Treasurer Billieanne McLellan
Member-at-Large LaVona Andrew

Board Meeting Day 4

Hello. This week has included a tremendous amount of focused work that lays the foundation for our future. Taking the culmination of all the reports, assessments, information and feedback that we have received within the last year, this week has been a productive step forward in laying a strong foundation for the continued work and vision of the RID community.

Deaf Member-at-Large Ritchie Bryant started our day with a focus of our power and privilege training on vidism and LGBTI. The Board discussed what we can do to work with the DeafBlind community and how we can be a good allies to the LGBTI community. Once again, Ritchie got our minds set toward thinking about the global perspective and impact of our work. We can’t express enough how vital these daily trainings are for us as we think about our mission, vision, diversity statement and commitment to our 4Rs – respect, roots, relevance and results.

Much of the agenda today focused on financials and the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Our FY17 runs from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. This discussion is essential to the future solvency and strength of RID. FY17 will be the first year in which we shift from the deficit spending approach to the zero based budget approach. This makes us accountable for every dollar within the same fiscal year and alleviates our past dependency on future dollars to save us when we overspend.

As we have reported since last summer, this has put RID in a place where essentially, the rubber meets the road. We can no longer continue to spend without an adjustment to expenses. For far too long, we have tried to be all things to all people and the budget has stretched itself to a fraying thread. Thus, this fiscal year is a crucial moment in our organization’s history for our fiscal strength moving forward. This means a much more conservative budget than has ever been presented before the Board. This means cuts and a realization that FY17 will be a very lean year. This takes time to sort through as far as funded priorities and projects. The Board will continue to review the FY17 budget and will discuss it again during the April 21, 2016 meeting. This additional time to consider all aspects of this budget is needed to keep us on point for our goal of fiscal health into the future and long-term solvency and relevancy to our members, the profession, and the community we serve.

During the extended financial discussion, the Board did approve the FY17 budget for the set-up and establishment of the LLC. This will provide the necessary steps forward for not only the set-up of the LLC but also the transfer of all testing assets from RID to the LLC and then movement with test development and maintenance for the CDI and NIC. As with many of the decisions this week from the Board meeting, more information will be provided in the form of FAQs in the coming week.

The Board also dedicated some time to move the 2017 conference forward by giving the Interim Executive Director and HQ the go-ahead to progress with conference planning. To legitimize this further, the Board also gave HQ the authorization to move forward with contract negotiations related to the 2017 conference.  HQ will be seeking guidance on the Board’s vision for leadership training to ensure the program encompasses the Board’s priority of investment into the future of the leadership of the organization. More exciting news to come from RID as the planning progresses for a 2017 conference in Region V. We don’t have a city to announce just yet, but we hope to do that very soon!

The Board then focused on another in-depth and heavy discussion about our role as an organization in protecting consumers from those interpreters with felony convictions. After much feedback and concern from the community with regards to convicted felons retaining certification, the Board considered a policy that would address this matter within the Ethical Practices System. After much discussion and consideration, the Board unanimously approved the inclusion of the felony policy in the EPS manual.

We ended our jam-packed day of discussions with reports regarding volunteer leadership appointments and the progress of various groups related to their scopes of work. Many groups are just being appointed, still need appointments, or have already begun their work. There are two groups who will seek consultation from the Board consultant, Heather Harker. Both the Governance Committee and the Transition Team will seek her guidance in setting the priorities of each group respectively.

As each volunteer group gets underway with their work, they will report their progress to the membership, such as that of the Professional Development Committee in the February eNEWS with the release of the latest version of the Standards & Criteria. There is a lot of great work that is underway through our volunteer leadership structure so keep an eye out for their updates!

With one more day of this Board meeting to go, we feel exhilarated from the collegial approach to resolutions and solutions and overall teamwork between board members and between the board and HQ that allows us to move forward with integral decisions for the organization. Being able to have these discussions in the Ole Jim on the campus of Gallaudet adds the natural element of our ROOTS to every discussion. We hope that through the pictures we are sharing and our daily video reports you are capturing a little of that as well.

Thank you for your attention to our updates and more to come from the last day of our Spring Board meeting.