Board of Directors Meeting, January 11–12, 2003


Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 1:35 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, January 11, 2003, by President Ruth Luckasson.


Members present—Ruth A Luckasson, president; Ann P. Turnbull, president-elect; David L. Coulter, vice president; Joanna L. Pierson, secretary/treasurer; Steven F. Warren, past president; Brian Clukey; Cathy Ficker Terrill; William C. Gaventa; Sharon C. Gomez; Stanley D. Handmaker; Amy S. Hewitt; Yves Lachapelle; Genevieve D. Pugh; Alison Alya Reeve; David A. Rotholz; Martha E. Snell; Frances E. Ulrich; Mark H. Yeager. Members absent—Robert H. Horner, Neil J. Ross.

National staff present—M. Doreen Croser, Paul D. Aitken, Maria A. Alfaro, Ana Montoulieu. Guest—Sidney Blanchard.

Acceptance of Minutes

J. Pierson presented the minutes.

M/S/P (F. Ulrich, S. Gomez): To accept the minutes of the Board of Directors conference call on November 18, 2002.

M/S/P (C. Ficker Terrill, M. Snell): To accept the minutes of the Executive Committee conference call on January 3, 2003.


November 2002 Financial Statements

J. Pierson reported that the projected deficit for the year is lower than expected, at $113,305. This includes an investment loss of $47,000, making the actual operating deficit approximately $66,305. Significant reductions in expenditures, including eliminating staff positions and suspending rebates, have taken place. Much hard work by staff is credited with decreasing this deficit from what was projected in late summer.

Proposed 2003 Budget

J. Pierson presented the 2003 budget. She noted that it is a conservative budget that reflects the Association's priorities of publications and membership. The budget contains a 30% reduction in personnel from last year, freezes all salaries, continues the suspension of rebates, outsources membership processing, restructures the publications program, suspends conference calls for all nonessential activities of all committees, expands electronic communications, and reflects the renegotiated rate for the hotel contract for the annual conference. She asked that the budget be passed with a change in the interest and dividend income to $5,500 to reflect only cash actually received rather than including zero coupon bond projected earnings as well. Also noted was the need to look at cash flow on an ongoing basis, with the Executive Committee revising the budget quickly if this becomes an issue. She reminded the Board that the task of the AAMR leadership this next year is to increase revenues. There was discussion about the suspension of rebates, and it was decided to leave these suspended for 2003. This discussion was related to concerns expressed by members of both the Conference and the Assembly. The changed structure of money for people coming into Divisions and SIGs would not be distributed until 2004 because the membership selections for the current year determine the rebates for the next year. As a result, the new money has not been suspended; it will be reviewed for next year's budget. This is a transition year.

M/S/P (G. Pugh, S. Gomez): To accept the budget with a decrease in the interest/dividend line to $5,500.

M/S/P (C. Ficker Terrill, A. Reeve): To suspend the parity adjustment called for in the AAMR personnel policies and to review the wage adjustments in 6 months.

Nominations and Elections Committee

C. Ficker Terrill reported on who was elected to the various positions. A president of the OT/PT Division will have to be appointed because no one was nominated for that position. Recommendations are needed to fill vacancies on the Finance and Health Promotion Committees. This discussion will be deferred until the March Board of Directors conference call.

M/S/P (M. Yeager, S. Gomez): To appoint Michelle S. Ballan as chair-elect of the Social/Sexual Concerns Special Interest Group.

M/S/P (C. Ficker Terrill, W. Gaventa): To accept the individuals for committee membership proposed by the Nominations and Elections Committee for a 3-year term beginning June 1, 2003.

Awards and Fellowship Committee

G. Pugh reported on the awardees. The Board was very pleased at the selections. There was discussion about asking awardees in the future to speak at the national conference.

M/S/P (F. Ulrich, S. Handmaker): To accept the five individuals proposed for AAMR Fellow status.

Constitution and Bylaws Review Ad Hoc Committee

M. Yeager reported that this committee has now been formed to completely rework the bylaws so that AAMR can be more responsive. The committee will look at complexity of the organizational structure to determine whether it can be simplified and still meet AAMR's mission. The plan is to have a report of changes by May and to the membership for a vote this fall.

National Quality Caregiving Coalition Briefing

W. Gaventa is the informal AAMR link to this group that AAMR has participated in for over a decade. This is a very different type of coalition from the others in which AAMR participates. This group is very supportive of community and family caregiving, recognizing that there are similar issues for different groups of people. The group may develop a national report card on caregiving. It is very important for AAMR to be represented in this group. In the future there will be dues to continue (estimated to be $625). Based on AAMR's current financial situation, W. Gaventa is not asking for support to pay these dues. He will look for other ways to raise this money for this next year.

2004 AAMR Annual Meeting in Philadelphia

D. Coulter described the themes for the 2004 conference that will focus on health, electronics, and genetics issues. He is looking at speakers and is involving V. Bradley, who will be vice president starting in June in the leadership of this conference because of the Disability Summit planned for 2005. He sees the submission process as similar to this year's. Division and SIG leaders will be involved in the review process of submissions. D. Croser is starting to renegotiate the Philadelphia hotel contract now.

Key Priorities Membership Survey

D. Rotholz reported on the results of the survey seeking membership response to three key issues. From the Divisions and Special Interest Groups, 465 usable responses were received. The top four priorities were training for professionals, funding, availability of effective services, and direct support professional retention and recruitment.

Conference of Professional Interests

D. Rotholz summarized the discussion in the Conference meeting where the Division Presidents and SIG Chairs will be providing information to their members and welcoming new members.

Assembly of Geographic Interests

M. Yeager reported that the common theme was the issue of how Regions and Chapters deal with new members and make connections among the members. There was discussion about assisting members to connect with mentors who are part of AAMR, electronically, at our conferences, and in other ways. An Ad Hoc Committee on Membership Support to look at these issues and propose options to create this networking in an effective way was one suggestion to further this concept.

International Committee

Y. Lachapelle stated that the committee will be writing for FYI. He felt that mentioning numbers of members from different countries in the presidential address could be beneficial.

LASI Committee

C. Ficker Terrill reminded Board members that they are soliciting volunteers to work on white papers for the position statements.

New Business

No Pesticides Day Request for Support

AAMR has been asked to join in support of a national No Pesticides Day by Westchester County in New York, which is attempting to build support for this nationally. The connection between disabilities and environmental causes was discussed. The suggestion was made that the Health Concerns Committee be asked to look into the issue of pesticides.

M/S/P (M. Yeager, S. Gomez): To approve participation in this type of proclamation in concept and to support it becoming a national effort for a national No Pesticides Day. There was one abstention.

No Child Left Behind Request for Support

M. Snell reported that although the federal law on “No Child Left Behind” in terms of educational practices does not really address children with disabilities, the concepts in this area are likely to be followed in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when it is reauthorized. There are particular problems with the evidence-based type of research that is deemed to be acceptable and the research that, therefore, is excluded in determining educational practices. Because one of the fundamental premises for education of children with disabilities is individualization, this type of research would be the total antithesis of all current federal law on education for children with disabilities

M/S/P (M. Snell, A. Reeve): To adopt the following resolution on evidence-based research and intellectual disability:

The move toward evidence-based research as specified in the No Child Left Behind legislation is wise, but its overly restrictive definition harms people with intellectual disabilities and those with other severe disabilities. Any definition of evidence-based research must include methodologies which are widely regarded as scientifically defensible (such as single subject experimental design).

The requirement that research methods be restricted to group design with a preference for randomized clinical trials will significantly inhibit the development and validation of new scientific knowledge in education. There are many situations in which it is not feasible to assign children at random to school placements or to types of instructional settings. Yet these situations do not preclude other viable research designs.

These concerns are especially great for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities given their low incidence and their unique characteristics, which require individualization of educational intervention.

We strongly urge Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal agencies to recognize and support the continued use of the full array of research methodologies that are scientifically accepted in the fields of education, psychology, and child development.

We request that a committee of highly respected educational researchers in low-incidence disabilities be convened without delay to develop appropriate language on the array of scientific research methods for incorporation into the reauthorization of IDEA.

M/S/P (M. Snell, A. Reeve): To send a letter to Robert Pasternak, Assistant Secretary U.S. Department of Education, communicating this resolution and to distribute this resolution to other organizations of like interest.

Board Attendance

The importance of consistent Board attendance was discussed, particularly in light of missing discussions that are necessary for decision-making related to AAMR's activities and future.

M/S/P (A. Turnbull, D. Rotholz): That if a Board member misses two meetings in a year, the Executive Committee will review the person's attendance and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors concerning suggested action, if any.

Increasing AAMR Revenues and Business Plan Development

R. Luckasson led a discussion about how to strategically position AAMR for the future, including increasing revenues to the Association. She emphasized the need to create a new mindset among all AAMR leadership and members in thinking about how to support the values and commitment of the Association in active ways. Five marketing strategies were agreed to: develop new products, expand training in new ways, increase membership, target publications, and continue the journals. C. Ficker Terrill will distribute the specific ideas generated in the discussion to the Board of Directors. Each Board member will look at a personal commitment for generating income for the Association in the next year. W. Gaventa shared his idea for a “Power of One” campaign to ask AAMR members to participate in this goal of generating revenues for AAMR along with the Board. It was agreed that the Executive Committee will track the ideas and their completion.

M/S/P (M. Yeager, G. Pugh): To accept in W. Gaventa's “Power of One campaign” idea in concept as an approach, with a review on the specifics by the Executive Committee on its January 27 conference call.

M/S/P (C. Ficker Terrill, M. Yeager): That the Board of Directors will endorse a campaign that asks each Board member to make an individual contribution to generate income for the Association.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:56 a.m. (EST) on Sunday, January 12, 2003.

Respectfully submitted,

Joanna Pierson, PhD, FAAMR


Executive Committee Conference Call, January 27, 2003


Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 12:07 p.m. (EST) on Monday, January 27, 2003, by President Ruth Luckasson.


Members present—Ruth A Luckasson, president; Ann P. Turnbull, president-elect; David Coulter, vice president; Joanna L. Pierson, secretary/treasurer; David Rotholz, Conference; Mark Yeager, Assembly; National staff present—M. Doreen Croser, Ana Montoulieu.

New Business

OSERS Meeting

R. Luckasson attended this session on how to align IDEA requirements with the federal “No Child Left Behind” campaign. She was asked to do a presentation on the definition of mental retardation at their meeting. She hopes that OSERS may use the AAMR definition as their definition in the reauthorization of IDEA. She hand-delivered the resolution on evidence-based research to Robert Pasternak, Assistant Secretary U.S. Department of Education, who was very receptive to its content.

Virginia and Death Penalty Statute

Related to the death penalty, the Virginia legislature has raised a criminal law definition of mental retardation that would ignore current clinically accepted standards.


AAMR Definition Implementation Committee

This committee met with Paul Marchand of The Arc to discuss the new definition in terms of policy and determining how to move on its implementation.

Current Budget Status and Cash Flow Discussion

The Executive Committee and staff will continue to review whether revenue is coming in as projected in the budget. If revenues are not sufficient, there will be an immediate plan to cut back on expenses. Marketing appears to be the first option for cutbacks on at this point. Travel cutbacks would not assist the financial picture until the fall. The monitoring of income will include dues, subscriptions, book sales, and the convention. The February 24 Executive Committee conference call will have a report on these issues. There was discussion of a problem with many of the library subscriptions, which are through a subscription firm that collected revenues and then declared bankruptcy, a potential $60,000 problem, or 10% of subscription revenues. Staff are looking for solutions to this, including discussions with experts in this area so that we do not need to cut the money from expenses. Subscription revenues from other sources are strong. The need for additional sponsorships for the convention also was discussed.

Constitution Committee Update

M. Yeager reported that he has drafted an initial letter to the committee. This committee will address how to simplify governance structure, allow for change to occur quickly, allow for input from the members, and allow for continuity of leadership. Much of the details that are in bylaws would fit better in a procedural manual, where they could be changed quickly and easily.

Outdated Division and SIG WebPages

Of 22 webpages, only 7 have current information. D. Rotholz will take action on this problem, including determining a timeframe that seems reasonable for updating these pages and a process for removing outdated information.

Power of One Campaign Materials

W. Gaventa sent these materials to the Executive Committee for review and approval. He will then send them out to a wide audience for action. The Executive Committee endorsed his efforts and expressed its appreciation for his taking the initiative to develop this campaign as well as offering their assistance as he determines would be helpful.

Strategic Plan

This will be sent to Executive Committee members for review to discuss at the February 24 conference call and then in March on the Board of Directors conference call.

2004 Philadelphia Conference

D. Coulter and V. Bradley discussed the substitution of the Disability Summit for the 2005 annual conference, and he offered to share the leadership of the 2004 conference with her.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:52 p.m. (EST).

Respectfully submitted,

Joanna Pierson, PhD, FAAMR


Executive Committee Conference Call, February 24, 2003, 1:00 P.M. (EST)


Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 1:02 p.m. (EST) on Monday, February 24, 2003, by President Ruth Luckasson.


Members present—Ruth A Luckasson, president; Ann P. Turnbull, president-elect; Joanna L. Pierson, secretary/treasurer; David Rotholz, Conference; Mark Yeager, Assembly. Members absent—David Coulter, vice president. National staff present—M. Doreen Croser, Ana Montoulieu. Guest: Valerie Bradley.

New Business

Adaptive Behavior Scales Offer

It was the consensus of the Executive Committee that D. Croser send a counteroffer in response to the current publisher's offer to purchase the rights to the Adaptive Behavior Scale.

Cash flow situation

The review of cash flow compared to last year suggested that no new cuts are required immediately. The Executive Committee will continue to review the financial situation. There is a problem with library subscriptions to the journals because the subscription agency that handles these collected all the fees from 300 university libraries that subscribe to AAMR's journals and then declared bankruptcy. The Executive Committee supported D. Croser's decision to try to work out agreements for an 18-month subscription and send 6 months for free to maintain the goodwill of these subscribers and endorsed her judgment in considering other options if the situation changes

Tag line

The Executive Committee reviewed the three possible tag lines suggested by the Board of Directors, and, at the Board's request, selected one. It is promoting best practices, leadership and self-determination.

Future Conventions

D. Rotholz requested a discussion of the hotel costs in order for a decision to be made prior to the Association's negotiating any new contracts for future conferences. The current high room rates probably negatively impact conference attendees staying at the conference site hotel as well as people's decision to attend the conference. It was agreed that, in contracting for future conferences, more affordable room rates would be important. An “economy tips sheet” for the Chicago conference is being prepared by the current Local Arrangements Committee.

Death Penalty Case

M. Yeager presented information sent to him about a death penalty case in Tennessee. R. Luckasson recommended that the attorney be put in contact with experienced death penalty lawyers in that state. She offered to send information to the attorney.

Committee Vacancies

The Executive Committee is recommending the following individuals to the board for committee vacancies noted in the Nominations and Elections Committee report: Donna Lehr, Health Promotion Committee; Genevieve Pugh, Finance Committee.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:23 p.m. (EST).

Respectfully submitted,

Joanna Pierson, PhD, FAAMR