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Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council 
May 19, 2011 

Members Present: Glenda Farnum, Marilyn Burr, Milissa Gofourth, Tim Parrish, Tammie Jones, Connie Lake, Doug MacMillan Jr., Jacki Millspaugh, Mike O’Brien, Perry Sanders, and Sue Williams.

Members Absent: Nancy Garner, excused; Letha Bauter, excused; Cindy Gallup, excused; Sterling Krysler, excused; Hailey Mathis, excused; Amy Salmon, excused; Sabrina Ware, excused; Jon Ringlero, absent.

Associate Members Present: Melinda Fruendt, Jean Jones.

Associate Members Absent: Kim Osmani, excused.

Others Present: Mark Kinnison, DVR Administrator; Greg DeMartra, DVS Field Coordinator; Goli Dunkle, MSD Administrator; Sidna Madden, SILC Executive Director; Rosemarie Chitwood, Secretary to the DVR Administrator; Kathleen Reed, DRS Commission Assistant; Darine Stallings,  Interpreter; Patricia Mills, Interpreter.

Council Support: Theresa Hamrick, ORC Programs Manager; Linda Jaco, Director of Sponsored Programs; OSU Seretean Wellness Center; Sandra Huffman, DRS/ORC support.


Call to order and Roll Call: Chair, Glenda Farnum called the meeting to order at 9:38 a.m.  The roll was called and a quorum established.

Consumer Comments/Announcements:

  • None 

Action Items:

  • February 17, 2011 ORC Quarterly Meeting Minutes: Copies were provided in the May 19, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

            Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the minutes as presented.

  • April 7, 2011 ORC Strategic Planning Meeting Minutes: Copies were provided in the May 19, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

            Motion made, seconded and passed to approve the minutes as presented.


Workforce Investment Board (WIB) - Tammie Jones for the Southwest WIB

  • Intend to be an economic and workforce development service to the community, employee, and employer.
  • Promote life-long learning, a skilled workforce for their area, the Oklahoma Courier Readiness Certificate, and the WorkKeys Assessment.
  • Explore and utilize the industry cluster concept.
  • They have a benchmark and provide meaningful data to improve services in the area.
  • At the discretion of the WIB, occupations may be approved for training and added to their demands occupation list through an application to the WIB by a training provider.
  • Businesses, employers, and service providers attend the meetings.
  • The strategic plan is community involvement.
  • The WIB is under the Department of Labor.
  • 107 employees in their area were laid-off last month. They are working with the Trade Adjustment Act (TAA); it is $100K they can use to help those individuals that were laid-off.
  • Meeting objective is to discuss issues that businesses need to hear.

Committee Reports: Copies of below committee reports were provided in the May 19, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

ORC Executive Committee Report – Glenda Farnum, Chair

Ms. Farnum reviewed the written ORC Executive Committee Report.

Planning & Program Committee (P&P) – Milissa Gofourth, Committee Chair

Ms. Gofourth reviewed the written ORC Planning & Program Committee Report.

Policy & Legislative Committee (P&L) – Tim Parrish, Committee Chair

Mr. Parrish reviewed the written ORC Policy & Legislative Committee Report.

Transition & Employment (T&E) – Theresa Hamrick  

Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written ORC T&E Committee Report.

Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Update – Dr. Mike O’Brien, Director

  • Mr. Jim Adams has been hired as the OSB Superintendent with a start date June 6, 2011.
  • Interviews are being scheduled for the DVS Administrator and OSD Superintendent.
  • A new Chief of Staff has been hired with a start date of June 1, 2011.
  • The budget bill passed and went to the Governor. DRS had what appears to be the smallest cut in government of one (1) percent, which means VR will forfeit probably between $700K and $800K in federal money. There will be a time this summer or early fall that a change in priority group 3 will be made. The plan is to create a level of movement every 60 or 90 days so it will not be completely closed. The decision as to whether that will occur in the summer or the fall is based on whether or not supervisors have been able to get unused funds released.
  • The legislation that would have made Dr. O’Brien’s position a Governor appointed position died, so that will not happen this year.
  • The limits bill passed and it is the bill that tells them how much they can spend. For DRS the state component is around $30,180,000.00 but their actual budget at the beginning of each year when you combine federal dollars potentially is around $148M. This year they have spent around $160M because they had a federal carryover and the stimulus money last year. The appropriations limits bill allows them to access the carryover. The limits bill also sets the limits on the director’s salary.
  • The IT bill combines things across the state and gives possession/ownership of all our IT staff, computers, offices, and office supplies of IT people to the Office of State Finance (OSF). It also gives OSF authority over anything DRS might do related to computers including client service. There have been a couple of adjustments in the bill, the first is on the programs that are 100 percent federal and are exempted from it so their Social Security Disability Determination has been exempted. There was an additional amendment put in last week that allows for agencies that are primarily federal and who have a required federal reporting to apply for exemptions. They are waiting to hear, and they believe they will qualify for at least a portion of the exemptions. If they don’t get the exemption it will potentially cost them $2M.  
  • Some other bills combined agencies and combined finance activities. The long-term effects on DRS is unknown, they do know they are exempt from the finance piece.
  • There are changes in the retirement system that will affect new employees. The concern is what that will do to the ability to hire because some changes are pretty dramatic.
  • Performance is up across all of the divisions.
  • They will have 100 percent graduation rate at OSB and at OSD. All of the current graduation class at OSD has either accepted a job or is enrolled in a vo-tech or a college. Two (2) of the students have athletic scholarships to Gallaudet. At OSB at least four (4) of the kids are enrolled in school for the fall and the others are currently negotiating for jobs or vo-tech.
  • There is still a chance for additional funding for the schools from the Dept. Education.
  • A couple of significant losses this session were from the Department of Education which de-funded the Accessible Informational Materials (AIM) program and cut the money in half and gave it to a private agency. The Department of Education also de-funded Tech-Now, and DRS left their funds in but that will not sufficient to operate the program by itself.
  • Jason Price has been appointed to the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI). This year both monograms are on healthcare, and Jason has been appointed to author on one of them, and Dr. O’Brien has been appointed chair and editor over all of the IRI’s this year.
  • Dr. O’Brien has also been appointed to the Board of Director’s for the Council on Rehab Education (CORE), the body that certifies universities to become certified rehab programs. A substantial amount of federal money was taken away, projects with industry were eliminated, and all the training grants were reduced. Typically they give five (5) year grants to universities each year to fund bachelor and master degrees in rehabilitation, and all of those grants were de-funded for this year.
  • Funding was reduced in the migrant farmworker and supported employment programs.
  • There is still concern regarding the transition legislation.
  • DRS will lose 45 to 50 percent of middle management over the next two (2) to three (3) years. They will look at how they can attract more people to those jobs when their own counselors can make more as counselor IVs than they can as supervisors, and also how they are going to attract people from out-of-state if they have to take a pay cut to come here.


Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Report and Division of Visual Services – Mark Kinnison, DVR Administrator, and Acting DVS Administrator

  • Production is up and on target for VR and VS to meet their production goals.
  • New Academy kicked off this week. They had 35 participants, approximately 30 are counselors, and they had participants from the Delaware Tribal Program. 
  • Southeastern Oklahoma units recently sponsored a foster care and transition youth event. They partnered with DHS and the National Resource Center with Youth Services. They had a little over 20 kids and a motivational speaker.
  • The transition unit in Tulsa had an event with Tulsa Public Schools. 35 students and 15 teachers were recognized for their work with DRS in their work-site learning program.
  • The Tulsa transition group took the initiative on a booth at Special Olympics, and they had participants from the Tulsa VS program and the OLBPH. It was a good event and additional funding has been requested for next year.
  • They met with ORC representatives on visual services regarding the Train the Trainer program where they went on contract with some of their consumers who actually provide AT technology training to consumers. In order to be more structured they are going to develop a curriculum to follow.
  • Visual Services is looking at doing a summer ABLE program for young adults age 18-24. The focus will be independent living skills, employment, and assistive technology.
  • Recent VR caseload sizes are averaging between 150 and 170 per caseload, and they do still have some that are over 200. The biggest concern is the Muskogee area where they have six (6) counselor’s in that unit with caseload averages of about 260. They have an Okmulgee counselor with a caseload size of over 200 that is out on leave so they are filling the gap there until she returns. Two (2) new counseling positions have been added to that unit which should help tremendously.
  • Visual Services has a vacant Programs Manager position.
  • Looking at developing job placement training for VR and possible VS.   
  • Plan to involve all VR and VS staff with servant leadership training.
  • Would like to implement Career Readiness Certificate in their vocational evaluation centers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and probably Lawton as well.
  • Melinda Fruendt has been asked to assist with online application project.
  • A counselor was hired for their partnership with Juvenile Affairs at the COJAC location in Tecumseh. The counselor will work with the youth there. The goal is to get an application started, eligibility established, and a vocational assessment once they have a release date. When individuals are ready to leave that facility they will coordinate their transition back into their community with the home counselor.


Legislative Report – Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Officer

  • One area for concern with regard to the IT consolidation bill is unless we can be exempted almost entirely from that there could be some impact upon issues like reasonable accommodation for staff, client services, and assistive technology issues.
  • Another bill that may affect some of us consolidates several state agencies that deal with human resource issues. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Central Services (DCS) are both being placed within the Office of State Finance (OSF).
  • A slightly new version of a bill that deals with the Advantage Waiver has already gone to the Governor. In the conference report one of the issues of concern is that there has been a statement placed in the actual statute that defines eligibility with regard to physical disability as a person who has already been determined by the Social Security Administration to have a disability.
  • The legislature is looking at whether to close or to refurbish the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid (NORCE) and Southern Oklahoma Resource Center (SORC). A bill has been introduced that directs DHS to begin preparation of a plan to secure the future or to basically outline the future of these two (2) facilities. The concept is that this will be a plan for closure of the facilities.
  • A bill requiring DHS to license sheltered workshops that it does not already inspect has been signed by the Governor.
  • DRS can now request national criminal background checks on employees.
  • SB 837 which is changes to Title 25, Civil Rights anti-discrimination law at the state level makes some changes in the statute that adds genetic discrimination to the protected classes. It also qualifies the term disability as it is used in the anti-discrimination and employment portion of the statute.  

Combined VR/VS Field Coordinator Report – Greg DeMartra, DVS Field Coordinator

The DVR and DVS Field Coordinator Reports are both available as is a combined DVR/DVS Field Coordinator Report in the May 19, 2011 ORC meeting packet. Mr. DeMartra reviewed the Combined DVR/DVS Report.

Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) Report – Perry Sanders, SILC Representative 

  • The financial status was presented and approved that they will disseminate monies to the independent living centers. They will also review the possibilities of training in-state and out-of-state for SILC members.
  • Theresa Hamrick gave their report regarding advocacy training in September, and reviewed the public hearings scheduled for May 17, 18, and 19, 2011. 
  • Mark Kinnison gave Dr. O’Brien’s report as well as the Visual Services report.
  • Medical Specialty of Oklahoma and Invacare Wheelchair gave presentations.
  • Dr. Randall Elston attended and he will be covering the academy for Sidna.  
  • Sidna Madden reported on FEMA.
  • ­SILC had a booth at Disability Awareness Day and quite a few members participated.
  • By-laws were reviewed and it was decided there was no reason to have any changes.
  • The SILC website is up and running, and is ready for review/comments.
  • There was a written update for ABLE Tech by Milissa Gofourth. The loan rate has gone up from five (5) percent to six (6) percent.
  • Marilyn Burr gave a report for CAP, she has undergone advocacy training, and the Office of Disability Concerns has undergone ADA training.

Program Manager Report - Theresa Hamrick:

Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written Program Manager’s report provided in the May 19, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

Other Business 

  • ORC meeting dates changed from August 18, 2011 to August 25, 2011, and November meeting will be the second Thursday of the month because of the Thanksgiving holiday.  
  • Chair, Glenda Farnum asked members to consider if they have any conflicts for the fourth Thursday for quarterly meetings with the exception of the November meeting which would be the second Thursday. The council will probably discuss doing this on a permanent basis for the next calendar year.
  • Terry Brigance from TACE will attend the November ORC Quarterly Meeting to talk about TACE activities instead of the August meeting as initially scheduled.
  • Sue Williams and Sabrina Ware will be the nominating committee and they will have a slate of officers ready for the August meeting.

New Business:


Closing Announcements:

Public Hearing at State Office from 4-6 this afternoon

Adjournment:   11:30 a.m.