AAUAP Mid-Year President’s Report
April, 1999


The following issues are included in this Mid-Year Report: Executive Director Search, Board Committee status and work, update on legal issues, current financial status, programmatic update, and staffing.

Executive Director Search

In February, I appointed a Search Committee to solicit and review applications for the permanent AAUAP Executive Director. The position was posted on March 1, and closed April 1, 1999, receiving a total of 19 qualified applicants. The Search Committee met via conference call in early April to review applicants and begin the selection process. A subcommittee of the larger group will interview applicants later this month, and it is anticipated that the Committee will make its recommendation to the Board by early May. I was extremely pleased with the pool of applicants, and am certain we will have a very qualified individual in this role in the early summer. The search committee consists of:

Gloria Krahn, Chair Fred Palmer
Ansley Bacon Tracy Price-Johnson
Terry Dolan Deborah Spitalnik
Jan Nisbet Travis Thompson
Fred Orelove Steve Eidelman, ex officio
Penny Seay, ex officio

Board Committees

The Board has continued to function with the working groups established at the February, 1998 Board meeting to oversee and complete association activities, as well as develop recommendations for the future. These committees are:

Budget Committee

Program Committee Organization Committee

Keith Miller, Chair Bob Bacon, Chair Fred Orelove, Chair
Gloria Krahn Yvonne Fryberger Tawara Goode
David Mank David Helm Mark Innocenti
Penny Seay Tracy Price-Johnson Cate McClain
Tom Uno Norb Ryan John Moeschler
  Keith Miller
(liaison to Budget Committee)
Sharon Ramey
Bob Stodden
    Sheryl White-Scott

These three committees work directly with the central office staff, and apprise the Board of their activities during regular conference call meetings. The Budget Committee is charged with developing a balanced working budget for the Association, and developing a strategic financial plan to assure fiscal solvency. The Program Committee’s charge is to work with the central office staff and the network to ensure that contract deliverables are completed, and to assess the current agency and legislative agendas to identify opportunities for future Association participation. The Organization Committee is charged with developing strategies for increasing and improving the relationships with LEND programs within the AAUAP network, clarifying membership issues within the Association, and recommending by-laws changes to the membership. All of the committees have made considerable progress toward meeting these charges. I have focused a great deal of attention to the legal issues the Association is still dealing with, working closely with the Executive Committee of the Board, and with Steve Eidelman.

Legal Issues

Background. The embezzlement by a former employee was initially discovered in July, 1997. The case was presented to the grand jury by the U. S. Attorney General in the Southern District of California in December, 1997. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Tania Jackson.

The total amount documented as missing was $106,000; the insurance policy covered $50,000 which was received in February, 1998. The remaining $56,000 and all fees incurred as a result of the embezzlement were presented to Signet Bank, now First Union Bank.

Update. In December, 1998, Tania Jackson was apprehended in Los Angeles, and in January, 1999, she was transported back to Maryland, where she has remained in custody. A date will be set for a guilty plea to be entered, and she will remain in custody until sentencing.

On March 11, Kieth Miller, Steve Eidelman and I scheduled a meeting with Mark Laponsky, who has been the Association’s attorney since 1995. The purpose of our meeting was to discuss the legal case against First Union Bank, and to negotiate the outstanding legal fees owed to Semmes, Bowen, and Semmes by AAUAP in the amount of approximately $125,000, an amount that has accumulated over an extended period of time.

During the meeting with Mr. Laponsky, we were informed that he would be leaving the firm of Semmes effective March 15, 1999. In addition, Brooke Thomas, an associate with Semmes, would be leaving with him. Ms. Thomas has been handling much of the day to day work of AAUAP’s case against First Union Bank.

Mr. Laponsky also informed us that he and Ms. Thomas would not be able to represent us in AAUAP v. First Union National Bank because of a conflict of interest: his new firm represents First Union in a variety of matters. Mr. Laponsky identified another attorney at Semmes, Diana Nowezki, to represent AAUAP in this matter.

We had a very productive meeting with Mr. Laponsky, Ms. Thomas, and Ms. Nowezki, and we feel very confident of and comfortable with our new attorney from Semmes. Ms. Nowezki is in the process of reviewing the depositions that have been completed, and will advise us of the potential for recovery of funds, likelihood of settlement, and other options in the very near future.

With regard to the outstanding deficit of legal fees, several options were discussed, including a contingency fee from the case against First Union, a long term payment plan, or a combination of the two strategies. At this point, it is likely that we will be able to resolve the entire deficit to Semmes through a contingency fee of the settlement with the bank. We are awaiting the final proposal from Ms. Nowezki.

Budget and Financial Status

Background. The Board presented an update of the fiscal status of the Association at the annual meeting in October, 1998. At that time, the extent of the Association’s liabilities was reported as being approximately $400,000. In addition to the embezzled funds, it was discovered that there had been agency overpayments and other accounting practices that increased the liabilities of the Association.

Update. As of this date, the Board has determined that the extent of the Association’s financial liabilities is approximately $330,000 - $360,000. Because all past fiscal audits have been completed, we are confident that this represents our extent of deficit.

The Budget Committee is working to develop a deficit reduction plan to present to the Board in May for approval. In addition, the Budget Committee will present a budget for FY 1999 – 2000. It is likely that our negotiations with the law firm of Semmes, Bowen, and Semmes will reduce our deficit by approximately $125,000, bringing the total deficit down to $205,000 – $235,000. I am confident that the Budget committee will develop and recommend a deficit reduction plan that will result in fiscal solvency for the Association while maintaining the level of Association activities as prioritized by the membership.

Other actions taken by the Board to improve the financial health of the Association include securing and reviewing bids to engage an accounting firm to handle all of the Association’s financial matters.

Programmatic Status

The Board and Central Office staff have worked closely to ensure that the activities and deliverable products from grants and contracts are completed in a timely fashion. In addition, the Board and staff work closely to ensure that the prioritized activities of the Association are met. Discussed below are highlights of the work that has been accomplished and/or is ongoing in critical programmatic areas. There has been much other work accomplished over the last six months that is not included in this Mid-Year Report.

Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities Research Centers

Since the Annual Meeting, there have been a series of discussions with representatives of the MRDDRC Directors and the AAUAP Board to craft a new relationship with the MRDDRC programs that will more closely meet the needs of the programs and of the Association. We hope to finalize this new relationship in the next few months.

Maternal and Child Health Bureau

Since the October Board meeting, we have continued to be involved in discussions and activities designed to enhance the relationship of the LEND programs within the AAUAP network. We have also continued to work very closely with agency staff at the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. A number of people from the AAUAP network, along with Steve Eidelman, have met with Dr. Peter Van Dyke to discuss some of the ongoing issues related to the LEND programs.

As in past years, the recently completed competition of continuing and new LEND programs presented challenges to the network. The Board will continue to work with MCH-B to encourage a process that provides ongoing feedback to programs, and more clearly defined criteria for the competition. Dr. Van Dyke recently postponed the next competition of the LEND programs for one year.

Legislative Work

The Legislative Affairs Committee is engaged in ongoing discussions regarding the reauthorization of the Developmental Disabilities Act through the committee’s listserve and regular conference calls. This has been a very productive process, and Donna Meltzer is working closely with our DD partners in these efforts.

IASSID World Congress 2000

The AAUAP Board of Directors resolved to reaffirm the Association’s commitment to co-sponsor the World Congress in Seattle, August 1 – 6, 2000. Bob Stodden is the liaison from the Board to the Local Organization committee. We anticipate that this will be a very successful conference, and we are pleased to be a partner. You will receive additional information regarding the conference in the next few months.

Future Visions

Following the Annual Meeting in the fall, the Statement of Future Visions for AAUAP was completed with input from individuals throughout the network. This statement, which is posted on the AAUAP homepage, represents a structure for shaping the future. It also addresses the priorities of the Association’s work. Identified steps to refine the structure of AAUAP are already in process.

AAUAP Central Office Staff

In addition to Steve Eidelman accepting the position as Executive Director of the Arc National Office, other changes have occurred in the central office.

Roland Loudenburg moved back to South Dakota, and has accepted a position with the UAP there. Congratulations to Roland, and a sincere thanks for his many years of service to the Association. He is still assisting us in the transition of the data work for AAUAP.

Tibi Bodea will be leaving AAUAP in June to begin a residency training program in Pittsburgh. We are grateful to Tibi for the many tasks he has completed, and all of his efforts for the network. The Board is working with Steve to make plans for filling Tibi’s position. We hope that both Roland and Tibi will stay in touch with us, and wish them the very best in the future.

Donna Meltzer, Theresa Hosinski, and Gwen Clark remain in the Central office, and their work continues to be outstanding. During the last year, each person in the office has assumed new roles and responsibilities, and we greatly appreciate that work.

Please let me know if you would like additional information about any of the issues presented in this Mid-Year Report. As I said earlier, much other work has been accomplished over the last six months that is not included in this report. I hope that I have been able to update you on the critical issues we have been working on together.

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