State Rehabilitation Council

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1 State Rehabilitation Council March 13, 2013 Denver Metro Rehabilitation Office 2211 West Evans Avenue, Bldg. B Denver, CO Columbine Conference Room 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. Meeting called by: Anticipated Attendees: Guest(s): Julie Kerksick, Director, CDHS Economic Security Buna Dahal, Krista Dann, Julie Deden, Elaine De Smedt, Julie Farrar, Jackie Geib, Karla Grazier, Kelley Hartman, Rebecca Johnson, William Kennedy, Mary Leonard, Brenda Mosby, Debra Petersen, Geoff Peterson, Beth Schaffner, Josh Winkler Dee Martinez, CDHS Deputy Executive Director of Enterprise Partnerships; Julie Kerksick, Director, CDHS Economic Security, Todd Jorgensen, Deputy Director, CDHS Economic Security. Agenda Topics 4:30 Introductions/Presentation of Agenda Julie Kerksick 4:45 SRC Membership Dee Martinez 5:15 Public Comment Limit 2 minutes 5:20 Review/Approve minutes from previous meeting ALL - JANUARY 5:25 Dinner 5:35 Recommendation for the State Plan Elaine De Smedt 6:05 Director s Update/DVR Budget Update Todd Jorgensen Kelley Hartman 6:35 SILC Report Buna Dahal 6:40 Committee Goals Chairs or Designees 6:55 Questions or Announcements Open 7:00 Motion to Adjourn Co-chair 1

2 SRC Mission The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) is a partner with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) in developing and evaluating the effectiveness of its vocational rehabilitation programs. The SRC advises DVR concerning activities under the Rehabilitation Act, assists in the development of the state plan, and helps determine the extent of consumer satisfaction with DVR s services that affect vocational client employment outcomes. Attendees: Todd Jorgensen, Buna Dahal, Julie Deden, Brenda Mosby, Judi Stein Stutman, Dave Delay, Chris O Connor, David Henninger, Krista Dann, Julie Kerksick, Dee Martinez, Elaine De Smedt, Jackie Geib, Bill Kennedy, Geoff Peterson, Mary Leonard, Travis Morgan, Karla Grazier, Beth Schaffner, Kelley Hartman, Rebecca Johnson, Liz King AGENDA TOPICS INTRODUCTIONS/PRESENTATION OF AGENDA SRC MEMBERSHIP JULIE KERKSICK DEE MARTINEZ As you know, 5 members of the executive committee tendered resignations to Governor s office on Monday. I would like to go over today some of the things that contributed to this happening and also some of the things that board members need to know. Boards and Commissions report up to Dee Martinez (there are 57 boards). Below is a discussion of the by-laws and requirements of boards and commissions. Sunshine Law : Colorado Revised Statute Meetings Open to Public Summary: Anytime we re having any type of meeting like this, with more than 2 members, we need to publically notice it within 24 hours of the meeting. Anytime you meet, you have to take minutes and they have to publically posted. Buna: Whenever we meet we must post notice? Is this true for executive committee as well? Response: as an example: if 6 members (a quorum) decided to go to lunch and discuss a resolution by the SRC and propose a resolution that would require posting for public access. This applies to members of SRC who are appointed by the Governor. Judi: Who in the Governor s office was responsible to educate the SRC executive committee? Response: the chair of the SRC and the staff of the SRC are responsible for those trainings. Judi: Where is that written? Response: It would be the ex-officio members (Nancy & Rebecca) 2

3 Judi: Could you send us a copy of that rule? Response: Yes House bill The bill passed last year and has to do with secret ballots Government bodies can t adopt policies etc by secret ballot and must record who has voted. Summary: including this rule with the Sunshine rule, if you were voting on a resolution and had 5 for and 1 against, you would have to make public who voted and how. You cannot have secret ballots Judi question: When the executive committee got together there were 5 voting members and one associate, the number is six. Do they have to be voting members? Response: There were 5 voting members, and there is a requirement for 6 by your own bylaws Federal Rules: Federal Register Vol 66 Number 11 Item Establishment of State Rehabilitation Advisory Council Summary: the council must be Governor appointed, and have at least 15 members with up to 30 members. The function of the council is to review analyze and advise DVR. Our Colorado SRC bylaws require 15. Colorado SRC had 17 voting members & 2 ex-officio members Question: Does it go on from there? Response: SRC can advise on anything that relates to Voc Rehab one of the biggest areas of misunderstanding has been whether or not the SRC needed to participate in the same internal clearance and discipline as we use at the staff level. We ve talked to the feds and they agree you, and we, are attached to the executive branch and not the legislative branch Comment: this body provides info on rehab services and issues to the leg, congress etc. Comment: One of our requirements is to present to the legislature and the Governor Response: All of that is through the clearance process that everyone on the executive branch must go through this staff hierarchy and it s the responsibility of your ex officio members to educate the council on that process. Colorado SRC bylaws The SRC may not have fewer than 15 members. There were 3 vacancies existing, so there are 8 vacancies now. We will have a members and bylaws discussion All Council meetings etc. are public business and must be open and publically announced. 3

4 The legal use of state letterhead and the state seal these may only be used for official state or department business if it will be used it must be submitted to the staff member supporting the council. It must go through the departmental clearance process and members may not retain electronic copies of the letterhead Colorado open records law any document written or published by state body is public information. Any document on state letterhead is considered a public document ( s are as well). If we receive a records request from the Denver post, if you re using your to discuss council business, those records must be turned over. We will be doing trainings across all the 57 boards and councils and we are working on developing web based training dealing with these issues; hopefully by the 1 st of the new fiscal year. Amendment 41 dealing with gifts We will offer that training for all existing board members and will also use as a training opportunity for incoming new members Also asked Mary McGhee to go out and meet with each board at least once before the next fiscal year so that everyone is on the same page. Orientation is the responsibility of the Division staff ex officio members Question: would that include me because I m appointed? Response: it would not include you (Jackie) because she HAS been appointed, but Rebecca that would include you. Question: why would that be true of Jackie but not Rebecca? Response: even though Jackie is staff, it s not her responsibility because she has been appointed by the Governor to a federally mandated position, while Rebecca and Nancy have been assigned but not appointed Question: there have been times when my role as policy analyst requires me to educate legislators about individuals with disabilities If I want to take a position on an issue, we have to bring that position information to be voted on by full council before I can take a position on any issue when in that capacity. Comment: We are not uniform in the way we are interpreting and implementing the policies etc. across all these 57 boards and I do want to make sure that the state understands and is aware of the concerns that people have when we are representing a constituency that the voice of the constituents is not (there s a feeling that the voice was muzzled whether protocol was violated or not). We need to look at how to move forward, that the training hasn t been adequate, but with the understanding that the intent is preserved because we ARE here representing underrepresented individuals that role must not be compromised while at the same time following protocol. Response: there was no one who was worried about the content of the letter that was written, it was the process (use of letterhead and rules, laws and bylaws as a council) that is the issue. 4

5 PUBLIC COMMENT Comment: Who was involved in the investigation (internal / external) and who made the decision to ask for resignations Response: Dee Martinez. I conducted the investigation and then met with the Governor s office (Romaine Pacheco and Kevin Patterson) and they took those recommendations to the Governor. My recommendation was to allow the executive committee to resign rather than revoking their appointments. The Governor s office requested that I make those calls. I communicated that to the members and I received the resignations by midnight on Monday. Comment: It s very difficult to get people involved and energized about this process and after all the work that ALL of us have put into this and I m concerned about this being heavy handed and over-reactive. You ve said that folks weren t appropriately educated and I m concerned about this group remaining vital. Perhaps it s too late to reconsider but you have a lot of very new members and this just doesn t bode well for the group. This group has been vital and loyal opposition. We made it a real grass-roots, alive thing. I m afraid that this will kill it. That s why I came today and I came supporting Chris. Response: Julie K I would like to talk about why what could have been a hiccup has become so much more. There are restrictions to what I can say, but I will be as transparent as possible. We are absolutely committed to the SRC being a thriving active representative group of wise people who also understand the necessary protocol. Why does it matter that a letter went to the Gov and Leg? Context since December we have been trying to put together a case for further funding for DVR so that DVR would not have to go on a wait list. We struggled at the program level putting together the numbers and explanations in a way that made sense. Our department budget director has been working with us. Where there were cross purposes Reggie was very sincerely trying to say: if you can help me paint this picture and tell me how much money it would take to fix this, then that s what I m going to do. Build an appropriate case w/ appropriate dollars etc. The executive committee believed that we were deliberately doing nothing. I can tell you that is not true. We weren t sitting on our hands; we ve been working very hard towards a positive result. We know that going on a waitlist would not have been enough of a cost cut - (that first tier) the savings would have been a pittance. People have said it ll send a signal but I believe that the upper management of DVR have done a good job of spreading information about the need for cost restraint. We needed to be able to understand what part, what components were playing which role in the problem. That the executive committee believed that they couldn t pick up the phone and CALL me about this issue is disheartening. I ve been working closely with DVR and CDHS upper management but I did not know that the SRC believed that we weren t making any efforts toward resolving this issue. 5

6 We wouldn t have been allowed to talk about internal work product but we were aware and actively looking for a resolution to the problem that would not require DVR to go on a waitlist for the next few years. We DO understand these issues and part of the delay is that we weren t able to answer the questions about the DVR budget that needed to be answered in a satisfactory and understandable way. In the timing of all this we finally have the questions answered and Monday Reggie had spoken to the Governor s office in an unofficial way The letter undermined this effort On Tuesday we briefed Reggie in preparation for the meeting he was having the next day with the Governor s Chief of Staff. The letter arrived that same day, the day before the meeting. You couldn t have timed this worse if you had tried. We want to stress that this is not about the content. The problem is that the Governor is the person who makes the decision about what we will ask for money for. That is part of the organizational discipline. The JBC got the letter before the Governor even knew about this. The Governor is the person who needs to go to the JBC to present this information. Reggie had been sticking his neck out to make this case Now as it turns out we re going to be looking at the wait list for the foreseeable future but this has been made a lot more difficult and painful because of the letter. The Office of State Planning and Budget (works for Governor) agreed that we would ask for additional funding for DVR The supplemental request will be made and reviewed on Friday we will give you information on attendance and participation. This is happening but we don t know if it will be accepted by JBC. (Hopefully they will accept at least the modest request $1million) This is not a question of Reggie or CDHS wanting to limit services to people with disabilities. Somewhere along the line trust has been broken between this committee, the executive committee and CDHS. In conversation with the executive committee it was made clear that Todd Nielsen believes that the forward movement that is happening now only occurred because the letter was written. This is not true and in fact, not taking the appropriate channels has threatened a positive outcome in this case. Sending the letter has not forced forward movement in the situation, it s HINDERED movement. Any taskforce work group of council must stop and assess whether we are properly staffing and training, and if not we must stop and educate members about the necessary processes. Josh question: Is DHS working on this? No one on any of these boards has any training. Is this something going through boards and committees or is this going through DHS? Also, I would like to say that you ve asked why no one called YOU, I d like to know why none of you have visited our meetings. Dee response: Regarding the training component, we ve discussed making this a webbased education process. It s a starting process and it will be built on. Julie response: I have been to this council but not in recent months and in discussion with Nancy it was more on the technical (budget etc) side and understanding categories the questions we were being asked (how big the deficit, when did we know what, how did it happen?) we were not able to satisfactorily answer those questions. Frankly the AWARE 6

7 system has not well served us for managing performance and managing change, it doesn t keep historical records. The numbers can be pulled one day and the next they will be different. Kelley Hartman: The system is live data and will only show current data and nothing prior to that Julie K: I would like to say that it would have been a violation for us to discuss the supplemental request before the final version had been completed. Josh: if we can t address legislature or Governor, why are we here? Response: You can go, but you must do it through this process. As government workers we re not privy to all the discussions that are going on and it s important that we don t undermine or contradict other efforts. As a private citizen you certainly are free to approach them but if you re wearing the hat of a state entity, this is not permissible. You must go through as a collaborative group with a cohesive message if you re going as a state entity. Josh follow-up: so it was the fact that we had 2 or more members involved; if we went individually to the Governor etc. it wouldn t have been a problem? Response: the letter had the state seal, and it was on letterhead and the rest of the council did not have the opportunity to vote on the question or the content. This was mishandled in many ways. Josh: I was also very upset that I couldn t get a copy of the letter (as a council member) Response: This is part of the open records issue and I do want to mention that if you do go individually to the legislature etc. that you carry a message that s cohesive with the message of the SRC. Jackie: did the executive committee collectively write the letter and only the co-chairs signed it? Response: through investigation: the executive council held emergency meeting (conference call) where they agreed to write the letter on behalf of the entire council, but there were 5 voting members and that is not a quorum. The letter was written and then sent to the members and discussed. The signatures were electronic and added later. The letterhead was repurposed from something used to welcome a new member in the past and was not authorized by the department to be used Karla Comment: It s upsetting to think that this council has an inner circle of people having secret meetings and acting on assumptions. I m a little frightened to be part of this council if this council has Parking Lot meetings. Response: (Josh) The executive committee meets every month and they are briefed more frequently. Response: (Julie K) I discussed with Todd Nielsen about where he had gotten the idea that CDHS was making no forward movement and he was unwilling or unable to answer that question. Mary Leonard thank you for clarifying the context. Something that does concern me: the executive committee has been voted in by the members. Why would this decision be so Top Down? Our entire leadership is gone. Why would you not come to the SRC as a whole to make these sweeping decisions, especially with the acknowledgement that proper training wasn t taking place? Kerksick response: The Governor is dealing with a lot of issues and there have been 2 high profile situations where he took much more public action on commission members. The 7

8 people who serve him brought him options (some harsher) and he opted to ask for the resignations. I am committed to help you rebuild. Dee response: the Governor made deliberate decisions not to revoke the appointments. One of the reasons there was a member of the EC who was appointed to council because of their position on another committee. A revocation would have removed all seats. We didn t want to do that. Comment: You ve said it s not about image but from our discussion here, it appears that it is. If the intent is the best, the training wasn t complete; it really does appear that this is based on image. Response: we do agree that there has not been appropriate training and I had been assured by Nancy that there was some historical institutional memory about the process because of some prior issues that are very similar. I m not going to quibble, but when people have been called to account for not following protocol, it s really not as harsh as it may seem. Rather than put this on the Governor. The most difficult and painful part of the last month has been how much this reflects an Us-and-Them attitude. This is what I had hoped we were moving away from and this showed me that I was sadly mistaken. We may not always be happy, but we re always a team. Comment: By taking this action you re affirming that split. Response: that is not my intent. We want people to stay and we want to build on the strengths of the council but we do ask that members adhere to the federal and state rules and the by-laws of the Council. Comment: I think you ve made your points very well. The overarching problem is that there are so many boards, there has to have been an overreach of the same or worse this decision is certainly onerous and certainly TOP DOWN. Your recommendation, Dee, was to ask for the resignation. Are you going to take the same actions across all of the boards? Because this action does set a precedent. Where were the people who were supposed to be guiding the committee? The only people being injured here are 5 well-intentioned people. And they re being punitively removed. This group has had to fight hard for years for a seat at the table. This is not a plum commission. Comment: I appreciate this effort. Information is important. I think it s the time now to take the challenge and build this council and move forward. Judi: where is Nancy smith and when will she be back or will she be back? Response: Nancy is away from the office and I will not comment further out of respect for her privacy. Josh: we are currently under staffed as a council, Boards and Commissions is months and months behind and we have nothing in our by-laws about replacing our leadership. The bylaws don t call for CDHS to run these meetings WE need to do that. We need to elect a new executive committee and we need to look for new membership. What s done is done and whoever is coming into those executive roles will have to have a much tighter role with you all and will hopefully help other boards to avoid these errors. But we have to move on. We re not meeting our goals and we have problems that we need to address. Response: I have a commitment from the Governor and Boards and Commissions to speed this process there is already one application pending and as you work towards 8

9 rebuilding the council and changing the bylaws this will have expedited priority Todd: we re going to propose that you have an interim meeting in April to look at membership and elect executive committee and discuss changes to the by-laws. Those changes to the by-laws are specifically based on membership requirements. Josh: Please generate a list of what roles must be filled so we can outreach to appropriate people Dee: We need to do a little more work on that but we will certainly get that information to you Julie F: Appearances are very important. This is not the only place where this kind of thing is happening (upheaval) however in effort to show cohesion and collaboration, some sort of joint messaging needs to happen. What is not said (back-story) is going to become THE story rather than the message we intend. Also, people are feeling like as a representative of an underrepresented population, that message is being silenced. We need to restore this relationship and do joint messaging in a transparent way or it will undermine our efforts. Julie K: That is certainly something we would like to do but I would ask what voices have been silenced? Julie f: it s the appearance. We need to make sure that people understand that. That s not what happened, that it was a protocol issue and not based on the message. What you ve done here do that officially (bringing the message forward) Julie K: I would like to comment on the well intentioned comment we heard earlier. I think there was a very clear decision to break trust. Judi: No. We felt we were in a crisis point and needed to take action immediately. I am resigning. Julie: why did you feel you couldn t go through proper channels? Judi: We knew the JBC was meeting and we knew that time was very short. Julie: Some of the same individuals had been down this road before. They were aware of the rules. So whose needs were served by this action? 9

10 REVIEW/APPROVE MINUTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETING APPOINTED MEMBERSHIP Discussion: Deferred to next meeting RECOMMENDATION FOR THE STATE PLAN ELAINE DE SMEDT Discussion: Deferred to next meeting Conclusions: Rebecca will poll you for an April date. We have some recommendations for the state plan. Some of that can be done through . (Table the state plan discussion) Action items: Person responsible: Deadline: We need the heads of the sub-committees to think about the progress made over the course of the year and send that information to Rebecca please. DIRECTOR S UPDATE/DVR BUDGET UPDATE TODD JORGENSEN KELLEY HARTMAN See handout for director s update and factsheet. Our lobbyists and advocacy groups are using this fact sheet; feel free to share that as you will. They will be doing figure setting for DVR on Friday We have a budget shortfall of 5.5 million dollars for the current fiscal year. A 1.1 million dollar shortfall in general fund, but really the issue is around the general fund match that we have to pull down those federal dollars that are still available to us. We re looking at a package of solutions. 3 components Supplemental request Order of selection wait list (1 st level already implemented) and then moving into the other levels Request for performance audit on DVR We are requesting the 5.5 million and spending authority for 1.2 million general fund we re offering different alternatives. 1. is to fund the level that will get us through the rest of the year (fund the shortfall) but continuing with order of selection. 2. fund the shortfall and fund the waitlist so we can stop Order of Selection 3. do nothing (not really an option) We made sure to be clear about the effect this would have on SWAP funds that provide the match and the MH funds as well. The decision is with the joint budget committee and we will be 10

11 using this fact sheet to educate and lobby the JBC. We re expecting it to be on Friday afternoon, but that time is not solid. If it should change it will be shared with the SRC. When the JBC does figure setting, we don t get to state our case, the JBC staff member makes the case but only on points of clarification. If we do have a COME BACK Reggie would go along with OSPB in that case. Question: would it be helpful to have consumers present as a visual but silent testimony? Response: let me check, my gut feeling is that it never hurts. May we approach the group as individuals? Yes, but I would ask that you stick to the talking points in the fact sheet, just to keep the focus on getting the money and not mix issues. There is an underrepresentation of people with disabilities at the capitol in general, so it doesn t hurt to be visible, and while no testimony is given, it s helpful to have people there. Out year funding (next fiscal year) we re also asking for a funding increase for that. We re asking for fiscal equilibrium. We re asking to increase funding to pull down the maximum funds from the feds. (the projected numbers do include the SWAP funds) Question: if we get everything we ask for, do you have a projection for how long the waitlist would be in place? The supplemental will be (mid April) and the long bill discussion will be ongoing. Order of selection: the timing of the other two categories will be April 22 nd (first level already done March 1 st ) this would be significant change in the way we administer DVR in Colorado. It s advisable to have public hearings. We should have some more precise information for you by next week. Under fed rules SRC is also tasked with helping with those public hearings and Todd will be coming to you to discuss how we can work together toward that goal. We also need to discuss Order of Selection issues with the SRC in a more complete way than we can tonight Our lobbyists are attending and we ll send updates as soon as we have them and will send through Rebecca Brenda: What kind of feedback are you looking for? Krista: not great guidance on that point: We ve discussed with states who have been through the same thing and we re pulling together information about what it will mean and how it will change the process and we re looking for feedback on how they feel it will impact the community and any ideas thoughts suggestions that might come as a result of thinking about the closure of these categories. Julie f: Public notice of a change. Working with constituency to lessen the impact of this or even prevent this from happening. Pay attention to how this is framed and how it s handled. Must convey that there is a method to the madness. It should be something more like We want to hear how this will impact the community, not just the path of least impact 11

12 Krista: we would very much like for that transparency to be there and for people to understand how to help or what kind of impact they can. We will use internal resources and would appreciate your help as well. Todd: We re working to have this available to you as soon as possible so you can take the information back to your constituency. Dee will be fast tracking the approvals on those (she promises) Josh: Could there be a ratchet affect? If we get the increase could that bode well in future or would it be a precedent that the JBC/Feds don t want to set? Kelley: that s actually what we re trying to do. There are 2 parts to this, we re asking for funds to close the gap this fiscal year and also an ongoing increase in general fund. Dee: for that million of state funds, we re going to get 4 million of fed. Josh: I would be surprised to see it not go through. We do need to get some of our people in the room. That could really help sell. Our general fund dollars have been going down. Our federal funds have been rising, and our swap funds have been holding steady. We ve been stretching those federal dollars for 2 years instead of the months that they are intended for. If this continues, we won t be able to pull down those federal dollars. (Sequestration is a different kettle of fish) Brenda: how long will OOS last? Will we have an idea after Friday? Kelley that s a really challenging question. Part of it is when would the funds be available if we do get them. Todd: be aware in the supplemental documents it talks about level of funds to stop order of selection (an additional million) that s an important component, if they vote to fund to stop OOS. The next year request that s part of this if we re getting max dollars then we re not assuming OOS. So through the end of this fiscal year (June 30) We re moving forward with the assumption that we will have OOS until we hear otherwise. Question: what s your guess? Todd: It s safe to guess they will help us get through the end of the year, but I really don t know about anything beyond that. Touch base with Sarah Sills if you re going as a private citizen to lobby the JBC please coordinate your message for greatest impact/least damage Questions: Public hearing details? Face to face meetings 1 in Denver and then others in outer regions. Variety of doors , written, in person etc. Dee: Julie and I would be more than happy to come back. Don t hesitate to call if you have questions and I would be happy to help in any way I can. The numbers on the one page information handout that is the minimum alternative. All the alternatives are in the full supplemental request. 12

13 SILC REPORT Discussion: Deferred to next meeting BUNA DAHAL Deferred to next meeting COMMITTEE GOALS CHAIRS OR DESIGNEES QUESTIONS OR ANNOUNCEMENTS OPEN SRC OFFICER/MEMBERSHIP, ETC. Representative(s) of: Mandated Slots Vacancies: Business, Industries, and Labor 4 3 Community Rehabilitation Services Provider 1 1 Individuals w/ Disabilities Education Act 1 1 Current/Former Applicants or Recipients of VR Svc. Not Specified Disability Advocacy Groups Not specified Areas of Concern SRC Committee Chairs Please note new teleconference numbers: Participant s Passcode: # All appointed members to step up and assume a leadership role. 13

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