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NYSILC Full Council Meeting

May 17, 2007

Holiday Inn Turf

9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Present: Mike Orzel, Bob Gaffney, Randy Black, Paige Pierce, Bruce Darling, Chris Zachmeyer, Bob Gumson, Sharon Shapiro, Agnes McCray, Pratik Patel, Edith Prentiss, Sharon Flom, Mark Hernandez, Greg Jones, Melanie Shaw, Nick Rose

Present via phone: Gene Hughes, Doug Usiak, Christina Curry

Staff Present: Brad Williams, Sue Cohen, Patty Black, Joe Adler

Others present: Denise Figueroa

Call to Order

Brad called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM with the introduction of two new ex-officio members: Melanie Shaw from NYAIL and Nick Rose from the DDPC.

Mike Godino had forwarded a packet on a youth representative to serve on SILC for interim basis pending formal appointment – Kieran McGovern will serve as this youth rep leader. Kieran is currently an intern @ SILO and a pre-law English senior at Mt. St. Mary College – he works on public policy issues at SILO and will be great asset in youth capacity.

Bob Gaffney motioned, Randy Black seconded, all aye

Open Forum

Bob Gumson noted the newly revised, most integrated setting coordinating council – re-convened under new administration – Bob looking for 3 members as body of advisory group (focus would be advancement of independent living) – three council members volunteered for this advisory group: Bruce Darling, Sally Colletti and Gene Hughes.

Sue Cohen noted that Tom Vaughn, a rep. from Department of Transportation would be present briefly today – Tom represents “United We Ride” – this is a federally funded group that coordinates transportation for those w/disabilities – a very large interest regarding transportation issues was noted from council members. Nick Rose noted that “United We Ride” grant going to Albany County for work on safe, affordable and efficient transportation.

Nick also noted 35th anniversary of lawsuit that closed Willowbrook – good for NYSILC and ILC’s to recognize this milestone – Planners around this are hoping to have “Willowbrook survivors” remember and note their stories before they age too much more.

Chris Zachmeyer noted that NYSILC council meetings web cast on our website - Due to an executive order from Governor Spitzer, all public meetings will need to be audio or video cast for public in near future.

Edith Prentiss brought up topic of making NYSILC website more adaptive for those with visual difficulties; perhaps changing font size. Joe Adler will check into integrating this with our webmaster Kathy.

Approval of Minutes of February 9, 2007

Minutes were approved as presented. (P. Patel – R. Black m/s/p) all aye

Executive Director’s Report

Brad gave the update on SPIL and reported that it was all set to be given to federal RSA by July 1 – close to getting approvals from VESID and CBVH (Bob Gumson reported that Regents will take SPIL to pass on May 19).

Bob will put together a 20 minute presentation to Regents on Independent Living (keeping folks informed on IL across lifespan). Sharon Flom reported SPIL does not need approval from governor’s office; this will move it along - SPIL looks excellent in moving right on track.

Brad reported that work being done with Western NY Independent Living Project on Voting Rights Documentary – they are developing solicitation video for the documentary to develop interest in post-production gap issues – current goals are for:

  1. PBS Distribution
  2. Democracy Now
  3. Film Festival as Overall Goal

An 8 Minute Short video (Barriers to Fundamental Right) was developed and shown at meeting – it regarded NY State being in violation of HAVA – it captured issues of current problems inside Albany and troubles within polling places – this shows how final product can be finished up.

Melanie Shaw reported on Training Academy Items – much information on this on NYAIL website – “Mobilizing Resources” workshop with NYAIL – surveyed all IL centers through “Webinar” series about to launch (these would involve board function, recruiting volunteers, etc.)

Edith Prentiss recommended keeping members on a general distribution list to keep them current on new issues – good to keep folks “in the loop.” Edith also suggested idea of “silent population members” (like herself) being funded to attend various events related to independent living. Agnes McCray reported on huge problem of attitudinal barrier – great problem in Syracuse with current poll workers – NYSILC and NYAIL trying hard to address this barrier issue; efforts underway to affect and change this problem.

Treasurer’s Report

Brad spoke in lieu of Mike Godino. Brad reported that Mickki (NYSILC accountant) pulled together a pro-rated annual budget and all is pretty much on par and running evenly and on the mark – doing fine on financial report. Doug Usiak mentioned desire to have spreadsheet sent out in Excel format to all members for ease of use; Excel spreadsheet will be used in all future agenda packets.

Audit was successfully completed in February – auditors filed an extension due to their own busy work so they could focus on pro-active work (there was a double booking on insurance so NYSILC received $600 refund) – very sound fiscal audit. Audit will be ready for September meeting

(E. Prentiss-S. Shapiro m/s/p) all aye

Executive Committee Report

Bruce Darling mentioned making sure NYSILC board is in power as officers. Chris Zachmeyer is looking for new members for committee.

(P. Patel – R. Black m/s/p) all aye

Committee Reports

Chris Z. reported that every two years, NYSILC does Consumer Satisfaction Survey through ILC’s – they are CSR consumers – The survey is generated by Potsdam University and an 80% satisfaction rate is desired for these surveys; total of 7 questions. The final report is sent to VESID – across the state 2,097 completed surveys were returned at a 14% return rate which is fair. The state received a 90% satisfaction rating – the satisfaction bar will be moved up to 85%. Edith requested results be made available to consumers (since results are anonymous) so folks will desire to respond to next survey.


Randy Black mentioned efforts to keep hotel and airline industry aware of travel needs of disabled travelers (non accessible bathroom facilities on airlines) – currently working with Sue Cohen on survey and website that identifies positive public areas for disabled travelers (Randy had very positive experience in travel to London) - $5,000 in funding from SPIL was received for travel.

Statewide Needs Assessment

Doug Usiak reported this was sent to outside independent evaluators; results should be seen in a week or two. Brad reported that SUNY Buffalo evaluator analysis brought in many very informative results. Syracuse currently has data and managing it in appropriate ways; delivery will be by end of May.

Emergency Preparedness

Edith Prentiss reported on her New Orleans visit, report she wrote on this and the SILC Congress. Edith overall saw Katrina as failure of several bad policies; mentioned challenges in New Orleans being primary causes of Katrina. She attended three excellent workshop sessions where storm survivors spoke out – very touching and emotional. Because of Katrina, much re-construction is happening in New Orleans for those with disabilities – FEMA rep Robbie Levinger helping much; now coordinating with NYSILC. A questionnaire for all ILC’s has been developed on post-Katrina information entitled “Assessing Impact of Katrina on People with Disabilities.” Edith is Region II representative and needs members.


Bob Gaffney reported on plan to approach “Families Together NYS” to work with Stephanie Orlando to develop systems advocacy for youth and get structure of this committee together; will see where this leads over next three years. Page Pierce spoke out on the Youth Empowerment Project and their slogan – “Nothing about us Without Us” – excited and hopeful about partnership of those with disabilities and mental health community; together these too very empowered. Nick Rose reported that DDPC ready to start 6 youth leadership grants; youth teams are currently at least 50% with developmental disabilities.


Bob Gumson reported on biggest VESID projects:

  1. Model Transition Projects - $12 million IDEA discretionary funds which require partnerships and having schools do better – planning on 60 grants over 3 ½ years with transition practices that are research and data-based.
  2. VESID funded contract with state-funded centers in Queens and Niagara Falls – ready to release RFP for both of these areas.
    ESID also ready to release RFP for SSAN – this will be disseminated mid-June. Also working on funding money to prisons for training for inmates with disabilities plus entering into a 2 year agreement with Department of Labor to place 750 people a year w/disabilities into jobs.


Sharon Flom reported on moving CBVH to independent agency – they are in advisory capacity in governor’s office and are investigating current conditions for the blind – the executive board will be identifying deficiencies and reviewing rehab proposals. There is a new commissioner for CBVH – Gladys Carrione. Federal RSA visits happened twice in April and are very pleased with what is happening in NYS.

Open Forum

Greg Jones reported that there was currently a bill before the legislature – it calls for providing forms in large print for people who are elderly – people need to be made more aware.

*Brad reported on “Polling Place Access Bill” and wanting to push this through on Disability Awareness Day – it had been left at Assemblyman Cahill’s office and want this bill – (A244) marked up with changes and amended (desiring changes to ADA and building place codes, getting rid of waiver). *Good news was reported on Disability Awareness Day (May 21) when Brad and Tim Cronin found that bill was being written with desired changes. Need this solid “Polling Place Access Bill.”

NYS Board of Elections website is good site to go on – it shows a proposed regulation for a standard polling site with a “standard set-up design” where there would be privacy panels (6 carrels) and layout looks good for folks with disabilities. Brad suggested folks go on this site, check out the information and submit comments and suggestions.

Joe Adler reported on a professional article he and Brad wrote and submitted to a scholarly journal for review and possible publication. It was titled: Voters with Disabilities: the Sleeping Giants of American Politics. It detailed HAVA and comparison of current struggles to vote for people with disabilities to similar past voting struggles experienced by 3 other disenfranchised groups: women, people of color and youths.

Edith mentioned problems with inaccessible locations for some SUNY computer labs (ATTAIN) at the SUNY project workforce development center.

Pratik Patel announced that CUNY reached agreement with scholarly research organization – a fully fledge Masters program in Disability Studies will be housed out of CUNY starting Summer 2007


There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 2:25 PM.

(E. Prentiss – P. Patel m/s/p all aye

Transcribed by:
Patty Black
Administrative Assistant

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