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Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council
3535 NW 58th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73112, 2nd Floor
Members Present: Milissa Gofourth, Marilyn Burr, Glenda Farnum, Cindy Gallup, Tammie Jones, Kathleen Kennedy, Connie Lake, Hailey Mathis, Doug MacMillan, Jr., Jacki Millspaugh, Mike O’Brien, Tim Parrish, Amy Salmon, Sabrina Ware, Sue Williams.
Members Absent: Sterling Krysler, Letha Bauter, Nancy Garner, Jon Ringlero, Perry Sanders
Associate Members Present: Melinda Fruendt, DRS VR Project Coordinator; Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Representative; Kim Osmani, DRS Transition Coordinator.
Others Present: Denise North, OTI Team from Metro Tech; Sidna Madden, SILC Executive Director; Alisa Estes, DRS Field Coordinator; Bob Utley, VS Projects Coordinator; Larry Hartzell, DRS Transitions Programs Field Director.
Council Support: Theresa Hamrick, ORC Programs Manager; Kathleen Reed, DRS Commission Assistant/ORC Support; Linda Jaco, Director of Sponsored Programs, OSU Seretean Wellness Center.
Interpreters: Tonya Puryear and Patricia Mills
Call to order and Roll Call: The meeting was called to order at 9:30 a.m. - The roll was called and a quorum was established by Milissa Gofourth, Chairperson.
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING - Milissa Gofourth, Chair
No announcement, therefore, Milissa Gofourth, Chairperson, moved to action items.
Review to approve the May 20, 2010 ORC Quarterly Meeting Minutes. Copies of the minutes were provided in the August, 2010 ORC meeting packet.
On page 3 of the minutes extended deadline for Stimulus Money is September 30, 2011.
Motion to approve the minutes as corrected – Sabrina Ware
Motion seconded – Kathleen Kennedy
Voting aye: Majority affirmative vote. Voting nay: None
Nomination of ORC Officers for FY11
This is the last meeting of FY10; new officers are being elected.
Members of the Nominating Committee – Sabrina Ware and Sue Williams notified the Council that Kathleen Kennedy is the only ORC member ending her term of service.
Ms. Ware presented the nomination roster recommended by the Nominating Committee
Nomination for Chair – Ms. Glenda Farnum
Nomination for Vice-Chair – Ms. Marilyn Burr
Nomination for Transition & Employment Committee Chair – Ms. Nancy Garner
Nomination for Policy & Legislative Committee Chair – Mr. Tim Parrish
Nomination for Planning & Program Evaluation Committee Chair – Ms. Milissa Gofourth
The ORC chair called for further nominations from the floor. Being no further nominations, nominations were closed.
Election of ORC FY11 Officers
The nomination recommendations from the ORC Nominating Committee were hereby accepted and nominees were elected by acclamation.
Oklahoma Transition Institute (OTI) Team – Denise North, Director of Disabilities Services at Metro Tech. Ms. North shared her credentials. She was involved in the conception of OTI. As disabilities director for Metro Tech, she is the transition leader of their OTI team, which includes 23 members on the Council. Two goals were set last year, one is completed, and the second is almost complete.
Their next meeting is scheduled for November 16, 2010. The Transition Teams meets in September and October, then every other month through the school year, then again in May for evaluation and closure of the last year’s plan. Metro Tech is working toward having two Project Search sites. One of them is with Chesapeake Energy.
Questions from the Council
Q: How many campuses does Metro Tech have? How many students with disabilities are served?
A: There are five (5) Metro Tech Sites.
This is a new campus opening in October, 2010 that will include the Drop Out Recovery Academy, the alternative school for Crooked Oak and the Overflow School for Oklahoma City.
Metro Tech serves approximately 120 Special Needs 11th and 12th grade students.
Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Executive Committee Report – Milissa Gofourth, ORC Chair
Ms. Gofourth reviewed the written ORC Executive Committee Report, which is provided in the August 2010 ORC Meeting packet.
Ms. Gofourth is part of the Institute for Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) that is working on a final booklet publication of how SRCs are partnering effectively with the state agencies. The IRI is looking at the mandates of the law, especially Rehabilitation Law -105 – and the departmental mandates.
Transition & Employment (T&E) – Nancy Garner, Committee Chair
Due to the absence of Ms. Garner, Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written ORC T&E Committee Report, which is provided in the August, 2010 ORC Meeting Packet.
Suggestion from the Council
Doug MacMillan suggested sharing the T&E project with 211 and recruiting sponsors by offering to put their logo on the folders. This will aid is curbing distribution expenses.
Policy & Legislative Committee (P&L) – Glenda Farnum, Committee Chair
Ms. Farnum reviewed the written ORC Policy & Legislative Committee Report, which is provided in the August, 2010 ORC Meeting Packet.
Planning & Program Committee (P&P) – Marilyn Burr, Committee Chair
Ms. Burr reviewed the written ORC Planning & Program Committee Report, which is provided in the August, 2010 ORC meeting packet.
Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) Update
DRS Directors’ Report – Dr. Michael O’Brien, DRS Director
DRS EXPO: DRS EXPO was successful. The event was hosted by the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee. Over 500 people attended the event and more than 200 attended the classes. The purpose of the EXPO is to introduce the Tribes, the Partners, and the Vendors to the community that was received very well. The event will be held in October in 2011 due to DRS schedules.
WINGS TRAINING: WINGS training will prepare in-house staff for future promotions. DRS is partnering with the University of Arkansas Training Program to provide the training. We are also partnering with the State of Texas who are providing eleven mentors that have graduated from this leadership program and went on to become managers. They are now working with candidates currently in the program as part of this development program.
DRS Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Administrator: Interviews for the VR Administrator are complete and will be announced at a later date. A national search went out for the position; but based on the salary no out-of-state candidates applied. In other states, the Directors’ salaries are higher than the Directors’ salaries in Oklahoma, which are frozen by the legislature. DRS is one of the 10 largest rehabilitation agencies in America, but we are in the bottom 10 when it comes to Director’s salary. DRS staff has not received a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) in seven years. The DRS VR Division now has 1100 VR staff members. We are the 9th largest program in Oklahoma government but the Director’s salary is below 30th and is $6,000 a year below median of state Director’s in this state. Salary has to be challenged through the legislature so DRS can compete nationwide. Due to salary DRS has no applicants for several position that need to be filled.
DINE’ Training: State and Tribal Partnership and Collaboration Training (DINE’ Training) has been completed. Statutes allow DRS and the Tribes to share VR cases, which allow joint credit for the closure. Due to cultural issues, the sharing of cases decreased over the years. With this training it is hoped there will be at least 1,000 more co-shared cases each year.
Servant Leadership Training: After a year, the first phase of Servant Leadership Training has been completed by 700+ DRS staff members. However, it is not rolling out as expected in middle management areas. So retraining is scheduled. It will be a 2-day training this fall, in a retreat environment for more intense training, for the DRS Programs Managers.
DRS Budget: There were no reductions for DRS. Director O’Brien, Kevin Nelson, DRS Legislative Liaison; and Cheryl Gray, Chief Financial Officer; are preparing the FY12 budget.
Many states have had to give back Federal funds due to their State not being able to come up with full State match money. DRS was not able to provide $600,000 in state dollars, which means $2.5 to $3.0 million federal dollars were returned to the federal government.
Number of Closures: Numbers are up in terms of performance from last year.
CRC Board: The CRCC Board that certifies rehabilitation counselors, has added a new category that will allow master level professionals to become certified counselors. This will be beneficial to DRS. It allows for select alternative Degrees to apply for certification if they complete a post graduate certificate in Rehabilitation. This will allow 24 to 28 DRS staff to advance if they so choose.
Rehabilitation Act: The Rehab Act will not be acted on this session. It was mentioned for review in January or February of 2011.
National Rehabilitation Counselor Association (NRCA): Will be holding their conference in Oklahoma City this October. Oklahoma has brought three national conferences to Oklahoma City in the last 12 months, which gives DRS Counselors the opportunity to attend these national conferences.
Vocational Rehabilitation Division Report – David Couch, Acting VR Administrator was not in attendance, therefore, Director O’Brien covered this division in his report.
Visual Service (VS) Division Report – Jane Nelson, VS Administrator, was absent, therefore, Bob Utley, VS Project Coordinator, reported in her absence.
Combined VR/VS Field Coordinator Report– Alisa Estes, VR Field Coordinator
The VR and VS Field Coordinator Report are both available as is a Combined VR/VS Field Coordinator Report in the August, 2010 ORC meeting Packet.
Ms. Estes reviewed the Combined VR/VS Report. Highlights of this report:
Question from the Council
Q. What is the time frame for counselors regarding cases?
A. The Counselor has 60 days to determine eligibility, The time from eligibility to plan is 90 days. Most counselors complete eligibility in 20 days.
Q. What about vacant caseloads?
A. In Ms. Estes’ area there 5 vacancies (4 in Oklahoma City area were the turnover significant). As Director O’Brien mentioned DRS is having a difficult time with recruitment. The potential candidates list is shallow. Candidates are not staying in Oklahoma because of salary offers. Good counselors are not being offered higher, competitive salaries.
Q. How is turnover affecting caseloads?
A. Turnover is a great factor – part from retirement, part from promotions within the agency. Makes it tough on the remaining counselors.
Q. How is Oklahoma going to keep up?
A. DRS is now being able to announce posted positions in the newspapers but, when it comes to Counselor pay and Administrative pay, Oklahoma is at the bottom of the barrel. Oklahoma has a lot of hurdles when it comes to pay. ORC will need to help pressure the legislators regarding salaries as Director O’Brien reported.
Legislative Report – Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Officer
Ms Jones commented that the Legislature will have little to do with any salaries other than that of the agency Director. The stage is that the Directors salary will need to be dealt with to really make a case. The question is how does the Director’s salary compare with other agencies throughout the State and how does it compare with other Rehabilitation Directors nationally. This information is important to have when you start talking facts and figures. The ORC should be provided with this information in order to pursue this issue. The other issue is that other agency salaries are dealt with through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), they are the entity to deal with when it comes to pay bands and salary amounts. Of course, the legislators could put some pressure and submit some directives on this. The agency Human Resources Unit could do some footwork on this issue as well.
Legislative Issues: Highlights:
We are currently out of session. State Legislative Interim studies are now going on. Some of these studies surfaced due to new legislation. There are a few studies that may result in new legislation.
Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) Report – Sidna Madden, SILC Executive Director: Ms. Madden became SILC Executive Director 6-22-10, her report:
Program Manager Report - Theresa Hamrick. Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written Program Manager’s report provided in the August 2010 ORC meeting packet.
Other Business: Council Members Appointments: Each ORC member serves a two 3-year term, then sits out for a year before becoming eligible to reapply on the Council. The only person rotating off is Kathleen Kennedy. Ms. Hamrick thanked Ms. Kennedy for serving on the ORC. She is a true advocate for ORC and people with disabilities. Ms. Kennedy will continue to keep her foot in the door and will continue to speak for people with disabilities.
New Business: None
Ms. Hamrick thanked Ms. Gofourth for all her hard work as Chair of ORC and welcomed Ms. Farnum at the new ORC chair. Ms. Gofourth complemented Ms. Hamrick for the work she does for ORC and for her participation in WINGS.
Hadley School is partnering with the Department of Rehabilitation in Florida and Texas to provide direct client Assistive Technology Training. They are also providing as many as 8 CRC credit hours to Certified Rehabilitation Counselors.
Remember to send out the Advocacy Conference announcement to individuals, vendors, and agencies who may be interested.
Adjournment: Meeting was adjourned at 1:25 pm.
Next ORC Quarterly Meeting is scheduled for November 18, 2010, same location.
New chairpersons and new committees will be take effect at that time.
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