PCPID Quarterly Meeting: September 26–27, 2011
President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)
- Announcements, Meeting Announcements, Publication (Documents and Resources), Meeting Minutes
- Meeting Minutes, Meeting Announcement
Day Two, September 27, 2011
Call to Order
James T. Brett, Chair
The June 17, 2011 meeting was called to order by Chairman Brett who welcomed the Committee members. He turned the meeting over to Cathy Ficker-Terrill, the facilitator of the Committee Meeting.
Overview and Framework for Discussion Leading to Development of Report to the President
Cathy Ficker-Terrill, CEO, the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities
Ms. Ficker-Terrill started her presentation by stating that she believes the PCPID report is not just a report to the President, but to Congress, the nation, and states. It is also a report to people locally, and it is a report that will be read internationally. The PCPID audience is multigenerational. Ms. Ficker-Terrill conducted a comprehensive brainstorming exercise, which involved all of the PCPID Committee members. She then summarized the opportunities and risks addressed by the members under each priority area.
(The comprehensive report prepared by Dr. Ficker-Terrill is cited in a separate summary at the end of the transcript.)
Chairman Brett thanked Sue Swenson for coming and asked if she would be interested in helping the Committee on the education portion. Ms. Swenson nodded affirmatively. Gary Blumenthal expressed concern regarding the timeframe in which the Report to the President could go through the clearance process. Dr. Spitalnik inquired if PCPID could count on Deputy Assistant Secretary Swenson for help with clearance, which was better than writing. Ms. Swenson agreed to help with clearance, but stated that it will be a long-term process. Committee members then asked Laverdia Roach about the shortest timeframe that she could have cleared the reports in the past. Laverdia responded, six weeks. Dr. Quirk stated that she was concerned that the Committee had been operating for the last two days with the idea that they were writing a report within two weeks. However, based on from the timeframe that Laverdia shared, it is not realistic to expect to produce such a document before the Super Committee has to make a decision. Ms. Roach responded that she did not know the degree to which the ADD Commissioner could facilitate the movement of the report. She reiterated that historically, the report was not cleared in less than six weeks because of the process; it was unlikely that the report will be cleared in two weeks. Cathy Ficker-Terrill thought the Committee could take some of this information and cull it into a letter from the Chair, identifying the highlights and key points. Laverdia Roach responded that the Committee has done it in the past, and sometimes it was a position paper or a letter. Carol Quirk suggested, because of the overlap in risks, opportunities, and values that the Committee develop a policy paper that would go from the committee or from the Chairman to whomever they selected. Laverdia Roach responded that it went to the Commissioner. Carol Quirk remarked that this would make it shorter. She noted that the Committee could identify the five areas, core values, and common areas that cut across each. They would produce a more extensive report that detailed data demonstrating the actual impact with personal stories.
Committee could produce data and personal stories accompanying each category, and have two documents, one shorter and an actual report later in 2011, just not done in the next two weeks.
Sue Swenson had a question of process. She noted that, as Chair of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research, she knew that her Committee had multiple departments. As such, the clearance process always involved getting clearance from each the federal partner.
Laverdia nodded agreement, noting that PCPID would need clearance from all of its 13 federal partners. According to Sue Swenson, that process could take a year. Carol Quirk again suggested that, for this reason, they should send a letter and put together the 2011 report later. In agreement with Carol Quirk, Mark Gross suggested that Chairman James Brett should select five members to write the report. The five will write a few paragraphs, on each of these areas, send them to Jim, and circulate to the Members. He thought it was the Chairman's prerogative to turn it into a letter from the Chairman to the JSC or whomever he chose and put together a longer, more thorough report later. The last two days’ information could be turned into long-range plans for the 2012 report. Carol Wheeler agreed with Mark and Carol Quirk but suggested including stories as an attachment. There was additional discussion on timing of the submissions and whether is should be called a letter or a report.
Dr. Spitalnik asked if the Chair could find out if Commissioner Lewis was on board with the letter. Work needs to be done quickly, and then the decision needed to be made whether the resulting document should be called a report or policy paper. The document's real power in, this situation, is making the recommendations and raising the issues. Peter concurred with Carol. He asserted that the outline already produced worked for a letter or a report, no matter what it was called, the content was the same.
After lengthy discussion, Mark Gross made the motion to draft a letter, based on the input the Chair received from the Committee on the five principles, and to send the letter out. Liz Weintraub seconded the motion. Chairman Brett asked all in favor, all responded aye, and the motion was unanimously passed.
Sue Swenson warned that, if the Committee sent it to Congress, not to sign any federal officers because they cannot write to Congress, without clearing it with their agencies’ government affairs office.
Dr. Spitalnik noted that people had worked very hard and it was important to leave feeling that they had accomplished something. Liz tagged on to Deborah's point, stating that, as a self-advocate, she was reassured that so many people in the government in major departments were advocating for them.
Dr. White-Scott expressed her gratitude to Cathy Ficker-Terrill, in terms of facilitating a group. She efforts were helpful in ensuring that everyone's voice was heard. She noted, whether it was the letter or not, that the Committee should look at alternative mechanisms to distribute the document because the written part was not as powerful as Facebook or YouTube, per Cathy's suggestion.
Mark Gross recommended that, after Jim's letter went out, it was going to be a great advocacy piece for the Committee to use in other venues. Once it was made public, sent to Congress, it could be used by any of the Members in any other venue and should be. He suggested that local, state, and federal representatives would help circulating it that way.
Chairman Brett updated Commissioner Sharon Lewis on the Committee's decision to send a letter on the five principles, as opposed to an actual 2011 report due to time constraints with the decisions being made by the JSC and deficit reduction personnel. He noted that Sue Swenson indicated her interest in helping in the education portion. A draft letter would be developed, to be sent to those members in the next two weeks. Additionally, the 2011 report would be written later in the year to expand on everything heard in the meeting and be a more meaningful and in-depth.
Commissioner Lewis joined the meeting and apologized from the members for being in and out of the meeting.
A lengthy discussion ensued between the Commissioner and the Committee regarding the following issues: the use of a letter versus a report, the sign-off and clearance process, the necessity of voting on the content of the letter, FACA Committee rules and voting on the letter, whether the Chair was signing it with Citizen Members only, the option for Ex officio Members to abstain from voting, if there was a downside to Ex-officio Members abstaining, and how the vote would be taken. Commissioner Lewis agreed that the committee could send a letter.
Sharon Lewis noted that voting on the content of the letter was necessary. The letter will have to be approved to go out on PCPID letterhead from the committee. Each federal member will then have to determine their course of action in voting on the letter, consistent with their agency's counsel.
Five volunteers will submit their inputs on the five principles to the Chair for the purpose of producing a persuasive letter. Then, the Chair will convene a conference call of the Committee members to approve the letter. Federal officials will abstain at this time, if they choose to do so Otherwise, they will present the letter to be approved.
Commissioner Lewis stated that the Committee could not require the letter to go through clearance prior to the committee voting upon it. As a FACA Committee, PCPID has a right to bring a document forward, take a vote, and each federal official must determine their course of action in either voting yes, no, or abstaining on such a document. If you have an adequate number of members who voted yes on such a document, then you can put the document forward.
Sharon Lewis said she would check with counsel on whether they could produce a letter that was on behalf of the Chair and the Citizen members of the Committee, but thought they would have a hard time with this, since there was an open deliberation of excluding ex-officio members from a vote.
Commissioner Lewis stated that there was not a downside to the federal officials abstaining as long as the Committee votes with a minimum of the quorum, and has a majority that wins the vote.
Chairman Brett asked Peter if he would be willing to serve as a chair of this working group and use his outline as a guide. Sharon Lewis said staff will help support the drafting process in whatever way needed. Liz Weintraub offered to help with the draft.Sharon Lewis reported that she would work on getting some clarity in terms of whether or not that the federal members do not participate in the support of the letter. She thought the Committee would have to give them the opportunity to either oppose, support or abstain.
The Commissioner said, what will happened is that the letter will go forward, and even though federal officials abstained, it will be a letter from the Committee at large that it does not say who opposed it. The Committee had to have a quorum, or not.
Jim Brett stated he would like to entertain a motion that they adjourn. Liz Weintraub made the motion, and Mr. Brett asked for a Second. Micki Edelsohn seconded it, and the motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Brett announced that their public meeting was adjourned.