Policies Committee

Committee News

Policy Report :: June 2013

By Michael Keller, Policy Chair

On April 6, 2013, the MCB Board of Directors, at their spring Board meeting in St. Louis, adopted two new guidelines and approved the amended Convention and Coordinator Committee guidelines. The two new guidelines are for The MCB Low Vision Committee and the Education and Welfare Committee. The policies are below.

LOW VISION COMMITTEE GUIDELINES

Mission Statement

To provide education, resource information and peer guidance to people with low vision throughout Missouri.

The Committee will consist of a Chair and three other members.

The Committee will compile, maintain and provide a master resource list for people with low vision and copies of this list will be kept in the MCB office and at the Thrift Store.

Request for the resource list from the Low Vision committee will be referred to the MCB office and distribution will be handled by MCB staff.

The Low Vision committee may provide concurrent workshops during the MCB convention. The purpose of these workshops will be to address topics such as the latest advancements in research and latest technological developments in the field.

When possible, a doctor specializing in low vision will be asked to give a presentation to the full convention.

Before the committee submits Public Relations information to the media, the committee Chair must have approval of the information either from the President or the Executive Director.

The Low Vision Committee will submit an article, when needed or appropriate, to the Missouri Chronicle.

Approved by the MCB Board on April 6, 2013

EDUCATION AND WELFARE COMMITTEE POLICY

From the Bylaws:

Section 7.

Education and Welfare Committee: There shall be an Education and Welfare Committee to keep the membership informed of pending legislation affecting legally blind persons. The Committee shall be comprised of a legally blind delegate from each Regular Affiliate, elected by the affiliate, in the odd numbered years and for a two-year term. The Committee shall elect one of its members to serve as Chairman. The Committee shall also elect a Vice Chairman to serve as Chairman should the chairmanship become vacant. If the Chairman and Vice Chairman positions are both vacated the President shall appoint an individual, with the approval of the Board, to fill the position of Chairman until the next convention.

The Education and Welfare Committee must follow the “MCB External Communication Policy.”

Members of the Education and Welfare Committee may serve two (2) consecutive terms.

In order to be eligible to serve as the Chair or Vice Chair of the “Education and Welfare Committee,” an individual must be willing to attend the “Legislative Educational Project” in Jefferson City, Missouri. They must also have access to the internet and have a good working knowledge in the use of email.

In order to be eligible to serve as a member of the Education and Welfare committee an individual must have prior experience by serving on one other MCB committee.

The President shall determine the number of persons that will attend the ACB Legislative seminar in Washington D.C.

The Education and Welfare Chair may recommend individuals to attend the National Legislative Days in Washington D.C. but they must be approved by the President.

The Education and Welfare Committee members may have a Legislative Day in Jefferson City.

Members traveling on MCB funds who have prepaid transportation tickets or hotel reservations and they are prepaid for one night must reimburse MCB if they do not attend an event.

The Chair or a person appointed by the Chair must investigate bills before they are presented to the committee. For example, review the full text of the bill, why was the bill submitted, who requested the bill does the bill have a negative or positive effect on people who are blind.

Does the bill have any effect on statute 208 or 209?

Chapter 208

Old Age Assistance, Aid to Dependent Children and General Relief.

Chapter 209

Aid to the Blind - Rights of Persons with Visual, Hearing or Physical Disabilities.

Adopted by the MCB Board April 6, 2013

CONVENTION GUIDELINES, COORDINATOR AND HOST DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following is from the Bylaws. “There shall be a Convention Committee consisting of the President, the Executive Director, the Public Relations Chairman, and two other members to be appointed by the President. This committee shall work with the host affiliate to make arrangements for conducting the convention.”

INTRODUCTION

Definition of the Committee

The committee shall consist of the President, Executive Director, Public Relations Chair, the Coordinator who shall be the Chair and a member from the Host affiliate. There may be times when two or more affiliates may want to host a convention, and then each affiliate may have a representative on the committee.

Duties and responsibilities of both the Host Affiliate (hereafter known as the Host) and The Missouri Council of the Blind Convention Coordinator (hereafter known as the Coordinator) should be considered and discussed carefully by the Host and Coordinator before making a formal bid for an annual convention. Major duties and responsibilities are discussed by specific topic below in these guidelines.

Final convention bids are presented to and decided by the Missouri Council of the Blind Convention as a whole. This process will ensure the best chances for success both in the developmental process and the convention itself.

The duties and responsibilities outlined below include the major issues that are the responsibility of the selected Host along with those of the Coordinator, but do not constitute a total list of all of the duties involved.

INITIAL HOTEL ARRANGEMENTS

The Host and the Coordinator select a hotel that meets the following criteria:

ADA compliant

Has an adequate number of sleeping rooms to accommodate reasonable attendee expectations.

Restaurant facilities adequate to allow participants to eat in the hotel.

Areas that will lend themselves to adequate guide dog relief accommodations.

Meeting rooms and banquet facilities to accommodate all convention activities.

A review of the hotel is to be completed by a Blind person (President and/or Executive Director) the Convention Coordinator, and a sighted person. The Coordinator will develop a set of minimum square footage guidelines to help the Host and hotel make optimal room selections for all convention functions. Since the office has statistics on past conventions, the above information and the contract should be reviewed by the President, Executive Director and the Treasurer, and then signed by the President and Treasurer.

REGISTRATION

The hours that the registration desk is open and the staffing of the registration table are determined by the MCB Treasurer and the Convention Coordinator to provide ample opportunity for those arriving to register. All money from the registration process is submitted to the MCB Treasurer. If the treasurer is not available, there must be a bonded MCB representative at the registration table. In addition to managing registration details, the registration desk will distribute convention agendas, various literature and items of interest to the convention attendees.

The MCB Office is responsible to provide banquet tickets and name badges for convention attendees. Banquet tickets are to be identifiable by touch and the name tags shall have a method of identifying those members authorized to vote. Only those members in good standing are eligible to vote during the elections or any other time that a ballot vote is taken by the convention.

The MCB Office will provide a list of MCB affiliate members in good standing and current members at large as a resource during convention to determine voter eligibility.

If there is a dispute or omission on the list, any Officer of the affiliate may verify to the Credential Chair that the individual in question is a member in good standing. The MCB Office shall also provide a list of the elected Officers and Directors, Board Representatives, Committee Chairs and guests for which MCB will provide the registration and banquet tickets.

The Host will provide volunteers at the registration table to help assist registering convention attendees. Care must be taken by the person in charge of the registration desk that cash, checks and credit cards be handled appropriately when the MCB Treasurer cannot be present.

If there are to be drawings or door prizes, someone at the registration desk will place the name of each person that is registered on the ticket to be used, unless another method is devised by the Host for the distribution of door prizes or other drawings.

The Host is also responsible to have someone available at the registration desk to welcome individuals arriving and answer questions such as those concerning local places of interest, shopping available, restaurants and eating establishments along with their location in relation to the location of the hotel.

The Host will receive a check from the MCB Treasurer in an amount equal to the registration fees collected. The check shall be sent within thirty days after the close of the convention to the host.

THE PRE CONVENTION BOARD MEETING

The Coordinator will arrange for a Board meeting on Thursday afternoon at the direction of the president.

The Presidents of Special Affiliates are to communicate their meal requirements to the Coordinator. The Coordinator is responsible to ensure that all meals are included on MCB’s final accounting documents for the convention. The Coordinator will set the due date for receiving meal requirements which can differ from hotel to hotel. The president of each Special affiliate will select the menu for their affiliate function directly with the hotel prior to the convention and are responsible for all costs whether paid to the hotel directly or to MCB after the close of the convention. Where possible, affiliates are expected to pay their meal costs directly to the hotel at the time of the convention. Should this not be possible, the affiliate must reimburse MCB for all meal costs within thirty days after the close of the convention.

THE PRESIDENT'S LUNCHEON

At the direction of the MCB president, the Coordinator will arrange for the President's Luncheon.

HOSPITALITY ROOM

The MCB Board may choose to have a Friday Evening Hospitality Event. The Board will decide if this event will be a social hour with refreshments and snacks or a light dinner. The Board may receive suggestions from the Host and/or the coordinator. MCB is responsible for all expenses incurred in this activity.

MCB BANQUET

It is the responsibility of the Host, along with the Coordinator, to plan the banquet menu and set the price. Banquet tickets are provided through the registration desk during the registration process or at a later time to those registered at the convention.

NOTE: The Host should consider the cost of the meal, printing of tickets, decorations, any favors if given, gratuities and any service charge, as well as the possibility of not meeting the number of meals guaranteed in setting the price of the tickets and provide for this in the cost of the tickets.

The Coordinator will contact the Executive Director for past numbers for banquet meals. The Host should be conservative in making a guarantee on attendees expected for the banquet, because many times the number of meals can be increased much easier than convincing the hotel to drop the number of meals that you have already guaranteed. MCB will be responsible for any charges incurred due to a lack in the meal guarantee.

The Host selects the master of ceremonies and Banquet speaker.

MEETINGS

The Coordinator will arrange for the following committees to meet during the convention:

Education & Welfare

Public Relations

Bylaws/Resolutions

Any others as directed by the president.

ENTERTAINMENT

The Host chooses the entertainment to be provided, and when entertainment is provided, the host is responsible for all expenses incurred.

CRAFT ROOM

The Host can provide a craft room at its discretion. If a craft room is provided, the Host must appoint someone the responsibility of collecting the money for items sold in the room. A monitor must be in the room anytime it is open. Any MCB member or MCB affiliate may submit craft items for sale and receive the money for those items sold. Anyone placing items in the craft room for sale must provide the monitor from the Host a list of the items as well as keep a list for themselves. All items should be priced ahead of time and no Host shall be responsible for the loss, theft, breakage or damage of items placed for sale or display.

EXHIBIT ROOM

If possible, there will be an exhibit room to display and demonstrate adaptive technology items which are available for use by blind and low vision individuals. The Adaptive Technology Inc, Special Interest Affiliate is responsible to arrange for this display. A fee may be charged each exhibitor to be determined by the Coordinator, President of MCB and Executive Director of MCB.

DOOR PRIZES

The MCB as well as many affiliates, special interest affiliates and local businesses have in the past donated gifts as door prizes. The host shall collect and distribute these door prizes at the President's direction. Keep in mind the time allotted for door prizes may be limited.

CHURCH SERVICES

On Saturday evening and/or Sunday morning, there are church services available for those of the Catholic and Protestant faith. The coordinator shall be responsible for arranging an area and time for the services. The Host is responsible to arrange for the persons officiating at these services. The Host shall also have persons available to do the invocations and benedictions at the meetings and the banquet.

PUBLIC RELATIONS

All public relations, press releases and advertisements, shall be approved by the President or Executive Director and are handled through the MCB Public Relations Chairperson, the Host and the Coordinator.

The MCB Public Relations Chairperson shall be responsible to see that the MCB Banner is placed in front of the convention hall behind the president if possible at all official convention sessions.

HONORED GUESTS

Any special guests such as an ACB representative are to be invited by the president and MCB is responsible for the expenses and introductions of any such guests. Any local dignitaries are invited by the Host. The Host is responsible for their guest's expenses and introductions. Both the president and the Host will communicate their decisions about guests to the Coordinator.

PLANNING

The Coordinator shall have available the number registered, number of rooms used, and number of banquet meals served from the previous conventions as a resource for planning future conventions. These numbers are readily available from the MCB office.

RESOURCES AND SUGGESTIONS

YOUR MEMBERS - try to get as many people as possible from your affiliate involved in the planning and work required for your convention. The more input and assistance you have, the better your networking capabilities will be with your community and the membership as a whole.

THE MCB CONVENTION COORDINATOR - can be helpful with ideas and suggestions that were successful as well as those which were not. The Coordinator will maintain checklists and files that will be useful and may make your job easier.

LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU - if you approach them, they may be able to provide literature and/or assistance in your convention plans, along with other help (i.e. lists of local entertainment available, and/or community resources).

HOTEL SALES STAFF - since they work with conventions and large meetings, they may have suggestions or ideas that will assist you as well as making the various areas of the building more accessible to your group, and their expertise in planning meals and calculating the needs of your convention will be valuable.

THE MOST IMPORTANT - get a copy of the agenda from the previous year. This will change for each convention but makes an excellent map to find your way and to plan your convention. It will ensure that nothing important is left out, and give you a model with which you can make your plans.

Approved by the MCB Board April 6, 2013

NEW POLICIES APPROVED BY THE MCB BOARD AT OCTOBER MEETING :: December 2012

By MCB Policy Committee

The MCB Board phone conference call on November 15, 2010 established the Policy Committee. There shall be a Chair appointed by the President with the approval of the Board.  The committee shall consist of a Chair and three other MCB members approved by the President.

The Policy committee shall review current Board policies and committee guidelines for updates that might be needed.  If there are updates needed for committee guidelines, the Policy committee will invite the committee Chair to help write the update.

The Policy committee will formulate new Board policies and committee guidelines when called upon to do so by the President or any member of MCB.

The Board must approve all work by the Policy committee.

Approved by the MCB Board October 4, 2012

MCB Board Members and Committee Chairpersons Responsibilities

Board President Job Description

Is a member of the Board

Serves as the chief volunteer of the organization

Is a partner with the Executive Director in achieving the organization's mission

Provides leadership to the Board of Directors, who sets policy and to whom the Executive Director is accountable

Chairs meetings of the Board after developing the agenda with the Executive Director and Board members

Encourages Board's role in strategic planning

Appoints the chairpersons of committees, unless otherwise specified in the bylaws, with approval of the Board

Appoints additional members of some committees with or without Board approval as prescribed in the bylaws or authorized by the Board

Serves ex officio as a member of committees and attends their meetings

Discusses issues confronting the organization with the Executive Director

Helps guide and mediate Board actions with respect to organizational priorities and governance concerns

Reviews with the Executive Director any issues of concern to the Board

Monitors expenses to remain within budget

Monitors financial planning and financial reports

Plays a leading role in fundraising activities

Formally evaluates the performance of the Executive Director and informally evaluates the effectiveness of the Board members

Evaluates annually the performance of the organization in achieving its mission

Is sufficiently familiar with legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to note applicability during meetings

Visits each affiliate once during each term

Performs other responsibilities assigned by the Board

First Vice President Job Description

This position is successor to the President’s position.

Is a member of the Board

Performs President’s responsibilities when the President cannot be available

Reports to the President

Works closely with the President and staff

Participates closely with the President to develop and implement officer transition plans

Performs other responsibilities as assigned by the Board

Second Vice President Job Description

Is a member of the Board

Performs President’s responsibilities when the President or First Vice President cannot be available

Reports to the President
Works closely with the President

Secretary Job Description

Is a member of the Board

Maintains records of the Board and ensures effective management of those records through the end of the Secretary's term

Manages minutes of Board meetings

Ensures minutes are distributed to Board members within 30 days after each meeting

Has available as needed legal documents (articles, by-laws, IRS letters, etc.) to note applicability during meetings


Treasurer Job Description

Is a member of the Board

Manages finances of the organization

Administers fiscal matters of the organization

Provides annual budget to the Board for members' approval

Monitors expenses to remain within budget

Ensures development and Board review of financial policies and procedures

Committee Chair Job Description

Sets tone for the committee work

Ensures that members have the information needed to do their jobs

Oversees the logistics of committee's operations

Monitors expenses to remain within budget

Reports to the President

Reports to the full Board on committee's decisions/recommendations as appropriate and to the membership at the annual convention

Works closely with the Executive Director and other staff as agreed to by the Executive Director

Assigns work to the committee members, sets the agenda and runs the meetings, and ensures distribution of meeting reports

Board Member Job Description

Regularly attends Board meetings and important related meetings

Makes serious commitment to participate actively in committee work

Volunteers for and willingly accepts assignments and completes them thoroughly and on time

Stays informed about committee matters, prepares themselves well for meetings, and reviews and comments on minutes and reports

Gets to know other Board members and builds a collegial working relationship that contributes to consensus

Promotes fundraising for the organization

Approved by the MCB Board October 4, 2012

MCB Board Adopts Three Policies :: June 2012

By Michael Keller, Policies’ Chair

At the Spring meeting held on April 14 in Jefferson City, the Missouri Council of the Blind Board of Directors adopted two new and one amended policy. The new policies are for the Youth Services, and First Timers. The amended policy is for the Membership committee. Please see below for each policy. A form to be submitted for youth services was reviewed and adopted but is not included here because it is only a blank form.

Finally, I would like to thank the members of the MCB Policies committee: Shirley Brokaw, Janelle Edwards and Beverly Kaskadden.

Membership Committee Guidelines

The purpose of the Membership Committee is to increase the Membership of the Missouri Council of the blind by:

Working hand-in-hand with the affiliates to help them to learn how to approach the blind in their community.

Working with the various state agencies including RSB, schools; both secondary and higher education, and other local outlets (i.e. doctor’s offices, senior centers, etc.) to reach out to blind Missourians.

Working with the Public Relations Committee to help spread the name of MCB across Missouri.

Working with the Youth Services Committee to attract younger members.

The Membership committee will be in charge of the First Timers program at the annual MCB state convention. Refer to the First Timers guidelines.

Working with our parent organization to maximize various ideas proven in other states to increase membership.

First-Timer Program Guidelines

The MCB First-Timer Program exists to make it possible for young adults who have not previously attended an MCB Convention to do so in order to give them the opportunity to learn about the resources and technology available to legally blind residents of Missouri, to meet other visually-impaired individuals, and to encourage them to get involved, or to increase their involvement in MCB.

The First-Timer Program is an initiative of the Membership Committee, and while they may seek assistance from outside their committee, it is their responsibility to organize and execute the program each year.

The Membership Committee will seek First-Timer nominees by distributing applications for the program throughout the state each January.

First-Timers must be legally blind, between 18 and 50 years of age, and they must have not previously attended an MCB convention.

The Membership Committee will select up to four First-Timers to attend the upcoming convention, (along with two runners-up in case one of the chosen First-Timers has a conflict).

The Membership Committee will provide three nights lodging for each First-Timer, as well as transportation to and from the convention, and seven meals; three meals Friday, two meals Saturday plus the banquet, and one meal Sunday.

The members of the Membership Committee, and/or individuals appointed by the committee, are to act as ambassadors to the First-Timers during their time at convention. There cannot be more than two First-Timers assigned to each ambassador. This responsibility includes answering the First-Timer’s questions, introducing her or him to MCB members, providing guidance around the hotel, and teaching the First-Timer about MCB.

Youth Services Guidelines

Through the Youth Services program, the Missouri Council of the Blind assists youth, parents, guardians and teachers by helping children who are legally blind through their senior year in high school. The committee does this by providing information and purchasing educational items to give equal opportunity to each participant.

Purchased items must be adapted for legally blind children.

A Youth Service application must be filled out and all questions answered. An application must be filled out for each applicant.

The application shall then be sent to the Missouri Council of the Blind office.

The pertinent information shall then be sent to the Youth Services committee for their consideration.

An applicant may not receive grants for more than $200.00 per year.

The Chair shall seek out the lowest price for items to be purchased.

Purchases shall be paid by a Missouri Council of the Blind check payable to the applicable vendor(s). The check shall then be mailed to the applicant, who shall mail the check and any additional money to the vendor.

An eye report from a doctor or from an organization such as the St. Louis Society for the Blind or Delta Gamma must be attached to the application.

The Youth Services committee shall consist of a Chair and two other members appointed by the President.