Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc
Board of Director’s Meeting
April 29, 2016
The Board of Directors of Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA) met on April 29, 2016, in the Regions Building Red Oak Conference Room, 400 West Capitol, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201.
Members Present: Staff Present:
Cherokee Bradley, President Tom Masseau
Fred Reinheardt, Vice President Greg Hankins
Veronica Tess Myers, PAIMI Chair Susan Pierce
Monica Pratt Debbie Poulin
Kaderick Jones Thomas Nichols
Mark George Sam Kauffman
Members Absent (Excused):
Teresa Dodson, Secretary
President Cherokee Bradley welcomed all board members and called the meeting to order at 9:17 a.m.
The original Consent Agenda consisted of the following items:
- a) DRA Board Meeting Minutes – January 27, 2016
- b) DRA Executive Committee meeting minutes – March 1, 2016
- c) DRA Finance Committee meeting minutes – February 22, 2016
- d) DRA Finance Committee meeting minutes – March 21, 2016
After some discussion, the Consent Agenda was amended to have the following items added for approval:
- e) Approval of April 29, 2016 Agenda
- f) Formal tour of DRA offices
Lorrie Thiel moved that the Consent Agenda be approved, as amended. Monica Pratt seconded and the motion passed.
The board then went to the DRA offices in Suite 1200 for a formal tour and to join Polly Stamatopoulos (NDRN) via conference call for a discussion on the Board Roles and Responsibilities.
Overview of National Disability Rights Network (NDRN):
Tom Masseau discussed the advantages of NDRN’s Protection and Advocacy network database called DAD. This database is the tool with which we enter all of our time spent in all funding grants and allocates the funds accordingly. All time is entered into this system on a daily/hourly basis and any report can be run to suit our needs.
Mr. Masseau reported that he serves on the NDRN Board and they are in the process of updating its Strategic Plan this year. NDRN must serve all forms of disabilities – they cannot pick and choose which disability they want to concentrate on. This is one reason why P&As will not partner with any one particular group. They must serve all groups collectively. NDRN is very client focused. The client is in charge of what their choices are at all times.
There are five committees on the NDRN board and Tom is a member of the Finance Committee.
Activities of Disability Rights Arkansas (DRA):
Debbie Poulin, Legal Director, gave a scenario of how DRA chooses cases to work:
– Initial phone call
– Intake Specialist creates intake form
– These are reviewed by an attorney
– Case selection criteria are then used – abuse/neglect is the #1 area looked at
– Exclusion is an area of concern
– Complexity of case – some are investigated
– What is best use of resources
Many intakes are taken during monitoring visits by the advocates. They are also finding that more people are getting hurt in community programs across the state. The State will acknowledge that there are problems in facilities & institutions, but will not act to fix anything. Legal is planning on meeting with the Attorney General Fraud Unit soon.
Legal reviews all Serious Incident Reports in children’s facilities and Office of Long Term Care reports and they have just started nursing home monitoring activities.
In the area of employment, Thomas Nichols has been working with ACTI (Arkansas Career Technical Institute) to reform their student policies, which were too strict. The students began speaking out to the DRA Advocate, Mandee Harper, complaining that the policies were too restrictive.
Sam Kauffman has been busy working with the Juvenile Justice system. All Juvenile Justice Detention Centers have been and are still being monitored with a focus on the Alexander unit. There has been a major focus on general system reforms in all facilities.
A Youth Justice Reform Board Subcommittee Task Force was organized and DRA plans to work closely with them and hopefully, get some positive results.
Thomas Nichols reported on the difficulty DRA was having with getting DHS to recognized our Access Authority. By law, we are allowed access to any records required to carry out our investigations free of charge. DHS has tried to charge us for records due to their high staff turnover and lack of knowledge of our Access Authority procedures. DRA will try and resolve this at the lowest level possible, but may need to go to a higher level. Getting an FOIA request is different in that DHS can refuse to provide information via email to DRA.
DRA Attorneys Sam Kauffman and Thomas Nichols reported on some of their more successful cases to the board.
A Board Governance Committee meeting was held on April 15, 2016, which was omitted from the Consent Agenda approved earlier. During this meeting, the committee decided not to spend the money to hire an outside trainer to conduct and have a two day retreat. Kim Weser moved that the minutes of the April 15 Board Governance Committee meeting be approved. Fred Reinheardt seconded and the motion passed.
Due to time constraints and the looming bad weather, the agenda item, “Review of Strategic Plan” was tabled until the next board meeting. President Bradley appointed a Strategic Plan Review Committee consisting of: Cherokee Bradley, Chair, Monica Pratt, Kaderick Jones, Fred Reinheardt, Toney Bailey and Tom Masseau. This committee will report on their results at the August board meeting.
Activities of Disability Rights Arkansas (DRA): (continued)
Susan Pierce, Director/Policy & Planning, disseminated a report containing a table showing case numbers and percentages per each funding source for every FY 2016 priority area.
Intersection of National and State Activities:
Tom Masseau discussed DRA’s work in the priority areas and how it joins with the national movement. Specifically, he discussed our work in the Juvenile Justice system, what reforms are needed and how, along with Disability Rights Iowa’s report, this led to a national report by NDRN.
Greg Hankins stated that DRA was in the best position it’s ever been in financially. DRA’s 403b plan was fully funded by the agency for last year and the Finance Committee has set up standing monthly committee meetings. With the current move to the Regions Building, DRA entered into one of its largest financial commitments, a ten year lease. The first five months are free.
Mr. Hankins discussed the Balance Sheet and Statement of Revenue and Expenditures. DRA was exactly where it should be budget wise for this time of year.
After some discussion, Greg said that any major budget adjustments will be made known to the board. Julie Petty moved that the financial report be approved. Kim Weser seconded and the motion passed.
Kaderick Jones reported that this committee did not meet this quarter. He did applaud the victory of DRA’s getting the word out about the use of restraints at the Booneville HDC.
PAIMI Advisory Council:
Veronica Tess Myers said the Council met on March 5, 2016. The main topics of discussion at this meeting were the FY 2017 priorities and goals for DRA. They thought DRA should put more effort into jails and prisons. Ms. Myers said they discussed how the Juvenile Justice system, high schools and ALEs were all tied together. They wanted to do more research on numbers of cases in these areas.
Mr. Masseau gave kudos to the PAIMI Advisory Council on the work they have done over the past year.
Mark George is the Chair of the DDC Public Policy Committee. All members of the DDC have now been appointed. The Council held a retreat in February where all members were trained on the Developmental Disabilities Act.
The DDC State Plan was also developed at the retreat and is now out for public comment. There are three main areas of emphasis:
1) Self advocacy
2) Employment transition
3) Community supports and services.
The next DDC meeting is in June when the State Plan will be discussed.
Mr. Masseau attended the Disability Policy Seminar, along with David Deere and other members of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The group met with Aaron Bishop, AIDD Commissioner, and talked about the DD Network in Arkansas. Mr. Masseau is very excited about improving self-advocacy work in Arkansas.
Mr. George talked about the lack of money to hire trained staff within the DD Network and how they must take small steps to get it going at full speed. He discussed reaching out to the Marshallese population.
Kim Weser moved that the meeting be adjourned at 3:00. Veronica Tess Myers seconded and the meeting was adjourned.
The next board meeting is August 3rd.
Teresa Dodson, Secretary Date