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Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council 
February 17, 2011 

Members Present: Glenda Farnum, Marilyn Burr, Milissa Gofourth, Tim Parrish, Nancy Garner, Letha Bauter, Tammie Jones, Connie Lake, Doug MacMillan Jr., Hailey Mathis, Jacki Millspaugh, Mike O’Brien, Amy Salmon, Perry Sanders, and Sue Williams.

Members Absent: Cindy Gallup, excused; Sterling Krysler, excused; Sabrina Ware, excused, Jon Ringlero.

Associate Members Present: Melinda Fruendt, Jean Jones, and Kim Osmani.

Others Present: Mark Kinnison, DVR Administrator; Jane Nelson, DVS Administrator; Lori Estep, DVR Field Coordinator; Greg DeMartra, DVS Field Coordinator; Goli Dunkle, MSD Administrator; David Butcher, DVS Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist; Lindsey Bottom, Student; Larry Hartzell, Program Field Representative; Tonya Puryear,  Interpreter; Hazel Lucas, 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 9:40 a.m. - The roll was called and a quorum established.

Consumer Comments/Announcements:

  • Glenda Farnum – The Central Oklahoma Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind is sponsoring a chili supper next weekend in Edmond. 
  • Doug MacMillan – There is a disability job fair coming up at Tinker with 20 or 30 employers participating.
  • Amy Salmon – Hadley School is rolling out an entire series of courses geared toward employment. The program is called the Center for Entrepreneurial Development.

Action Items:

November 18, 2010 ORC Quarterly Meeting Minutes: Copies were provided in the February, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

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


DRS Partnership with VA – David Butcher, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist

Mr. Butcher reviewed the highlights of his position as the Veterans Outreach Coordinator for DRS.  He will provide a copy to Theresa Hamrick, and she will distribute electronically. 

  • Mr. Butcher has spent the past 15 months building relationships with the Veterans Administration (VA) and with Workforce.
  • He has not had time to work with VA community groups, but hopes to in the future.

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

ORC Executive Committee Report – Glenda Farnum, Chair

Ms. Farnum reviewed the written ORC Executive Committee Report.

Transition & Employment (T&E) – Nancy Garner, Committee Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • This is the longest time in agency history that none of the priority groups have been closed. 
  • Oklahoma is one of the top five (5) in the country in expended stimulus dollars.   
  • The agency is working to fill the positions of OSB and OSD Superintendent, DVS Administrator, and the Chief of Staff. These positions are difficult to fill because people are not accepting the wages the agency can offer. As an organization there is a lot of leadership that will be retiring so this problem will have to be resolved in the next year.
  • A lot of money is being spent on leadership training programs, and they have several people involved in the national executive leadership training program.
  • The DRS WINGS program is an earlier development stage for leadership.  
  • The Rehabilitation Act may come up in committee this spring. There is discussion about transition being moved to age 14 instead of 16, and of exempting transition from order of selection.  
  • The President’s budget proposal this week has again proposed to get rid of the funding for projects with industry, supported employment, and migrant farm worker programs.
  • Senator Coburn considers the master degree rehabilitation programs in the country a misappropriation of funds. Coburn published a 90 page report on programs he thinks are inappropriate public expenditures. In the addendum it is proposing that all employment programs be moved into a single program. In addition, there are earmarks to do away with programs like the Indian Vocational Rehabilitation, Supported Employment, and a number of key programs and partners that the agency works with along the way.
  • There is talk of consolidation. There has not been talk about consolidating DRS with anyone yet. There has been talk of bringing the Office of Disability Concerns into DRS, and that is a problem since it violates federal law.
  • HB1535 proposed to get rid of the Commissioners of Rehabilitation and to do away with our ability to fund ourselves. DRS met with the representative on Monday, there was a misunderstanding and it has gone away.
  • There are bills where the intention is to get rid of commissions across the state, or to change it to where existing commissions are at the will of the Governor, and to also make agency directors at the will of the Governor, and make them appointments of the Governor.
  • A number of bills will try to make significant changes in retirement programs, health insurance, and whether or not state employees get raises.
  • The Governor’s budget proposes a three (3) percent cut for DRS, where they proposed five (5) percent for everyone else. A three (3) percent cut that will mean a certain amount of loss to each of the two schools, and will have a dramatic effect on the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (OLBPH). From a VR prospective, it would probably mean a loss of somewhere between $2.5M and $2.7M federal dollars and about $500K or $600K state dollars for a combined loss to VR & VS of around $3M. Then, two (2) years from now there would be a MOU penalty of somewhere between and $500K & $600K, so the combined loss over two years would be about $3.6M or $3.7M if it stays at the three (3)  percent.  
  • You will see an attack on Randolph Sheppard this year federally and in the state. There is legislation in state to take away the vending facility at the capitol and privately award it.

Division of Visual Service (DVS) Division Report – Jane Nelson, DVS Administrator

  • Ms. Nelson announced her retirement effective May 1, 2011.
  • Greg DeMartra has been selected to the position of DVS Field Services Coordinator.
  • They met with AgrAbility and hopefully will be making some changes that will make the process easier for counselors. 
  • Jane Nelson and Mark Kinnison are working together to complete the online application.
  • One of the main budget concerns in Visual Services is the OLBPH.
  • A bid for the AIM Center was prepared and presented.

Presentation– On behalf of the ORC, Chair Glenda Farnum presented Ms. Nelson with an engraved clock and thanked her for her many years of dedicated service to the department. 


            Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Report – Mark Kinnison, DVR Administrator

  • Progress is being made in DVR regarding cases in past due eligibility status. The problems are primarily concentrated in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas, and they have taken an active approach in trying to develop plans to stay on top of this. 
  • DVR is working to fill vacant positions that have been difficult to fill. They are looking at positions as they become vacant to determine where they would be the most productive.
  • There are plans to expand the Hispanic Outreach Unit, and a goal to increase their client base by about 40 percent this year.
  • Lynda Collins has been contracted to do caseload management training.
  • A group is going to NRA in Washington DC next month and plan to visit with legislators, and a group is going to CSAVR in April to do the same thing.
  • The Tulsa counselors had been assigned cases alphabetically, that has been changed and now cases are assigned by zip code like the rest of the state.

Combined VR/VS Field Coordinator Report - Lori Estep, DVR Field Services Coordinator

            The DVR and DVS Field Coordinator Reports are both available as is a combined DVR/DVS Field Coordinator Report in the February, 2011 ORC meeting packet. Ms. Estep reviewed the Combined DVR/DVS Report.

Legislative Report – Jean Jones, DRS Legislative Information Officer

  • HB1541 proposes to put the Office of Disability Concerns under DRS.
  • There are proposals regarding our state purchasing and competitive bidding systems, with continued emphasis on consolidating information technology roles among state agencies into one entity.
  • Bills propose to put the Human Rights Commission into the Attorney Generals Office.
  • Proposals to privatize state agency public relations requiring agencies to contract out.
  • Legislation that seeks to privatize many DHS programs including developmental disability services, aging services, and child welfare.
  • SB831 and HB1453 seek to establish a formalized structure of interpreter certification.
  • Accessible parking bill that appears to require that every city have at least one accessible parking place.
  • Bills seeking to exempt purchasing hearing aids from state sales tax.
  • SB836 and SB837 deal with anti-discrimination protection in areas of employment for people with disabilities.
  • HB2014, the Adults with Disabilities Employment Act.
  • There is a significant piece of legislation for OSB and OSD that would characterize them as school districts for the purpose of receiving aid from the state’s aid formula for students that attend those schools.

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

  • T­he SILC has completed the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) Report. 
  • They had a guest speaker from the Aging Disability Resource Center (ADRC). ADRC deals with long-term care, keeping people in their homes, getting them from the nursing homes and back into their homes.

Program Manager Report - Theresa Hamrick: Ms. Hamrick reviewed the written Program Manager’s report provided in the February, 2011 ORC meeting packet.

Other Business 

  • Discussed changing the meeting dates to accommodate Dr. O’Brien. Will get suggested dates, and the council will vote at the next regular or strategic planning meeting.  
  • Annual Report – The Annual Report is out and copies are on the table. 
  • The Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center has been invited to present at one of the ORC Quarterly Meetings, hopefully in May or August.
  • Disability Awareness Day is April 5, 2011 at the State Capitol.
  • AgrAbility Day is March 28, 2011 at the State Capitol from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

New Business:


Closing Announcements:

Amy Salmon – Hadley is conducting a webinar on Office 2010 on March 29, 2011. Amy can get us signed up for Hadley’s e-Newsletter. They have been doing a lot of seminars on employment, the seminars are all free, and some offer CEU hours for professionals.

Adjournment:   1:25 p.m.