TNAIRS Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – January 2009

Welcome – Roll Call

Members present: Lynn Sorrell, John Hayes, Doug Fluegel, Robin Harwell, Lisa Lumb, Audrey May, Ron Reid, Carole Moore-Slater

Lynn noted that both Barbara Monte and Sharon Russell are out on sick leave for their respective surgeries. Lisa noted that Diane Schlaufman, our Treasurer, could not attend or provide a report for this meeting because she was home for a school closing; however, she offered to send the treasurer’s report to the board when she gets back to the office. Carole told the board that Whitney Griffin is leaving the Pathfinder to work at the Children’s Hospital and would not be participating either. Lisa asked Carole if that meant that Whitney would be resigning her place on the board and Carole said yes, and asked what Whitney needed to do to resign. Lynn said she just needed to send an email to him or to Lisa confirming this.

Review of Minutes from Annual Meeting – Audrey May

Ron moved approval of the minutes as submitted, Audrey seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously.

Review of Finances – Diane Schlaufman

Diane later reported no change.

Old Business

AIRS Conference Scholarship – Lynn Sorrell

Lynn said that he had received two applications, one from Memphis and one from Chattanooga 2-1-1, which he plans to share with Sharon for her input before her upcoming back surgery. Audrey noted that she had not received any more applications and the deadline has past; but that time is of the essence to ensure that the recipient of the scholarship would be able to get in by the Early Bird deadline for registration, which would be after the next board meeting. Lynn said he needed a little more time to review the applications with Sharon, but that he was inclined to award the scholarship to the Memphis applicant, since Chattanooga received it last year. John noted that the current Chattanooga applicant is going to be registered for the conference anyway, regardless of whether she was awarded the scholarship or not. Audrey, Ron and Lisa, as well as John all recused themselves for voting on this issue because staff at their agencies were applying. Lynn assured everyone that we would meet the deadline for picking a scholarship recipient.

Hamblen County

  • Audrey brought this subject up again. Lynn said that he had repeatedly tried to call social service agencies in Hamblen County to get them to call 2-1-1 and they all have trouble getting through at all to this number. Doug recommended that we first get the legislative council in place to be the governing body for the state of TN, then recommend to them that they reconsider moving Hamblen 2-1-1 to Knox County.
  • John said in the meantime he is putting together documentation about Hamblen 2-1-1’s non-responsiveness.
  • Audrey asked about the SWORPS report they were supposed to pay for. Lynn said they never completed that. John said it was due in late 2008, which gives them some leeway.
  • Ron agreed that it would be advantageous to put this issue in the council’s ballpark, not just have it be TNAIRS’ problem.
  • Lynn said we could officially table this issue.

New Business

Report on the 2-1-1 Advisory Committee of January 21, 2009 (John)

John reported that on January 21, 2009, he, Ron, Doug, Mary Graham and Ellyn Wilbur of the United Way of TN met to discuss the formation of an Advisory Committee made up of members of TNAIRS, the United Way of TN and TRA.

Issues discussed included

  • online, accessible statewide database
  • ensure funding for 2-1-1s statewide
  • ensure that all TN 2-1-1s meet minimum standards for I&R
  • possibility of 2-1-1 mergers
  • Hamblen issue
  • how best to utilize our resources effectively and efficiently to ensure consistently high quality 2-1-1 call center services statewide

John said this was a very positive meeting, with much talk about the pending legislation that will make this a reality.

Southern Neighbors Conference – Doug Fluegel

Doug asked John to give us a report on this.

  • John said the Southern Neighbors Conference is a joint conference held annually with the United Ways of TN and KY; this year they have allowed TNAIRS to be a full participant in their conference, with our own 2-1-1 track.
  • John said that he, Ron, Lynn, Doug and Glen Powell of KY have had discussions about putting together a track for this conference, which will be held June 24-26 in Murfreesboro; he’ll be sending out what they have come up with to date in an email to all of us shortly for feedback and suggestions.
  • At the conference we’ll have 7 slots of 1.5 hrs each for training for staff or other interested parties; he said we especially want to target TNAIRS members, like AAADs, that despite being members, never actually come to our meetings.
  • Ron and other board members noted that this conference will be held in conjunction with the TNAIRS Annual Board meeting on the 1st day of the conference on Wednesday, June 24th; he said he hoped all the TNAIRS members or at least all the TNAIRS board members will attend.
  • John noted that on Thursday of the conference there will be a panel on standards and what they mean to us; Doug added that this is not just for 2-1-1s; Ron agreed that it is relevant to all agencies that do I&R.
  • John said there is talk about possible discussion of issues of technical integration and our database options, but we only have one room per slot, so we have to pare down the options.
  • Carole said this sounds good and suggested training for handling crisis calls and more technical assistance to pull in folks not familiar with I&R procedures and telephone skills.
  • Ron agreed and wondered if the Nashville Crisis Center staff might consent to lead a workshop like that. Audrey added that some of the TSPAN network participants might be interested in helping with a workshop like that as well.
  • Carole said she had some materials on Emergency Preparedness for people with disabilities and she would share that link with the board.
  • John said he’ll send us an email with our options; asked about the possibility of having an evening meeting for the TNAIRS Annual Board meeting, but several folks thought that wasn’t feasible; Carole suggested a breakfast instead and John said one of his vendors might be able to foot the bill for that. He agreed that the makeup of the workshops or panels needed to be finalized soon.
  • Audrey noted that this was a great opportunity, because we’ve wanted to have a training workshop for years and now it is finally becoming a reality. She asked John what the cost to TNAIRS is for this; Doug responded that it was no cost to TNAIRS as a group, just for individual vendors.
  • Audrey thanked the board for all doing this work and asked if she understood correctly that information about consolidation of service areas of 2-1-1 was still tentative; John replied that it is moving along; but he has to be careful here because he represents several different agencies involved in the transition.
  • Carole talked about the possibility of a session on cultural competency, particularly in dealing with Spanish clients; Lynn added that he saw a big difference in dealing with rural 2-1-1 clients vs. 2-1-1 clients in urban areas; very different needs and problems and that could be included as well.
  • Ron said he thought he had sent out an email about this earlier, but he hadn’t; he asked John to do so and John said he would do it soon.   Ron talked about the exciting new directions for 2-1-1 coming up as a result of this collaborative conference and all concurred.

Updates to websites – Doug Fluegel

Doug had to leave for another conference call so Audrey discussed this.

  • Doug had suggested that we hire Linda Curty, who also does the TNAFI website, to update our TNAIRS website. She agreed to charge either $25/hr or $20/hr if we buy a block of time for 10 hrs, total $200 upfront.
  • John asked if we had enough in the budget to pay for this and Ron said yes we did; Audrey added that we had allocated money in the budget for the web server fee.
  • John noted that although Linda Curty felt that 10 hrs of work should cover everything we need done for at least a year, he felt that she may be underestimating the amount of work needed to update the website.
  • Audrey asked if anyone had any more input and no one did, so she proposed a vote. Ron seconded the motion. All in attendance voted yes to hire Linda Curty for 10 hours, then review the work and decide whether we will retain her or not in the future.
  • Lynn added that, although he had not talked to his agency’s computer guy, it might be possible next year to have him do this work for free; but that would not happen till next year anyway.

Board Member Resignation

Whitney Griffin is resigning from the board due to taking a new job.

Audrey noted that board members can serve up to 6 years (2 3-year terms). Since both Dwight McPherson’s and Melissa Watts’ terms expire at the next annual meeting, if we appoint new people now they will serve an extra 5 months, which would make them ineligible to serve two 3 yr terms as usual. Our By-laws state that the term of office starts with the annual meeting, officially July 1st, but we could change that.

  • Audrey noted that we currently have 15 people on the board and need a quorum of 8 to take a binding vote; we want a good geographic jurisdiction for good representation, but we don’t have to fill these expired terms necessarily.
  • John asked if we could include these folks we are thinking of inviting to join the board on our conference calls and Audrey told him they were free to do that now. John added that he thought it was very important to include both Marilyn Ramel and Scott Payne on our conference calls. Lynn noted that Marilyn is new in the job but that also her board chairman, Rick, should also sit in on the conference calls; he’s attended our meetings before.
  • Audrey asked the board if they felt there was a good reason to fill these board slots now, or should we just invite these folks to participate in the conference calls (not voting) and then try to convince them we would like to nominate them as board members at the annual meeting?
  • John agreed; Audrey said she felt that Marilyn Ramel is probably feeling cautious about committing to the board at this point. Lynn agreed, saying at this point Marilyn has more questions than answers. He said he would ask Rick if he wanted to join in on conference calls as well. Ron asked Lynn to send us their email addresses and Lynn said he would do that.

I&R Specialist Conference Calls (Audrey)

Audrey noted that initially Doug had suggested that we hold monthly calls with one or more of our respective agencies’ I&R specialists, with a facilitator and recorder like we have in our meetings. We actually missed out on the last schedule for these calls, so she asked the board what they thought might be useful. She felt that a monthly call like this could be good, with topics initially provided to get a dialogue going, then allowing staff members later to direct the calls and to share information about how we all function in this capacity.

  • Carole agreed and offered to help Audrey with this issue, though she noted that her agency is a bit different from 2-1-1s; she suggested perhaps devoting a call to how different I&R agents deal with specific issues or problems in their work. Audrey asked Lisa if she thought this was a good idea and Lisa agreed, particularly with a focus on very specific issues that the call staff have to deal with. Carole noted that this type of networking will be a good way to share what’s going on in other parts of the state and learn coping strategies from each other. Relationships are the key thing with these types of calls. She suggested the possibility of a survey to call staff to see what they want to talk about in these calls.
  • Audrey and Carole agreed to collaborate on putting together a survey for the calls; Audrey noted that it is up to each individual agency as to how they allocate the staff who will participate; she noted that she and Ron want to rotate staff to give everyone a chance to share and participate.
  • John asked if they would use Survey Monkey and inquired about using a separate administration code for managers; Audrey said they may use Survey Monkey; but she emphasized that this is really about getting the surveys out to the frontline staff who man the phones every day, not particularly to the administrative staff. Carole agreed and Audrey noted that her staff is not shy about letting her know whether the survey will be useful or not. Both agreed that the staff should pick the topics for the call.
  • Lynn wanted to know some more about Service Point, but Ron noted that that was a totally different topic and only relevant to 2-1-1 agencies; he felt that since each TNAIRS agency uses a different database that was irrelevant to the topic at hand.
  • Carole noted that sending these surveys out to non-TNAIRS members might be a good opportunity to recruit more members and Ron agreed. Audrey and Carole will work on this and get back to the board with the survey.

Given the time, we agreed to table discussion of these issues until another meeting.
The meeting was adjourned by Lynn at 3:14 CST.

Respectfully submitted,
Lisa Lumb
TNAIRS Secretary