The Board of Directors of Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA) met on January 28, 2015, at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) Fribourgh Room, 100 Rock Street, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Members Present:                                                                                           Staff Present:

Cherokee Bradley, President                                                                              Tom Masseau

Mary Pearson, Vice President                                                                             Debbie Poulin

Jane Browning, Secretary                                                                                    Greg Hankins

Toney Bailey, Treasurer                                                                                       Susan Pierce

Kimberly Marshall                                                                                                Justin Nickels

Monica Pratt                                                                                                         Susan Milburn

Fred Reinheardt

Lorrie Thiel

Kim Weser


Members Absent:

Kaderick Jones (excused)

Laquita Kulmaczewski

Traci Perrin (excused)


Guest Present:

Polly Stamatopoulos, NDRN

Diana Tucker, Aide


President Cherokee Bradley called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.  She welcomed those present who then introduced themselves.

President Bradley invited Justin Nickels to report on recent media coverage, especially concerning the DRA Booneville Human Development Center (BHDC) report as well as developments at the Alexander Juvenile Assessment Treatment Center (AJATC).  Press representatives had been calling DRA for additional information.

On Monday, February 9th at 10:00 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda (second floor), advocates will host a legislative meeting and press conference on Community First Choice Option (CFCO).  Following this event, at the Capitol Hill Apartments, advocates will host a catfish luncheon at 11:30.

Debra Poulin asked that the Board urge anyone who is on the waiting list (or are in institutions) to please call in service requests to DRA to get more cases on file.

Board members should please feel free to write letters to the editor(s) speaking out on behalf of community services.



President Bradley presented a consent agenda for the Board’s consideration.   The agenda included minutes, committees and staff reports.

Jane Browning moved and Lorie Thiel seconded a motion to approve the consent agenda.  The motion passed.



Mark Lux of the Przybysz and Associates firm joined the group via Skype.  President Bradley deferred to Kimberly Marshall, Chair of the Audit Committee, who asked Mr. Lux for an overview.

Mr. Lux reported conducting an on-site audit at DRA beginning November 18 for three days.  The audit firm specializes in nonprofit governmental organizations.  Holidays intervened to create some delay in filing the results.  All DRA documents met expectations.  Kimberly Marshall stated the audit seemed very good.  Mr. Lux ran some analytical figures comparing this year to last year.   This year also showed a positive cash flow.

The auditors sampled the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) grant this year as they alternate grants from year to year.  DRA is considered a low risk entity, which is why they picked one of the two bigger grants.

Mrs. Marshall asked about classifications of certain lines on the 990.  Mr. Lux said they operate according to IRS guidelines.

Mrs. Marshall thanked Mark on behalf of the Board. The Skype session ended.

Mrs. Marshall reported that the Audit Committee (Mary Pearson, Cherokee Bradley, Kimberly Marshall, Greg Hankins and Tom Masseau) met January 21, by which time the audit had been in hand for one week.  She suggested DRA change the way the audit be presented in the future.  

DRA will also issue an RFP in 2015 seeking a new audit bid.

Kimberly Marshall moved and Kim Weser seconded a motion to approve the audit and the 990.  The motion passed.



Treasurer Toney Bailey presented the financial statements, reporting that they were straightforward and thanked Mr. Hankins for doing a good job.  Accounts receivables were noted under the representative payee program.  They reviewed legal fee revenues ($12,436).  DRA was still administering funds for other groups.  All transactions were shown. The 403B contribution is a one-time expense.  DRA staff has too much accrued vacation time and certain staff members need to go ahead and take their vacations.  A review will be done on how many hours can be carried over at the end of each year.  There is a 15-day cap at termination.

President Bradley is meeting monthly with Tom to review receipts, time sheets and other pertinent information.  Kimberly Marshall queried our unemployment insurance costs.

Lori Thiel moved and Kimberly Marshall seconded a motion to approve the quarterly financial report.  The motion passed.



President Bradley reported on attending the Board Source meeting in D.C., along with Fred Reinheardt.  She had been looking at local nonprofits with growing track records in fund raising.  One group just got a $3 million contribution after nearly closing its doors a few years back.  Conversations with these groups helped President Bradley in the creation of the following specific committees.  She serves as ex officio on all committees.

Fund Development:  Jane Browning, Chair; Mary Pearson, Justin Nichols, Susan Pierce.

Public Policy:  Kaderick Jones, Chair; Laquita Kulmaczewski, Monicat Pratt, Tom Masseau.

Board Governance:  Fred Reinheardt, Chair; Lorrie Thiel, Kimberly Marshall, Kim Weser, Debbie Poulin.

Finance:  Toney Bailey, Chair; Traci Perrin, Greg Hankins.

Audit:  Kimberly Marshall, Chair; Mary Pearson, Greg Hankins.

Executive Committee:  Cherokee Bradley, President;  Mary Pearson, Vice-President; Toney Bailey, Treasurer; Jane Browning, Secretary; Traci Perrin, Immediate Past President; Tom Masseau, Executive Director.

Fred Reinheardt moved and Mary Pearson seconded a motion to approve the committee assignments.  The motion passed.



Tom Masseau reported on behalf of the Council in LaQuita Kulmaczewski’s absence.  The Council met on November 15, 2014, planned future outreach events, and submitted their Annual Program Performance Report to Charlie Green at Behavioral Health Services, DHS.

Mr. Masseau disseminated all DRA Program Performance Reports for FY 2014.

John Lee Roberts of Conway and Lisa Hines from Nashville will serve as two new consumer members of the PAIMI Advisory Council.



Monica Pratt, Developmental Disabilities Council member and our liaison to the Council, reported on DD Council activities.  They are continuing to conduct the Family Leadership Institute.  They are holding regional meetings rather than staging a statewide conference as they had done in the past.  They are hosting a policy debriefing every Friday, in collaboration with DRA.  

Ongoing transition persists among executive leadership and Council membership.  The State has a hiring freeze, but they are Federally funded and should be exempt from the freeze.  Jim Luker is the DD Council liaison from the Health Department and Matthew Glass is the President of the Council.  The Council and its structure, functions and council membership are under the direct authority of the Governor.



The DRA strategic plan was designed as a five-year plan and is an incremental process.

Goal #1.  Get the word out to the public promoting community services:  DRA has subscribed through NDRN to SALSA, an e-blast technology.  Mr. Masseau was working with Justin Nickels, Polly Stamatopoulos and Susan Milburn to possibly design a regular newsletter.  He plans to conduct several listening tours, inviting providers, individuals, and media outlets in order to start connecting directly to outlying areas of the state.

Ms. Stamatopoulos recommended creating a Board goal under each objective, e.g., “Each Board member would initiate 15 contacts with legislators this year,” or “Send out an action alert around Labor Day talking about the potential of people with disabilities as employees.”

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) was putting a lot more money into supported employment and the board could work together with them.

Rep. Broadway introduced a bill on transition re: autism focusing on community based employment.

ARS will conduct a training next month about job coach training.  Jane Browning wants a model transition manual to share with sheltered workshops.

President Bradley wants talking points on transition to CFCO (Community First Choice Option).

Goal #2.  Building relationships with state and Federal legislators:  DRA was tracking bills and disability related issues during this legislative session and was also following court rulings.  Of note was the injunction against the Labor Department on home care workers.

Goal #3.  Leader of disability rights.  Public dialogue.  Being in the media heightens DRA’s profile and makes people more aware of our agency.  It give DRA a better system of accountability.  Dialogue with legislators  has begun and continues to go well.

Goal #4.  Coalition building. The Arkansas Disability Policy Consortium is SILENT on a host of issues.  They have a platform and should speak out.  DRA board and staff need to build up the grassroots support across the state to give their leaders cover for taking a stand.  SALT is a new self-advocacy group.

DRA urges consumers to direct their comments to their representatives in the legislature.  

Goal #5.  Board members will donate.  DRA should adopt a donor bill of rights or some policy on honoring restricted gifts.  The Board has a goal of 100% giving and solicitation.  A Board member goal should be: “I will reach out to x number of my friends to donate.”

Mrs. Browning challenged the Board to have each member contribute online to the April 2, 2015, “Arkansas Gives” event and to get one friend to do the same.

A discussion followed on the virtues of giving monthly via automatic draft/credit card charge/PayPal online donation to DRA.

Jane Browning moved to accept the adoption of the donor bill of rights.  The motion died due to the lack of a second.

Goal #6. The importance of professional development for Board members.  President Bradley wanted to provide exposure for those board members who never had the opportunity to travel for professional development courses and training.  DRA should consider revising the board application form.  

DRA will have a retreat and will consider holding it somewhere outside of Little Rock, trying over the years to hit all four corners of the state.  The Northwest and Southeast areas of the state lack representation.

Goal #7.  DRA had been building up consumer involvement, working with People First.  A package needed to be put together to send out to people who call in and whom we are unable to serve which includes information on how to be an advocate.

The Board will review strategic plan goals and update them at the Board meetings each quarter.

There is none.

Mary Pearson moved and Lorie Thiel seconded a motion to adjourn at 3:50. The motion passed.