South Dakota. The CEO flew to Harpers Ferry where he met with Alex and I, he had a lot of valuable information. He thought that we could bring a service program from the outside in to WV. They asked if we had an advisory council set up for relay and I told them no, they said we needed to do that and it is in my management plan to improve the quality of relay services. After that meeting we are more informed about what we need to do.
Three areas we prepared for legislation were, hearing aid insurance coverage, re- classification and driverís license coding. The first two we decided to put on hold, we feel we need to focus on in state insurance and then made a recommendation in the next session of the legislature. We will also do this with the educational interpreting reclassification. As far as the Driverís License Coding, that bill was passed on March 9, 2001. I have a copy of that Bill if you would like to see it.
You will see a draft of the grant that Annette, Alex and I worked on with Carol Newlon, trying to establish a four year interpreter program in WV. We are still in the process of writing that.
It is time to put together the Annual Report and I want to make sure we all agree that we will continue to put the same info I have here, some of them are required, others are important to be added. Some one asked to add the resource library.
Budget Summary of expenses that have not been paid were passed out. You will see $95,690.38 total of bills outstanding for remainder of year, this includes payroll, but not the new staff interpreter, so this total is what will be coming in as of June 30th. We have a balance left over of $31,279.00. Kara has some special request that are included in this. Purchases of Telephonic Communication Devices are not included. Discussion was held on the current budget, last yearís budget and the special revenue account. Shana asked about the overspending of the budget that resulted in a drastic drop in the special revenue acct. Charity explained the budget reports. Charity explained to the board that we need to have FIMS system in the office to help with keeping track of the budget.
Pierre moved that we go into Executive Session to discuss Charityís evaluation, Doug Godfrey seconded, motion passed. Visitors were asked to leave.
Pierre made a motion to close Executive Session. Doug Godfrey seconded, motion passed.
Annette made a motion to grant Alex educational leave to finish his seven hours, seconded by Doug Godfrey, motion passed.
Communication Services for the Deaf, was investigated and found that the legislative rule on the Public Service Commission has some interesting information. The Commission is suppose to get a monthly report from the relay provider. We contacted them and ask them to give us the report. The second thing is that Commission will seek legislative support for funds for community outreach. Our office continues to receive complaints about the relay service, I informed the PSC that we need to set up an advisory board, they suggested that we open a bid because their relay service expires Sept 30, 2002. The final thing is that we will have a meeting April 2 in Wash DC with the relay service provider. Alex explained that he had worked closely with Charity on the relay situation and that the relay service provider asked for the meeting on April 2, we want to improve the quality, so I put info on our website for complaints and the procedure to file them, Iím hoping that you all see it. People donít realize that they have procedures and proper people to report to, not just the commission. Most complaints come from the deaf community. Charity explained more about how relay calls are handled. Charity said she was frustrated with the PSC because it appears that they are unwilling to work with us, we keep hitting walls with them, they keep referring us to us ATT. It was suggested that we contact Billy Jack Gregg, Consumer Advocate Attorney with the PSC.
The database is finished, it is wonderful, it tells us how many are there and doesnít send 3 or 4 letters at the same time.
Summary of Office Training was given to board. Someone asked if we were using the calendar, Charity said yes we are using it, some of the staff are not happy about it, but are using it.
Alex said he was working with Shana on the consultant Rob Rice in Washington, DC. He seems qualified and meets our expectations actually exceeds them. When we receive what Shana has requested from him ,we can get the ball going. We need the money before reserved and the paperwork finish in Charleston by June 30, 2002. Rob Rice is deaf.
Charity told the board that she had contacted the Department Of Justice about the law pertaining to interpreters for the GED. The Department Of Justice admitted that the law was vague. They said it was the GEDís place to provide an interpreter, but if the cost was to high or there was undue burden they would not have to pay for an interpreter.
The Wild Zappers have agreed to come to Deaf Awareness, Shirley Davy from WV School f/t Deaf is working on finding resources to pay for them so we are waiting to hear from her.
New Born Screening, Terri asked to be replaced with another parent due to the fact that she remained on the council it would take two people out of the office. Alex will be going to the council meetings for Charity.
Alex explained to the Board that we need to purchase more TTYís. I developed a flyer for Senior Citizens to make them aware of the amplified phones. In other states, service commissions get their surcharge from relay charges. I think 71 percent of the surcharges go to the TTY distribution program. We really need to look at that avenue. I donít want to tap into our budget, but now we are out. Someone asked for a report at the next meeting for who has ttyís and who is on the waiting list.
Kara and I went to Nicholas Co. and Wheeling. We went to try to find ways to provide sign language classes in those places.
Annette explained that it costs almost $700.00 to become a certified interpreter and interpreters in WV canít afford that. It was suggested that we go to the legislature to let them know how it affects students in WV. We have been using "qualified" for many years. In WV we have trouble finding qualified skilled interpreters. Our interpreters would not even meet minimum requirements for qualified. It will take a class action law suit against the state to make something happen. It would be better to help interpreters who are in the system now to improve their skills. WV doesnít have an intensive interpreter training program.
The Commission would like to print the Directory every two years instead of every year. We will have the Directory on the web. We will mail all the deaf a Directory so they will have it to show to doctors and employers. Our newsletter is also on the web now thanks to special help from Lynn Jenkins.
The Board Retreat should only last Thursday and Friday. Charity told the Board she would not have a facilitator this year since we would be focusing on the Task Force. Our Board Meeting will be held Thursday, June 6, 2002, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Instructional Resource Center at the WV School f/t Deaf.
Shana made motion to adjourn, Barbara King seconded, motion passed. Meeting adjourned.