January 27, 2016


 The Board of Directors of Disability Rights Arkansas, Inc. (DRA) met on January 27, 2016, in the DRA Conference Room, 1100 N. University, Suite 201, Little Rock, Arkansas 72207.

Members Present:                                                                 Staff Present:

Cherokee Bradley, President                                                  Tom Masseau

Fred Reinheardt, Vice President                                            Greg Hankins

Teresa Dodson, Secretary                                                        Susan Milburn

Monica Pratt                                                                               Debbie Poulin

Kaderick Jones                                                                           Susan Pierce

Mark George

Kim Weser

Kimberly Marshall

Lorrie Thiel

Toney Bailey

Julie Petty

Veronica Tess Myers, PAIMI Chair


Steven Booth, JPMS Cox

Beth Knipscheer, JPMS Cox

Alexander Myers

Diana Tucker

President Cherokee Bradley called the meeting to order at 11:08 a.m.  President Bradley welcomed those present. New members, Veronica Myers and Julie Petty were introduced. Current members introduced themselves to the new members.


 The Consent Agenda consisted of the following items:

Approval of Agenda

Minutes from DRA Board meeting – September 23, 2015

Minutes from DRA Executive Committee – October 2, 2015

Minutes from DRA Special Board Meeting – November 9, 2015

Minutes from DRA Special Board Meeting – November 19, 2015

Minutes from DRA Public Policy Committee – January 6, 2016

President Bradley made the following changes to the agenda: 1) Planning for DRA Board Retreat in April was removed from the agenda; 2) Executive Director and Staff Reports were moved to 1:30 time slot; and. 3) Financial Report was moved to 11:20 time slot. The rest of the agenda remained the same.

Lorrie Thiel moved that the Consent Agenda be approved as amended. Mark George seconded with Julie Petty & Veronica Tess Myers abstaining (due to being new board members), and the motion passed.


 Audit Committee:

 Tom Masseau introduced Steven Booth and Beth Knipscheer with JPMS Cox. They reported that all of the financial information was in good order and they did not have any adjustments to the financials. Mr. Booth reported that the audit committee was impressed with the audit report and the only question they had was in regard to the letter received by JPMS Cox. The auditors reported that all items identified have been discussed and corrected by management.

Approval of Audit:

The Audit Committee had previously approved the audit. Lorrie Thiel moved that the audit be approved as presented.  Monica Pratt seconded and the motion passed with Julie Petty and Veronica Myers abstaining.

FY 2016 DRA Board Meeting Dates:

 Tom Masseau proposed a change to the meeting currently scheduled for July 27th as he will be attending the NRDA board meeting on that date. He proposed that we move the meeting to the week before or the week after. Fred Rheinheardt moved to change the meeting date to August 3rd. Mark George seconded with Lorrie Thiel abstaining and the motion passed.

Future meeting dates are: April 28th & 29th Board Retreat, August 3rd, and September 28th.

Financial Quarterly Report:

 Treasurer Bailey reported that the Finance Committee conducted a conference call the previous day to discuss the report. He pointed out some areas which clarification was needed and explained that some items are paid on a calendar year rather than the fiscal year which accounts for some discrepancies.

Kimberly Marshall had questions regarding stocks that were purchased in 1999 and had never been reported. The board discussed the stock (Stan Corp) and what should be done regarding the value of the investment. The board does not currently have an investment policy to address how it should be handled. It was determined that the Finance Committee will develop an investment policy to bring to the next board meeting.

Julie Petty moved to cash out the stock.  Veronica Tess Myers seconded and the motion passed.

Kimberly Marshall brought up another issue regarding reallocation of grant funds and if a policy should be developed requiring board approval. After further discussion, it was decided that Mr. Masseau would let the board know as an FYI of any grant reallocations over 10% and the Finance Committee will draft a policy to this effect.

Lorrie Thiel moved to approve the Financial Report. Kim Weser seconded and the motion passed.


 Executive Director:

 Tom Masseau updated the board regarding the new office space at Regions and reported that he did sign the lease.  The DRA office will be relocating on or shortly after March 1st.  Mr. Masseau was able to bundle phone/cable/internet services to reduce costs. There are some equipment items and office furniture that will need to be replaced. This cost will be taken out of the budget item, “reserved for future expenditures”.

Mr. Masseau stated that NDRN had applied for the Rep Payee Grant from SSA, which would considerably increase the Rep Payee Programs across the nation, including Arkansas.  We should know by the middle of April whether or not they were awarded the grant.

Director Policy & Planning:

Susan Pierce reported on Priorities and Objectives.  She said that the number of intakes vary greatly between people living in the communities and those living in facilities, due to access and opportunity.

Mrs. Pierce handed out a flier on the March Brain Injury Awareness Month Celebration in Benton that DRA is co-sponsoring.  She asked board members to let her know of any community outreach events in their area that DRA should attend.

Legal Director:

Debra Poulin reported that legal staff was helping with more education cases due to the large number of callers and they had two Due Process cases.  Ms. Poulin is on the State’s Best Practices for Special Education Task Force and they will be publishing a preliminary report, which will include input from DRA legal, in the near future.

A new Special Education Round Table has been organized including advocates and attorneys from around the state specializing in special education issues.

Ms. Poulin reported on Legal’s efforts with the Juvenile Justice Reform Board.  She talked about the pre-release of the investigation report on the Booneville Human Development Center and the DYS response to the report.  The Legal Team is also looking closely at the Southeast Arkansas HDC in Warren because of staffing issues.

Ms. Poulin introduced and welcomed new staff attorney, Thomas Nichols.


Public Policy:

 Chair Jones reported that the committee met the first week of January and they decided to put all their focus on restraint and seclusion issues at facilities monitored by DRA. The committee members will reach out to legislators and the General Assembly.

PAIMI Advisory Council:

 Chair Myers reported on changes within the council and what they have been participating in. The council would like to receive better training in how to help families advocate for their family members.

DD Council:

 Tom Masseau discussed the Council’s recent activities.  Most of the previous Council members were relieved of their duties and a new Council was appointed.  The Council will conduct a two day training on the DD Act in February.  Mr. Masseau is on the DD Council Oversight Committee to ensure that they are operating correctly.

Governance Committee:

 Chair Pratt reported that the committee did not meet this past quarter. She did report that the board retreat will most likely be held at the new office location. They plan to incorporate team building activities at this meeting.

Public Comment:

 There were no public comments.

Other Business:

 Tom Masseau discussed the ADPC summit which will be held in August.  The purpose of this summit is to help self-advocates learn how to become more vocal and get things done.   He talked about having a reception with board members, advocacy groups and self-advocates.  Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered will have speakers present.

 President Bradley wanted to be sure members knew what committee they were on and told them to check their board roster committee assignments.  She urged members to pull their weight on their assigned committees.

With there being no further business to discuss, Kim Weser moved to adjourn.   Lorrie Thiel seconded and the meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.