Sunset

Joint Sunset Committee Meeting Notice

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

1:00 p.m.

House Majority Caucus Room 1st floor of Legislative Hall

Agenda

Advisory Council on Game and Fish - recommendation meeting

Boards & Commission selection for Review in 2003

Review DSSAA Draft legislation

Discussion of MOU between the Medical Board & DE Medical Society


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MINUTES
Joint Sunset Committee
New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium Recommendation Meeting
May 14, 2002



This hearing was called to order at 12:24pm by Chairperson Representative Ulbrich. Other committee members in attendance included Vice Chairperson Senator Deluca, Representative Hudson, Representative Valihura, Senator Still, and Senator Simpson. Representing the New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium Board at the meeting were NCCAEC Chairperson Karen Foster (of the Colonial School District), NCCAEC member Mark Zawislak (of the Red Clay School District), and NCCAEC consultant (of Delaware Consulting Services) Tom Downs. For others present, please see Attendance Sheet.

Chairperson Ulbrich commenced the hearing by calling for the adoption of the minutes from the April 15th NCCAEC public hearing. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the minutes.

Chairperson Ulbrich then asked for each committee member to take turns reading the proposed recommendations. The first proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The second proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The third proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The fourth proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The fifth proposed recommendation was read:

Chairperson Ulbrich asked if the Consortium representatives had a comment. Dr. Downs noted that he wasn't sure if Delaware statue would allow for such certification to occur. Consortium Chairperson Foster echoed his concern as to whether non-state employees could be certified, and reemphasized that all of the alternative school teachers were required by contract to be eligible for state certification. A motion was made and seconded to defer the recommendation. The recommendation was deferred by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The sixth proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The seventh proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The eighth proposed recommendation was read:

Rep. Hudson expressed her concern that the recommendation was too vague. Senator Still then noted that if the staff were already duly certified and licensed then their salaries should already be on par. Consortium Chairperson Foster then stated that the contractor, not the consortium, is responsible for staff salaries and that such salaries varied by school district. Chairperson Ulbrich noted that this recommendation was not appropriate for the Joint Sunset Committee. A motion was made and seconded to defer the recommendation. The recommendation was deferred by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The ninth proposed recommendation was read:

Chairperson Ulbrich noted that there was much discussion of this matter during the NCCAEC public hearing. Consortium Chairperson Foster noted that the alternative school contractors currently track students for one marking period, and the each school district makes use of student intervention teams to assist with student transitions. Chairperson Ulbrich noted that there was a very definite deed to improve such transitions. A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was adopted by the committee with a vote of 3 in favor, 1 abstaining.

The tenth proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The eleventh proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The twelfth proposed recommendation was read:

Consortium Chairperson Foster noted the reasons for the staff turnover, stating that at the beginning of September 2001, the Director of one of one of the alternative schools resigned. Many of her staff, loyal to the Director, submitted their resignations soon thereafter. Then, a newly hired Director resigned shortly after replacing the original. Chairperson Foster reassured the committee that the new (and current) Director, and staff in general, were now much more stable. Before voting on the recommendation, Chairperson Ulbrich suggested that the Consortium use exit interviews with outgoing employees in the future.

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 4 in favor.

The thirteenth proposed recommendation was read:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 5 in favor.

The fourteenth proposed recommendation was read:


After discussing the proposed recommendation, the committee proposed an amended recommendation:

A motion was made and seconded to adopt the amended recommendation. The recommendation was approved by the committee with a vote of 5 in favor and 1 opposed.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:59pm.



Respectfully submitted,
Josh Templet, Legislative Fellow










MINUTES
Joint Sunset Committee
New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium Public Hearing
April 15, 2002


This hearing was called to order at 3:12pm by Co-Chairperson Representative Ulbrich. Other committee members in attendance included Co-Chairperson Senator Deluca, Representative Keeley, Senator Simpson, Senator Sokola and Senator Bunting. All members of the New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium Board were present, including its Co-Chairpersons, Karen Foster of the Colonial School District, and Vaughn Lauer of the Appoquinimink School District, as well as members Kittie Rehrig of the Brandywine School District, Iris Vinokur of the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District, Mark Zawislak of the Red School District, and Yvette Santiago and Gina Johnson of the Christina School District. For others present, please see Attendance Sheet.

Co-Chairperson Ulbrich commenced the hearing by introducing herself and explaining the responsibility of the Joint Sunset Committee. Following introductions from the other committee members and members of the New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium (NCCAEC), Chairperson Ulbrich explained that the meeting would consist of a review of the Draft Report prepared by the committee's staff, with active feedback encouraged from Consortium members and members of the public. The Chairperson also noted that the record would remain open for feedback and comments until the committee held its Recommendation meeting, after which the Joint Sunset Committee would prepare a final report to be submitted to the General Assembly.

Consortium Co-Chairperson Karen Foster provided a brief overview of the Consortium, noting that the task given to the Consortium by the School Districts' Superintendents, as established in Title 14, Section 1604 of the Delaware Code, is to apply for state funds and to contract for and oversee the programs for alternative education and related services for more severe discipline problems. Foster noted that the Districts had indicated from the beginning that they could not operate such an alternative education program themselves, so the decision was made to seek the services of an outside contractor. Foster explained that the Consortium, in compliance with Delaware law, periodically solicits and receives competitive proposals from vendors, evaluates them, and selects one or more to operate an educational program for students whose behavior makes them disruptive to the regular schools of the county.

Once a vendor or vendors has been selected, the Consortium works with them as well as the representatives from the Department of Education to ensure that students are being served appropriately. Most placements in the alternative program are for a limited time. While students are involved in the alternative education program, they remain enrolled in their home school districts, and are generally expected to return to regular schools.

Co-Chairperson Foster continued her introductory statement, noting that in addition to the county programs, the Consortium was given responsibility last summer for the pilot statewide alternative program outlined in the Budget Bill. Although that contract was through the state, the NCCAES has day-to-day responsibility. Foster then noted the benefits of the alternative education program, which allows instruction to proceed without serious disruption, and provides small classes and individualized attention to help service the needs of students with severe behavioral problems.

Foster next noted that NCCAEC membership duties are but a small part of members' overall responsibilities in their school districts. The members have generally been pleased with the services provided by the Consortium. Foster also informed the committee that the Consortium had recently hired a part time administrator on 1 March 2002 in cooperation with the Department of Education, to assist with this year's addition of a second program and to oversee some employee turnover with their primary vendor. Foster expressed hope that the addition of this staff member will help the Consortium to gather additional data to improve the alternative education program.

Co-Chairperson Foster next turned her attention to the Draft Report prepared by the Joint Sunset Committee's staff. Foster noted that much of the data contained in the report was from the Connelly report, and so was three years old and based on a statewide evaluation not specific to New Castle County.

Committee Co-Chairperson Ulbrich began the committee's questioning of the Consortium, citing the mission of the NCCAEC outlined in the Draft Report, and asking whether the Consortium is achieving its goal of integrating students with severe behavioral problems back into a regular school setting whenever possible. Foster noted in response that the students enrolled in the alternative education program are tracked by individual School Districts, and so she offered to speak on behalf of her District, Colonial, noting that only two out of approximately sixty students in the past year chose to drop out from their regular schools upon returning.

Senator Bunting then inquired whether there was any data available showing how many students who returned to their regular schools then graduated. Yvette Santiago from the Christina School District stated that each District maintained the data individually. Co-Chairperson Ulbrich requested that the Consortium collect such data and provide it to the committee.

Next, Co-Chairperson Ulbrich asked what sort of requirements were included in contracts between the Consortium and the vendors it hires to run New Castle County's alternative schools. Consortium member Mark Zawislak, of Red Clay School District, responded that such requirements are developed by the Consortium in accordance with State law, and are included in the Request for Funding Proposal (RFP). Co-Chairperson Ulbrich requested a copy of the RFP for the committee.

Senator Simpson then asked how the Districts insure that the alternative schools are following state educational standards. Consortium Co-Chair Lauer responded that alternative schools follow state educational guidelines, as do regular schools. Fellow Co-Chair Foster added that the students enrolled in alternative schools also take the same statewide exams as other students.

Senator Simpson then asked whether anyone was checking to ensure that the alternative schools were aligning with state standards. Consortium Co-Chair Lauer responded that the Consortium receives reports on students throughout the year.

Next, Senator Simpson inquired whether the Consortium has trouble finding placement room for students. Co-Chair Foster responded that the Consortium is prohibited by law to place a cap on the number of students it serves, however vendors cannot be expected to bid on a contract to provide service to an unlimited number of students. Instead, the Consortium calculates an optimal number of students to be served given the staffing levels and facilities available. The Districts of New Castle County then work cooperatively to not exceed that optimal level of students, dividing up slots for students proportionately based on each District's needs.

Senator Sokola posed the committee's next question, asking about the levels of disciplinary action taken by the Consortium and the county's schools. Co-Chair Foster replied that this issue is decided at the District level, and that all districts look upon disciplinary action as a continuum. Only when schools have exhausted other alternatives for misbehaving students do they proceed with alternative education.

Senator Bunting then expressed his concern about the seemingly low dollar amount spent on each student in New Castle County's alternative schools. As he read the figure of 300-350 students enrolled in these schools, cited in the Draft Report, Co-Chair Foster claimed that that figure was based on statewide, rather than New Castle County data. Co-Chair Lauer added that the figure also included students who stayed less than a full year at the alternative schools.

Senator Bunting further inquired what the dollar figure spent per alternative school student was. Co-Chair Foster then added that the varying length of stay of students has prevented the Consortium from calculating such data. Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich then inquired whether the Consortium could provide a daily cost for the program, to which Co-Chair Foster replied that the annual cost of $2 million could simply be divided by 180 days of the school year, and the days of the summer session. Co-Chair Ulbrich also asked what the average enrollment was in the schools, and Foster replied that she would have to figure out the capacity of the schools.

Senator Sokola inquired about the Consortium's use of funds leftover from the 180-day alternative education program. Co-Chair Foster responded that the use of such "extra time money" varies by District, and that the Colonial School District used such money for transportation expenses.

Co-Chair Foster also clarified for Senator Sokola that there was a summer program in 2001, as there had been in previous years.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next noted that the Draft Report showed that the New Beginnings Elementary and Middle Schools had a maximum of 90 students, and asked how many students were enrolled there presently. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that the Consortium had received enrollment reports two weeks earlier but did not have them with her. Co-Chair Ulbrich requested the enrollment number for these schools, as well as for the other New Beginnings Upper School.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next asked the Consortium to describe the new Quest Academy. Consortium member Santiago replied that the Academy is run by the vendor Vision Quest. The school enforces a strict dress code, and has a structured academic program and small classrooms. It focuses on behavior modifications and group counseling, and seeks to provide not only adequate services but also to emphasize successful student transitions back to regular schools. Co-Chair Ulbrich then asked how the Consortium determines which students it sends to the Quest Academy and which it sends to the other New Beginnings schools. Consortium member Santiago responded that the location of students' placements depends upon each student's particular behavioral history and age as well as the current availability of student slots at the different alternative schools.

Senator Bunting next asked whether the alternative schools provide psychological counseling to students. Consortium member Rehrig responded that students in all of the alternative schools are offered group counseling and specific behavioral counseling, but that individual counseling is handled though Districts.

Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich inquired next about the types of evaluations undertaken by the Consortium of the alternative education program. First she asked whether there would be an evaluation report on the three-year pilot program that gave rise to the Quest Academy this year. Co-Chair Foster responded that the Consortium's recently hired staff member will help to collect data to prepare such a report. However, she noted that the Consortium had not developed a formal reporting or evaluative process, but produced only informal monthly reports.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next commented that the Joint Sunset Committee had heard much about disciplinary problems being among the greatest problems interfering with students' education, and stated the Committee's desire to receive information about students on a regular basis to be sure they are receiving a quality education.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next noted that average number of courses taken by alternative school students was 3.7, according to the Connelly Report. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that many of the regular programs offered at alternative schools are only basic programs, and that electives were not usually offered. Typically, continued Foster, students take four courses, and less often five courses, in a given year in alternative school.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next cited the Connelly Report's data which shows that roughly 75% of students transitioning to regular schools dropped out within their first year upon returning. Consortium Co-Chair Foster felt that the current data for her District, the Colonial School District, was not at all similar to the data in from the Connelly Report. Lauer confirmed that Appoquininmink District has roughly the same, low number of students dropping out following their transition back to regular school. He stated that his District does not have the failure rates indicated by the Connelly Report. Consortium member Zawislak suggested that the definition of "successful completion" was not clearly defined, and that perhaps those students who were transferred outside of the regular school and into a GED or related program were not being counted as having been successful. Consortium Co-Chair Foster then expressed her surprise at the high drop out rates cited by the Connelly Report, as she felt that the number of students who could drop out of school was limited since most of the students served by the alternative education program are under 16, and so cannot legally drop out of school.

Senator Sokola next asked under what circumstances a student might be refused reentry into regular school, following approval from his alternative schools and related educational administrators for his transition. Such refusals were cited to occur rarely in the Connelly Report. Consortium members Santiago and Vinokur indicated that there was much collaboration between alternative school and regular school officials to ensure a timely transition of students back to regular schools, and were not aware of any instance when a student was not allowed to return to his regular school. None of the other members were aware of such an instance.

Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich next asked about absenteeism at the alternative schools. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that absenteeism is factored into students' stay at alternative schools. In order for students to successfully complete their stay at the school, they must have had satisfactory attendance. Consortium member Lauer added that not only does the Consortium receive monthly attendance records from the alternative schools, but also it is contacted if there are any severe individual attendance problems. Several members also added that the same state truancy rules apply at alternative schools as those that apply at regular schools.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next inquired whether the Consortium required alternative school staff development programs. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that the staff are required to have training in certain areas, outlined in the RFP, and are encouraged to seek additional training. Regular staff development days are scheduled throughout the year.

Co-Chair Deluca then asked whether there were certification requirements for students, and Co-Chair Foster replied that only special education instructors were required to hold certification. Foster added that all other alternative school teachers need only be eligible for certification, because they are working for a private contractor and so need not be processed by the state. Co-Chair Deluca narrowed his question, asking whether alternative school teachers could be said to be qualified as teachers in regular schools. Co-Chair Foster affirmed that the teachers are comparably qualified.

Co-Chair Ulbrich then asked how many teachers in the alternative schools were qualified to teach their subjects. Consortium member Zawislak responded the Department of Education is responsible for approving the qualifications of the alternative school vendors and their teachers.

Next, Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich asked who reviews the Consortium's budget. Consortium Co-Chair Foster stated that all of the members review the annual budget, and that the Consortium's Fiscal Agent, currently the Finance Director of the Appoquinimink School District, advises the members and assists with the negotiation of the budget.

Next Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich asked about the Consortium's hiring of School Resource Officers (SRO). Consortium Co-Chair Foster noted that despite having contracted for a SRO to be provided from the Wilmington Police, the city police did not assign an officer for several months, and even then did not assign a single full-time officer, but instead various officers on overtime. Foster did not believe that such an assignment served the same function as a SRO, because it did not allow for the development of a relationship between an individual SRO and the students and staff.

Rep. Keeley shared her familiarity with the Wilmington Police and police jurisdiction throughout the state with the Committee, and advised the Consortium that they should not expect Wilmington to be able to provide it with a full time SRO due to the city's budget constraints. Also, the city already provides five officers for regular schools. Consortium Co-Chair Foster reiterated that the Consortium finds it very desirable to have an RSO at the alternative schools. The Committee members and the Consortium members then discussed the Consortium's problem in obtaining an additional SRO from the state in place of the officer to be provided from the Wilmington Police. Both the Wilmington and State Police cited jurisdictional barriers as reasons for being unable to provide a SRO. Co-Chair Ulbrich summed up the dilemma as a matter not of funding, but of officer availability.

Next, Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich turned the committee's attention to the Connelly Report's observations, both positive and negative, cited in the Draft Report. Co-Chair Ulbrich, in particular, expressed her concern about the students' fears that they would be behind their classmates upon returning to their regular schools. Consortium member Santiago noted that students entering the alternative education program are often already working below their grade level, and that much of the resources of the program are devoted toward helping those students to catch up. Co-Chair Ulbrich argued that the alternative education program ought to help those students catch up to their peers in regular schools, and that the individualized attention and small class size offered by the alternative schools ought to make this possible.

Consortium member Zawislak noted that some students who enter the alternative education program are three, or four or sometimes even more grade levels behind. These students then enter the alternative program for a limited amount of time, according to Zawislak, and even if they are extremely successful in the program, they will reenter their regular schools at a lower grade level than their peers. Zawislak also reminded the committee that the course content of alternative school programs is very basic.

Consortium Co-Chair Foster, in response to these comments, noted that the Consortium had recently increased its emphasis on academic requirements, in tandem with those increases undertaken in regular schools as per statewide requirements.

At the request of Senator Bunting, Consortium Co-Chair Foster then briefly described the three locations of New Castle County's alternative schools.

Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich then offered members of the public a chance to voice their concerns. Newark area resident Joanne Bugher then proceeded to offer several comments on the alternative education system, borrowing from her attendance at several of the Consortium's meetings over the past year.

Ms. Bugher first attended Consortium Board meetings in August 2000. She was a member of a community group whose purpose was to obtain information about the alternative education program that had begun operating at Independence Way site.

Ms. Bugher noted that J. Fran Dell began operating what was later learned to be the New Beginnings Program at 11 Independence Way in June 2000. There was no public notification or contact with the community prior to students arriving at the site. Within a matter of weeks a town hall meeting was held that failed to provide a forum for addressing the community's questions. Following that meeting, representatives of eight area residential developments, four elected officials from the area, and two civic association presidents met and organized a committee to obtain fundamental information about the school. According to Ms. Bugher, a letter and list of questions was drafted and sent to each of the six northern New Castle County School Districts and the Department of Education in August 2000. To date there has been no written response from any of the parties.

Ms. Bugher said that her organization's concerns about the Consortium Board and the alternative education program in northern New Castle County are based on the Consortium's lack of public representation, notification, and disclosure, as well as the failure of the educational system to assume responsibility for a vendor, and a general lack of accountability.

Ms. Bugher further expressed her concern that the Consortium's Request for Funding Proposal (RFP) fails to specify sufficient standards for contracting vendors. Also, she complained that the alternative school vendors charged fees to service a larger number of students than the number of those actually enrolled. Ms. Bugher was also upset at an apparent lack of an evaluation of the alternative schools.

In conclusion, Ms. Bugher stated that, in light of evasive responses to public inquiry on the part of the vendor, the Consortium Board, and the School Districts they represent, she lacked confidence that the public's interests were being adequately addressed.

Rep. Ulbrich expressed her appreciation for the public's comments. Co-Chair Ulbrich then encouraged the Consortium members to submit any recommendations for consideration by the Committee, concerning changes in the code.

Then, a Consortium member noted that the number of vendors able to respond to its RFP was in fact limited, due to zoning legislation affecting schools. Because the Consortium requires that vendors have a school site approved upon submitting their bid, and not six months later, it is difficult to hold a competitive bidding process. The Consortium member noted that the Consortium needed competition, but that there was a restraint preventing such competition from occurring.

Co-Chair Ulbrich confirmed that only one bidder has been able to fully take part in the bidding process in the past, due to the difficulties that other potential bidders found in obtaining a site for an alternative school. The Consortium noted that VisionQuest took nearly two years to find a site, and indicated that the site's location is far from ideal. The Consortium asked the Committee to consider the great impact that the zoning legislation concerning schools has on the Consortium's competitive bidding process.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:49pm.



Respectfully submitted,
Josh Templet, Legislative Fellow



JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE MEETING
Minutes
Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
House Majority Caucus Room, Legislative Hall

MEMBERS PRESENT: Representative Stephanie Ulbrich, Chair; Representatives Robert J. Valihura, Jr., Deborah D. Hudson; Senator F. Gary Simpson

MEMBERS ABSENT: Senators Anthony J. DeLuca, David P. Sokola, John C. Still, III, George H. Bunting; Representatives Helene M. Keeley, Richard A. DiLiberto

OTHERS PRESENT: Jennifer J. Davis, Lew Atkinson, Department of Education; Kevin Fitzgerald, DSSAA Chair, Walter Feindt, Deborah Porter, Division of Research.

Representative Stephanie Ulbrich, Chair called the meeting to order at 10:41 a.m.

Representative Valihura moved, and Representative Hudson seconded, a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting of May 9, 2002. 4 yes.

Representative Ulbrich noted that in the minutes of the previous meeting that despite the fact that there were only seven members present we were able to secure nine votes for the two motions that were made, with Senator Still being out of town. She then asked the committee if there were any comments before reviewing the bill.

Representative Valihura stated that he thought that DSSAA should be a private non-profit 501 (C) (3) but would work with the committee to craft the best bill possible.

Senator Simpson stated that he had voted not to sunset DSSAA because he felt that they had worked very hard to comply with the Sunset recommendations.

Representative Hudson stated that at the previous meeting she had expressed concern that private schools be covered under the legislation that the committee was drafting and presented a letter dated Nov. 26th from St. Andrews outlining their concerns. She asked Jennifer Davis if the new DIAA would be affiliated with the National Federation of High Schools.

Jennifer Davis stated that the way that the Sunset Committee had structured the recommendations that it would remain affiliated with the NFHS. She also stated that DOE agreed that schools should be able to choose between being full or associate members.

Representative Valihura asked what the difference was between full and associate members.

Mr. Fitzgerald stated that certain private schools, as part of their curriculum, have students older than permitted under DSSAA rules that would be expected to participate in their athletic programs, so the schools choose to play that person, when playing out of state schools that follow the same guidelines, but when they choose to play schools in Delaware they abide by our rules. That provides schools the flexibility to implement their curriculum as they see fit.

Representative Ulbrich asked if the full and associate member distinction was in print and Mr. Fitzgerald stated that it was in their handbook, which was provided to the Committee and she would supply them with additional copies.

Jennifer Davis stated that DOE agreed with item number three, that Independent and Parochial Schools should have direct proportional representation on the Board of Directors. She stated that currently the Independent Schools were satisfied with the make up of the Board.

Representative Ulbrich stated that she understood that roughly 25% of the students are enrolled in private schools.

Jennifer Davis stated that the correct figure was 14 to15% statewide depending on who you included in the count, such as home schoolers.

Representative Ulbrich asked Jennifer Davis to comment on item number four. " The new DIAA should designate the sports over which they have jurisdiction. If there are sports in which only one or very few schools have, then these sports should not be under the jurisdiction of the new DIAA."

Jennifer Davis stated that DSSAA currently designates what sports they have jurisdiction over. They still need 16 schools to have a state tournament for a sport.

Representative Hudson asked if they would consider reducing the 16 team requirement.

Mr. Fitzgerald stated that, that number has been set because of the number of high schools in the state, that they could look at that but don't want a state championship based on 6. Conferences establish the guidelines for the number of teams that have to participate in order to win a conference championship and DSSAA use's their guidelines to establish the state championships.

Jennifer Davis then went through the legislation.

Representative Valihura moved, and Representative Hudson seconded, a motion to amend 303 by deleting proposed 303 (c), and having public hearings for DIAA rules and regulations to conform with the process for rules and regulations for Department of Education. 4 Yes

Jennifer Davis stated that every person who is a member of the Board of Directors of the DSSAA shall continue to serve on the new association's Board until the expiration of that person's term. And any vacancy occurring in the membership of the former Board shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of the new DIAA.

The committee asked Jennifer Davis to change line 123 to allow medically excused absences approved by a majority of the members of the Board as a permissible reason to miss 3 consecutive meetings of the new Board.

Jennifer Davis stated that regarding line 139 - 141 (there shall be an Education Specialist and a Secretary who are hired by the Dept. of Ed.) that there may be an issue with the Education Specialist because there may not be enough revenue to pay a salary for such a position.

Representative Hudson asked what the salary was for an Education Specialist.

Jennifer Davis stated that it would depend on the type of degree that the person had as well as years of service. Ms. Davis suggested that they make changes to 307 (d).

Senator Simpson suggested that they change it to read "There shall be a Secretary and such other staff as provided for in the budget."

Representative Hudson asked what else would be paid for with these monies.

Jennifer Davis stated that costs such as tournament fees, referees, trophies come from that budget.

Representative Hudson asked that an additional sentence be added to cover the distribution of funds.

Representative Valihura asked in reference to 312 what is the current timing for appeals from Board decisions on waivers.

Senator Simpson asked if after the Board denies a child is there a timeframe for appeal? Would there be a problem with a 15-day time period?

The time frame to receive a written decision of the Boards decision was discussed.

Rep. Ulbrich asked if two weeks would be enough time for a reply. Mrs. Davis stated that she would change 308 to include the two weeks.

Representative Ulbrich asked for questions and asked if the Committee was comfortable with the fact that this bill covers all of the Sunset Committee concerns as well as the concerns of the independent schools.

Walter Feindt suggested that the committee might want to add an effective date.

Discussion ensued concerning whether the time frame needed to have DIAA in a position to replace DSSAA.

Representative Hudson moved, and Senator Simpson seconded, a motion to make the bill effective upon enactment. 4 Yes.

Representative Ulbrich asked if all present would be willing to be listed as sponsors on the legislation. All replied yes.

Representative Ulbrich adjourned the meeting at 12:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Deborah A. Porter








MINUTES
JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS MEETING
for the
BOARD OF MEDICAL PRACTICE

Thursday, May 2, 2002

House Hearing Room, Legislative Hall

MEMBERS PRESENT: Chair Stephanie Ulbrich, Vice Chair Anthony J. DeLuca, Representatives Richard A. DiLiberto, Jr., Robert J. Valihura, Jr., Helene M. Keeley; Senators John C. Still, III,
MEMBERS ABSENT: Representative Deborah D. Hudson

OTHERS PRESENT: Michael Tischer, Attorney General's Office; Catherine Hickey, Board of Medical Practice; Valerie Watson, Director, Gayle Franzolino, Kay Warren and Dean Stotler, Division of Professional Regulation; K. Douglass, News Journal

Representative Stephanie Ulbrich called the meeting to order at 1:15 p.m.

Senator Still moved, and Representative DiLiberto seconded, a motion to approve the Minutes of the previous meeting of April 24, 2002. Motion carried, unanimously.

Valerie Watson presented the budget to the Committee and explained that the increase was do to the committee's recommendations. Senator Bunting asked why the travel line had increased. Ms. Watson stated that the increase would allow all Board members the opportunity to travel to the Annual Meeting. Senator Simpson stated that it wasn't reasonable for the entire committee to travel annually.

Representative Ulbrich asked why the contractual line had increased by 30%. Ms. Watson explained that the increase would cover the cost of the following: medical consultants, expert witnesses, assessment reports, court reporters, computers, lap tops, legal notices, periodicals and workshops to support professional growth. Senator Still asked if the members were willing to increase fees. Catherine Hickey stated that the Board would be in favor of increasing the fees.

Representative Ulbrich asked for discussion on the remaining draft recommendations for the Board of Medical Practice.

2. The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Director of the Division of Professional Regulation be given increased spending authority, by legislation, if necessary. Regulatory Boards are self-funded. Fees charged to licensees are to cover the cost of providing services to the Board.

Senator Still, moved and Representative Valihura seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #2. Motion carried, unanimously.

3. The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Director consider raising many of the fees that have not been increased since 1990.

Representative Keeley moved, and Senator Still seconded a motion to accept recommendation #3. Motion carried. Opposing - Senator Simpson
18 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that statutory changes be enacted to bring the position of Executive Director under the authority of the Director of the Division of Professional Regulation.

Representative Keeley moved, and Senator Still seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #18. Motion carried, unanimously.

21 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Board and Executive Director work on more precisely worded definition of the "practice of medicine" to preclude the addition of the lengthy list of exceptions to the licensing mandate.

Senator Still moved, and Representative Valihura seconded, a motion to accept recommendation # 21. Motion carried, unanimously.

28 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that consideration be given to raising the fines for failure to comply with the Duty to Report provisions of Chapter 17, 24 Del. C.

Senator Still moved, and Representative Valihura seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #28. Motion carried, unanimously.

30 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Executive Director be required to correspond with the complainant within one week of receiving the complaint and again in 90 days if there has been no action on the complaint. The Executive Director could be required to correspond again in 90 days and every 90 days thereafter, if the complaint has not been concluded or acted upon by the Executive Director, the Board, or the Department of Justice.

Representative DiLiberto moved, and Senator DeLuca seconded, a motion to amend recommendation #30 to change the word "could" in the sentence "The Executive Director could be required to correspond again in 90 days and every 90 days thereafter" to the word "should" for the sentence to read as follows. "The Executive Director should be required to correspond again in 90 days and every 90 days thereafter". Motion carried, unanimously.

Recommendation #30 amended: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Executive Director be required to correspond with the complainant within one week of receiving the complaint and again in 90 days if there has been no action on the complaint. The Executive Director should be required to correspond again in 90 days and every 90 days thereafter, if the complaint has not been concluded or acted upon by the Executive Director, the Board, or the Department of Justice.

Representative DiLiberto moved, and Senator DeLuca seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #30 as amended. Motion carried, unanimously.

31 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Executive Director be required to communicate with the Department of Justice, at least monthly, regarding the status of complaints that are in the offices of the Department of Justice, and to report back to the Board on the basis of the delay.

Senator Simpson moved, and Senator Still seconded a motion to accept recommendation #31. Motion carried, unanimously.

32 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Executive Director be required to keep a record of malpractice settlements against physicians (by physician) to detect any pattern in the matters that have resulted in the settlements.

Representative DiLiberto moved, and Representative Valihura seconded a motion to amend recommendation #32 by striking the word "malpractice" and inserting the words "medical negligence".

Recommendation #32 as amended: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a
condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Executive Director
be required to keep a record of medical negligence settlements against physicians (by
physician) to detect any pattern in the matters that have resulted in the settlements.

Representative DiLiberto moved, and Representative Valihura seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #32 as amended. Motion carried, unanimously.

33 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Executive Director be required to keep a record of the basis of the dismissed complaints against licensees to detect any pattern of action in the matters that have resulted in dismissal of the complaints.

Senator Still moved, and Representative Keeley seconded a motion to accept recommendation #33. Motion carried, unanimously.

34 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Board report back to the Sunset Committee on any issues regarding the investigation or disposition of complaints that may require statutory change in order to better protect the public from misconduct, incompetence or gross negligence on the part of a licensee.

Senator Sokola moved, and Senator Still seconded, a motion to accept recommendation # 34. Motion carried, unanimously.

35 The Joint Sunset Committee recommends, as a condition for continuation of the Board of Medical Practice, that the Board update its rules and regulations. The Board has been updating its rules and regulations.

Representative Keeley moved, and Senator DeLuca seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #35. Motion carried, unanimously.

Representative Ulbrich stated that after last week's meeting with the Medical Society that the committee had a greater degree of comfort with regard to the current status of reports that have been made. It appears that the initial information received from the Executive Director was inaccurate. The Committee has now been advised as to the correct information.

Senator Still asked Mr. Tischer, Deputy Attorney General, to bring the committee up to date on the Memorandum of Understanding, that is, how it came about and whether it was a legal process.

Mr. Tischer stated that the idea behind the MOU was to first regularize some of the process whereby the Board could have more access to technical support for the Executive Director and for the Board to get technical expertise. The second portion of the MOU is to increase the level of reporting to the Board. Senator Still asked Mr. Tischer if it was his recommendation to the Board to use the MOU process. Mr. Tischer stated that it was his recommendation to continue to use the MOU. Sen. Still stated that he couldn't remember that process explicitly or implicitly being authorized in the Code, and that was the committee's concern. Mr. Tischer stated that he thought that the process as such is indeed authorized under the Code; that the Board did not give up any thing to the Medical Society by entering into the MOU; and that the Board preserves all of the duties and obligations that it has to protect the public.

Representative Valihura stated that the committee had received from Mr. Tischer's office a memorandum that set forth in detail the basis upon which Mr. Tischer believed that the Board had the authorization to delegate its public investigation functions to a non-public entity. Mr. Tischer stated that what they did was suggest that they did have the authority. The Board members themselves were not going out and performing psychiatric evaluations or other evaluations. They were arranging to have them done and have reports brought back to them by the physicians that were evaluating the individuals.

Senator Simpson stated that he thought that the Board has the authority to contract with outside agencies or companies, provided that those companies bring it back to the Board. Senator DeLuca stated that it is the Board's responsibility to get the results and file the reports that come through.

Senator DeLuca suggested that they come up with statutory changes that clearly delineate the operating procedure from now on.

Senator Still stated the problem with the whole process lies with the [former] Executive Director; without that person being forthwith, sharing appropriate information with us, it has severely damaged the credibility process. Senator Still also stated, that he needs to have some assurance that an Executive Director is above reproach. He said that there is a process to deal with an Executive Director, to check on the Executive Director, to make sure we are getting the correct information.

Representative Valihura stated again that he wanted to reiterate that there is a statutory problem. It is not that the Medical Society of Delaware has done anything wrong in their service to the State of Delaware, the issue is whether it is permitted under the current Code.

Representative Ulbrich asked if there were any other questions or comments. Hearing none, she thanked everyone for coming and adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah A. Porter

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SUNSET COMMITTEE
ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR GAME & FISH
April 15, 2002


SUNSET COMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Representatives Stephanie A. Ulbrich, Deborah H. Hudson, and Anthony DeLuca, Senators George Bunting, Gary Simpson, Dave Sokola, and John Still.

SUNET COMMITTEE MEMBERS ABSENT: Representative Robert J. Vallihura, Jr. and Representative Helene Keeley.

ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT: Chairman, David Healey, H. Lloyd Alexander, Acting Director, Edward Montague, Verna Price, J. Richard Perry, Hugh Price, Jr., Garrett Arai, and John Ross Harris, Jr.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC: David Small, Hugh W. Price, Jr., Robert J. Leonard, and John W. Dewars. Also, Debbie Porter from Legislative Council.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the Sunset Committee is to review State Boards, Councils, Commissions, and Agencies who serve the public and to ensure that they are doing their jobs by maintaining the public’s interest at all times, and of course, that they adhere to the goals and/or missions as they are defined in the Code.

The Advisory Council for Game and Fish was called to order by the Chairman of the Sunset Committee, Representative Stephanie Ulbrich @ 5:37 p.m. She asked everyone if they had received their copy of the review. She explained that the review was the result of the information provided by the questionnaires that had previously been distributed. It was prepared by the Staff and is not the opinion of the Sunset Committee. This is an opportunity for anyone who has issues, or concerns, that they feel need to be addressed in relationship to the Code to do so. Meeting will remain open until all recommendations are completed. At the next meeting, they will be voting on the recommendations. That vote will require the support of seven members. The Sunset Committee is made of an equal division of both Democrats and Republicans and Senators and Representatives. The final report is then submitted to the Legislature, usually by May 30th.

At this time, David Healey, Chairman of the Council for Fish and Game thanked the Committee for their work. He has been on the Committee since 1987. He announced that the Council meets the last Tuesday of every month, and that the public is invited to attend and permitted to offer any recommendations, or concerns, they might have. H. Lloyd Alexander is the Acting Director of this Council and has been since November 2001.

Representative Ulbrich inquired how were members chosen to be part of the Fish & Game Commission. Mr. Alexander said they were appointed by the Governor and that began on April 1, 1970. She then announced that maybe it would be appropriate to change the name to Fish & Wildlife. Mr. Alexander replied that it would have to go through a review board, but he felt that this would be acceptable.

Senator Simpson asked what was their main function. The Council acts as the liaison between Fish & Wildlife and the public. They provide information and keep the public advised of any new changes that should be brought to their attention. The agenda for their meetings is obtained from the public’s need to be informed on new issues, or any subject that the public might want information on. It was explained that the Council serves as a buffer between the Division and the public. They compose motions which are forwarded on to the Division for their consideration.

Senator Still questioned whether the Council involves itself with Licensing. Mr. Healey replied that they do not. This is regulatory, but they might discuss increases in fees. Senator Still then inquired if they are ever involved in a licensing review and they do not. Also, does this Commission make restrictions on the size of the fish that can be caught? Mr. Healy replied yes through opinion and population capabilities and then they report findings to DNREC who follow their directives about 98% of the time.

Senator Still inquired as to how many of this Council served on other committees. The members served on several committees with Ducks Unlimited being the main Committee that most of them served on.

Representative Ulbrich asked what would be the most pressing issue? She knew that members are not compensated, but are appointed by the Governor. Members did question why it was necessary for them to pay the $4.50 charge to have the State Seal affixed to their Commission? It was understood that the members should be compensated for mileage and expenses, but no one seemed to do this.

Representative Ulbrich questioned whether or not the Statute should be changed to include the wording “Endangered Species”?

Senator Simpson inquired if we had received a Red Fox Survey? This is not one of the species that the Council is allowed to make recommendations on, as the control for this is specified through the General Assembly (red fox law). A large part of the public would like the Council to have control of this. The muskrat and the red fox are both controlled by the General Assembly.

Representative Ulbrich inquired how did it happen that 7 of the 10 council members terms are up at the same time? This occurred because the Governor just happened to approve them all on the same day, and another one just two days later. Would this be a concern if any should decide not to come back? Mr. Healy said it is not unusual to serve even though your term has expired – not only on this commission, but also on other boards or commissions as well. The Governor usually reappoints the members. The question arose as to whether they were concerned about chronic wasting disease? Mr. Healy replied that they do get inquiries regarding Lymes Disease. Senator DeLuca noted that their minutes are very accurate. Copies of the minutes are mailed by the Division and the minutes are also posted on their website

Bob Leonard of Newark a member of the public attending this meeting was then called upon. He represents the non-hunting public. He relocated from Massachusetts about 25 years ago, but he is proud to now live in Delaware. He read a newsletter that was distributed recently. He noticed that a majority of the Council is made up of hunters. 37% of the population has control over what the Commission does. In other words 37% makes the decisions for 100%. He spoke on non-lethal control as a means to control over-population of the species. Maryland has formed a taskforce to look into non-lethal control of wildlife. Two of the new council members should come from other groups – not hunters. Has worked on humane population control for wildlife such as Canadian Geese. There is no funding for wildlife management in Delaware. He mentioned that the Division of Fish & Wildlife has the responsibility of licensing dogs and dog control. The agency does not concentrate on the licensing of dogs, which could be a good source of revenue and a way to obtain funds for low cost spading of the animals. Representative Ulbrich thanked Mr. Leonard for his presentation and told him that his comments would be taken under advisement.

At this time, Representative Hudson had a few comments. She informed everyone that she also represents Greenville, as well as Hockessin, where they have had problems with deer especially. Lloyd came to several of their community meetings and came up with a solution to satisfy both groups. She couldn’t understand why anyone would think that Lloyd wasn’t respectful of your interest, Mr. Leonard. She informed Mr. Leonard that the Sunset Committee is unable to regulate funds. Suggestions such as this should be made to the Joint Finance Committee.

Representative Ulbrich stated that this is Advisory Council and they serve only in that capacity. The ultimate authority does not lie with the Council. Since several of the seats are expiring she suggested that Mr. Leonard submit his name to Governor Minner for consideration.

Senator Bunting stated that his area has an over population of deer. They create life-threatening situations. He referred to the many accidents caused by the deer, and the tremendous cost to the insurance industry. He also mention that where farmers lease their land for hunting purposes, they often stipulate that a hunter must kill a certain number of doe, or they will not be allowed to hunt his land again. Along with the deer, snow geese can create severe damage to crops. The greatest problem of pollution in the lake areas is caused by the over population of either Canadian, or snow geese. He told Mr. Leonard he would be very interested in his material. Mr. Leonard informed everyone that when we had the deer plan taskforce, we weren’t able to come up with a way to get an accurate estimate of the deer population. Years ago, deer were not the problem they are today. There weren’t the numbers that are encountered today.

Senator Still then asked Lloyd what is the Department’s position on this Council? Is there a Mission Statement? Lloyd said that they do have a Mission Statement. Senator Still inquired if the Division feels the Council represents only the hunting population, and what weight do they give to conservation of wildlife?

Mr. Healey replied that the job of the Council does not only pertain to the hunting season. He informed everyone that the Advisory Council was in the forefront in taking a conservative approach to the hunting season. Their job is not only to increase the hunting season – they have to take into account the population of the deer. Hunters have been encouraged to hunt doe as well as the trophy buck. Delaware is much more conservative than other states when they set a more conservative hunting season by reducing the amount of days and also the bag amount. Because of this they take a lot of heat from the hunters.

Verna Price added that she was a science teacher, conservationist, an environmentalist, biologist, and a hunter. She said that many facets are taken into consideration when the Council makes recommendations and one of the main ones was preserving open space.

Mr. Montague, a member of the Council, said that three of the members have worked with the Governor on dedicating open space. They helped preserve the land along the White Clay Creek. Lloyd has instituted a program to help the farmers. Hunting permits are issued when a farmer asks for help and shows that his crops are being badly damaged.

Senator Sokola said he wanted to thank everyone for volunteering. The number of cars on the road and the amount of development that is now present has caused members of his community to be scared. Land that hunters have been allowed to hunt on is now very close to residential areas. Residents of communities have found arrows and shells on their property. If hunting is a form of conservation, we need to be sure that this factor is taken into consideration. He hopes the Governor will take into consideration a member of the non-hunting public to become a member of the Council.

Representative Ulbrich announced that the record would remain open, as she had stated previously. She said the next meeting would probably be in another week or 10 days. Everyone will be notified. She thanked everyone for coming. She announced that if anyone should have any other concerns that they would like to have addressed they should contact her.

Respectfully submitted,
Jean C. Ardis, Secretary
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Joint Sunset Committee Public Hearing Minutes
Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Control Commission
April 18, 2002
House Minority Caucus Room

MEMBERS PRESENT: Chair Stephanie Ulbrich, Senator F. Gary Simpson, Representative Robert J. Valihura

MEMBERS ABSENT: Vice Chair Anthony J. DeLuca, Senators John C. Still, III, David P. Sokola, George H. Bunting, Representatives Deborah D. Hudson, Helene M. Keeley, Richard A. DiLiberto

OTHERS PRESENT: Jack Cordrey, Commissioner of Alcohol Beverage Control,
Robert A. Wiest, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner

Rep. Ulbrich opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. John Cordrey, Commissioner of Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control addressed the Committee concerning staffing. There are currently seven full time employees including one shared computer technician that has been casual/seasonal. The positions are as follows: Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Licensing Paralegal, an Information Systems Support Specialist, Secretary, Licensing Investigator, and Typist/Receptionist. The casual/seasonal employee who assisted in reviewing and updating the computer and paper files has left the position. There are numerous hearings on protests and violations that need to be reviewed. It has been requested that a full time employee (pay grade 10 or 11) is needed in the office. Rep. Valihura asked if the office is under the Governor’s mandate not to rehire someone for this position at this time. Mr. Cordrey said he cannot rehire if a position is vacated.

Rep. Valihura asked if the budget has been cut in other ways. Mr. Cordrey stated that they have tried to not overspend. Stop sign warning decals had to be reordered because they have run out of them. They did not send out the new document books this year to the licensees. The only changes in the book were the four statutes the General Assembly passed last July. Rep. Ulbrich asked if there are plans to update the book to include the changes. Mr. Cordrey said they will be updating the book. The cost for the updating would be around $15,000. When the licensees renew, they pay $40, which covers most of the cost. Rep. Valihura and Rep. Ulbrich asked if the cost could be increased. The rules and regulations need to be updated as well. In the near future new rules will be adopted. Usually it is a separate document and it was suggested to add the rules and statutes in the same book. If any changes are made, the book should be updated yearly. It is projected that the updated books to be sent in November or December of 2002. Rep. Valihura stated that the licensees should be charged more for the publication.

Rep. Ulbrich asked when was the last increase of license fees. Mr. Weist said there had been no changes in the last 13 years since he has worked there. Mr. Cordrey said the current fees are $500 every two years and a Sunday license is an additional $400. Rep. Ulbrich asked what the standards are in other states. Rep. Valihura said an increase would help support funding and staffing. To date $470,000 has been taken in. Mr. Cordrey said he would inform the committee by next Tuesday with information on the change of the fees.
.

Rep. Ulbrich asked about the workload increase. The large number of violations have been consistent in volume but the number of protests have increased. Rep. Valihura asked if transfers take place before the sale or at the same time. If one party wants to purchase the license, they would have to apply to the Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Commission and be approved. The difficulty is sometimes the interim period when the new owner wants to get in and start operating. A temporary license (good for 90 days) can be issued only if the previous owner surrenders their license. If there was a protest, a license would not be given until the protest was settled.

Mr. Cordrey announced that he is 98% sure that the Northern State Conference of Liquor Administrations will be held October 29, 30 & 31, 2002 at the Atlantic Sands in Rehoboth Beach. The states attending are Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. This is a good chance to keep updated on how other states are administrating their programs. The National Association of State Liquor Controllers conference rotates every year and the money is generated by the National Association. This will bring some extra revenue into Delaware.

Rep. Valihura asked if everything is working well with the Department of Enforcement. Mr. Cordrey said there are no major problems and they have been very helpful. The Department of Enforcement is the prosecutor. If there is a report of a problem, Mr. Wiest will pass it on to the Enforcement Division. There is regular communication between the two departments. There are records of the communications between the two.

Mr. Cordrey and Mr. Weist attended a meeting with the Newark City Council Alcohol Commission. If the General Assembly chooses to change the charter, the city can do anything that is more restrictive than the State law. Sen. Simpson asked if the
State Police would follow the rules of the city or the State laws. The Newark Police would follow the city laws. Mr. Weist said it would possibly depend if the case was held in the State Court or the Municipal Court. The agents (Cops in Shops) check the licensees to see if they sell to the under aged. In the Enforcement Division, there is a lack of agents due to the low pay scale. It was stated that it would be a good idea to increase the pay scale for the agents. The increase in fees may help with this problem.

Rep. Ulbrich advised Mr. Cordrey that if there are any other issues that come up to feel free to contact the Committee. She asked to meet again next week with the report on fees from Mr. Cordrey. Rep. Valihura asked if Don Bowman could come to the next meeting. Rep. Ulbrich thanked everyone and adjourned the meeting at 1:05 p.m.

Respectively submitted,
Dolores S. Michels, Secretary
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Joint Sunset Committee Public Hearing Minutes
Delaware Human Relations
April 15, 2002, 7:30 p.m.


MEMBERS PRESENT: Chair Stephanie Ulbrich, Vice Chair Anthony J. DeLuca,
Senators John C. Still, III, F. Gary Simpson,
MEMBERS ABSENT: Representatives Helene M. Keeley, Robert J. Valihura,
Richard A. DiLiberto

OTHERS PRESENT: Calvin Christopher, Connie Luciani, Shirley C. Horowitz, Sharese C. McGhee, Sheryl Paquette, Juana Boules,
Rep. Ulbrich opened the meeting at 7:25 p.m. by welcoming everyone. The report drafted by the staff will be discussed. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers, suggestions and comments. An opportunity for the public to comment will follow. The record will remain open until the next meeting. The Committee will consider those recommendations prepared by staff based on the information that is obtained from today’s meeting. The Committee will consider those recommendations only when those recommendations have received a minimum of 7 votes from the Joint Sunset Committee, do they become the formal Delaware Code to be presented to the General Assembly as of May 30th of this year. The second meeting when the Committee votes on the recommendations, is open, but it is not an opportunity for public input or input from the Commission.

Mr. Christopher, Chair of the State Human Relations offered his comments and a copy is included with the minutes.

Rep. Ulbrich asked if the Commission is balanced politically. Mr. Christopher stated that the Commission is diverse in class not by political affiliation. The Commission make-up is a cross-section of the Delaware community in race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion and persons with disabilities.

Rep. Ulbrich noted that on page 2 of the draft, the last part of the sentence in quotes should read “without reasonable excuse to the chairperson”.

Rep. Ulbrich asked Mr. Christopher if he had any comments on the attendance at meetings. Mr. Christopher said there is a significant challenge that requires the Commission to have equal representation throughout the State (all three counties). Sen. Sokola asked if there is a requirement for members from the City of Wilmington or City of Dover, etc. The requirement is for 7 members from each county not singling out the cities. The Commission meets once a month. There are many commissioners that are working on projects outside of the meetings even if they are not attending. Rep. Ulbrich asked if there is a record that is being kept of this outside work. Mr. Christopher said yes, it is reflected in the minutes. It seems the attendance is poor at the meetings. The Joint Sunset Committee (JSC) feels it is important for good attendance at these meetings and would like to know what is being done about it. Mr. Christopher said they are trying to streamline the meetings to include the regular meeting and also the working meetings. Sen. DeLuca stated in the 1986 review of the Commission was a condition that was if any Commissioner failed to attend 3 consecutive meetings they would be replaced. Rep. Ulbrich stated that the requirements adopted in the 1986 review for meeting attendance had not been met or corrected.

Rep. Ulbrich asked for someone to explain the difference between an executive committee meeting and a full commission meeting. In the report it states that there are different numbers of meetings for different years. Executive Committee meetings are held monthly and all committee members who are able to attend are invited. Executive members are the chairpersons of the standing Committee.

In the report on page 4, the word “cooperate” may need to be changed to something stronger since the Commission is charged with authority and responsibility for administrating the Delaware Equal Accommodations Law and the Delaware Fair Housing Act. Also, the word “may” should be changed because of the responsibilities of the Commission.

Rep. Ulbrich asked when the term for members expire, are the members automatically renewed or are they asked to continue to serve until a new person is appointed. Mr. Christopher said when a term expires, the Governor’s Office reappoints a replacement. There are several vacancies that the Governor has not replaced.

Meetings are now being held at the Delaware State University (handicapped accessible) which is centrally located. Rep. Hudson inquired since there are three different kinds of meetings, are they all open to the public. Mr. Christopher said all of the meetings are open to the public. There has been some confusion on the Committee meetings that were not full committee meetings and were not advertised as being open to the public. The full commission and executive committee meetings are always open to the public. Ms. Hoffman stated all of the meetings are required to be open to the public including the hearing with the exception of the deliberations in the case decision which are exempt from the public meeting due to the Freedom of Information Act. Sen. DeLuca asked why (page 3) the May 15th meeting was a closed-door meeting. It was not a full commission meeting but a sub-committee meeting. There was a full commission meeting in May.

Rep. Ulbrich stated that the Commission has established By-laws for conducting business. The Commission does not have the power to adopt by-laws. Ms. Hoffman offered some comments on this and it will be included in the written response presented to the JSC.

Rep. Ulbrich brought up the comment (page 7) “it is often not clear where the responsibilities of the Commission end and the responsibilities of the Division commence.” This needs to be addressed. Mr. Christopher said the investigative portion is handled by the Division and the hearings are handled by the Commission. Rep. Hudson asked how many sit on the board to hear complaints. Ms. Horowitz said 3 members, the Chair and 2 Commissioners (that are appropriately picked by the Chair). Sen. DeLuca commented that it is hard on everyone (including the public) since the Division does the investigation and the Commission makes the decision. They both work closely together but there is still a separation. Rep. Ulbrich asked who handles the conciliation process. The Office of Human Relations does. If the conciliation process is not successful then the appeal goes before the Commission. Ms. Horowitz said the Commission is not given any investigative information before the hearing. Rep. Ulbrich asked how many cases do the investigators handle in a year. For the year 2001 there were 126 cases for housing and 320 in public accommodations. Sen. Bunting asked what differences are noticed in the amount of violations in the past year. Ms. Bowles answered that the Office of Human Relations is doing a better job but last year was the highest number of violations they have had. She said to educate the people not to do the violations by means of media would help. Ms. Horowitz mentioned awareness is essential. She shared a story of when she moved to Delaware and could not purchase a home because she was Jewish. Sen. Bunting said the issues today are very different. Ms. Bowles said the last 3 years in housing cases were due to race and disabilities. Public accommodations were mostly race. Sen. Simpson asked if drug addiction is considered a condition in housing. Ms. Bowles said no.

Some of the cases were discussed because of different settlements. The differences were because of the conciliation by mutual agreement. Rep. Ulbrich asked what the next step would be if an attempt is made to conciliate and one chooses not to conciliate. Ms. Bowles explained that in a public accommodation (P.A.) case, the Office of Human Relations schedules a hearing. During this time, the conciliation efforts are still being worked. The case is not published in the papers if there is a conciliation. Rep. Ulbrich asked what percent age is of cases are conciliated. Ms. Bowles said with the public accommodations it is 80% and with housing it is 70%. There was a discussion concerning disabled accommodations. Rep. Ulbrich asked what happens when the case is not able to be conciliated and goes to court, is it publicized? Ms. Bowles said the case status is public information.

Sen. Bunting asked how many staff members are there. There are 10 employees consisting of 5 investigators (statewide), 3 clerical, 1 director and (cannot hear the last one).

Rep. Hudson asked to explain “approved by Commissioner” and “not approved by Commission” meant. The director of that division has the power to sign-off.

Ms. Kraft brought up the issue of too few of the Commissioners are willing to serve on adjudication panels. She believes they should be ousted from the Commission.

Rep. Ulbrich suggested that there should be a court reporter to record the proceedings. There should be serious efforts made to explain what the duties are for the Commission. Ms. Launay suggested the duties be explained to the individuals as they are appointed to the Commission.

Rep. Ulbrich brought up the subject that remunerate Commissioners serving on hearing panels receive $50/day up to a maximum of $500 in any calendar year. It was brought up that this doesn’t cover the expenses of going to the hearings. Ms. Bowles said the Commission doesn’t have a separate budget; everything is paid for by the Division.

Sen. DeLuca brought up a concern that there should be some basic criteria for a case to go forward even to the point of reconciliation. It seems to be unreasonable for one settlement payment to be $1,000 and another similar case to be $10,000. With this much difference there should be consistency across the board for the investigators. Ms. Hoffman said that these settlements are not the decision of the panels and the investigator cannot give guidelines. It is up to the parties themselves and with the guidance of their attorneys. There may not be a solution for the amount on the agreement. (Some recommendations will be presented in the written response.) One cannot have discrimination in the process. Sen. Simpson asked if the cases are conciliated, are they reported in the paper. Ms. Bowles said that in the last 20 years, maybe 10 cases have been in the paper. The business needs an attorney present and it is the business’ decision to give a certain amount.

Rep. Ulbrich asked what qualifications the investigators need to have. Ms. Bowles said it is mandatory to have training once a year, internal and external.

Rep. Ulbrich said there was some effort to add a level between the conciliation and the hearing. There was some discussion of the regulations. In housing, the Division can say you have no cause and the case is dismissed. The person can take their complaint to the Superior Court, they do not have to go through the commission. Public accommodation is different, they do not have that option. The only way for them to get to Superior Court is on an appeal of review, which is on the record of the Human Relations Commission hearing. It is important that in the dismissal of a case, if the commission has no jurisdiction or fails to state a claim, there would be a new mechanism that the corporation would not have to get an attorney or the business could apply to the Commission for an order to dismiss it. If they have a signed order, they can take it up on appeal if they want. If the Division refuses to take a case, they cannot take it up on an appeal. The Commission is trying to find a way to allow them to get a dismissal before it gets to the full hearing. The Commission will submit a recommendation regarding this. Sen. Sokola asked what percentage of complainants have an attorney. Ms. Hoffman said the percentage is very low. It was discussed that discrimination is a serious crime and by having an attorney present, the complainant may have received more money than a complainant who does not have an attorney. Should the people who do not have an attorney be getting more advice? The Commission tries to educate all of the representatives with all of the options. Sen. Bunting stated that it is not the company’s policy that is not at fault, it is the employee who does not follow the policy.

Sen. DeLuca asked for some explanation for attachment 3, page 3, item 20. Why is it discrimination for roof work and repair? It was possible that another person of different age/national origin had repairs done correctly and this person did not. It is requested to find out what actually happened in this case.

Mr. Gray had a comment regarding remuneration of commissioners, that there has not been an adjustment in 15 years. Rep. Ulbrich said the JSC would check with other boards and make some evaluations on the findings.

Rep. Ulbrich thanked everyone and felt that some very important issues were discussed. The record will remain open. Everyone will be notified of the date of the next meeting. Rep. Ulbrich adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.
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JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION MEETING
for the
DELAWARE PSYCHIATRIC CENTER
Monday. April 15, 2002
2:00 P.M.


Members Present: Representative Stephanie A. Ulbrich, Chair, Sen. Anthony J. DeLuca, Vice-Chair; Senators George H. Bunting, David P. Sokola, John C. Still, F. Gary Simpson; Representatives Helene M. Keeley Members Absent: Representatives Deborah D. Hudson, Robert J. Valihura, Jr., Richard A. DiLiberto, Jr.

Others Present: Michael S. Talmo, DPC Director; Renata J. Henry, DSAMH Director, Theodore G. Mermigos, DHSS Office of the Secretary, Guy Perrotti, DPC

Chair Representative Ulbrich called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. and welcomed everyone. Representative Ulbrich asked for discussion on the draft recommendations for the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

1. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the, Delaware Psychiatric
Center be continued upon the Center's compliance with the recommendations
made by the Joint Sunset Committee. The Center would be required to report to
the Joint Sunset Committee in writing by September 15 and again by December
30 on the status of the Center's compliance with the Sunset Committee
recommendations.

Sen. Sokola moved, and Sen. DeLuca seconded a motion to delete first sentence. Yes - 7, Motion carried.

1. Recommendation #1 as amended: The Center would be required to report to the Joint Sunset Committee in writing by September 15 and again by December 30 on the status of the Center's compliance with the Sunset Committee recommendations.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation No.1.as amended Yes - 7. Motion carried.

2. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the review of the PM46 process (Investigation of Complaints of abuse, mistreatment, and/or neglect.)

Recommendation #2 - The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the review of the PM46 process (Investigation of Complaints of abuse, mistreatment, and/or neglect.)

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Bunting seconded a motion to accept recommendation #2. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

3. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of mentally ill prisoners, who
are released and who need psychotropic medicine. (Testimony indicated that
prescriptions often expire before prisoners are seen by the Continuous Treatment
Teams GTTs).

Recommendation #3: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of mentally ill prisoners, who
are released and who need psychotropic medicine.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #3. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

4. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Center's investigation into the sexual assault by a Mitchell building prisoner on the psychological intern that occurred in January, 2002.

Sen. Sokola moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to amend recommendation #4 to include "all reports are to be forwarded to the Committee".
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

Recommendation #4: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Center's investigation into the sexual assault by a Mitchell building prisoner on the psychological intern that occurred in January, 2002. All reports are to be forwarded to the Committee.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #4 as amended. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

5. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of PM46 investigations that have occurred since the hiring of the new investigator for the Center.

Recommendation #5: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of PM46 investigations that have occurred since the hiring of the new investigator for the Center.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #5
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

6. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Office of State Personnel review of the pay grades of the Center's nursing staff.
Discussion: Rep. Ulbrich asked where the process was in reviewing the status of nursing staff pay grade. Renata J. Henry, Director DSAMH reported the review was underway and Personnel was moving forward with pay information. Rep. Ulbrich asked to have information when it is made available to DPC then forwarded to the Joint Sunset Committee.

Recommendation #6: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Office of State Personnel review of the pay grades of the Center's nursing staff.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #6
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

7. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center continue to update the Sunset Committee on the rewriting of the job description for psychiatric technicians - or a new job description for a comparable position that would include basic minimum education requirements.

Discussion: Sen. Sokola asked for clarification of Office of State Personnel information. Renata J. Henry, Director of DSAMH reported the process is on-going.

Recommendation #7: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center continue to update the Sunset Committee on the rewriting of the job description for psychiatric technicians - or a new job description for a comparable position that would include basic minimum education requirements.

Rep. Ulbrich moved and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #7
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

8. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been released or referred to the case of Continuous Treatment Teams (CTTs).

Discussion: Sen. Sokola asked what information the DPC has available and what information is not currently available. DPC should tell the Joint Sunset Committee what information is unavailable. Renata J. Henry, Director of DSAMH reported that the DPC involvement ends when patients are released from the program. Any report on released patients inaccurate because of lack of information on patients when released. Rep. Ulbrich asked for information regarding number of patients released or referred when it is available to DPC. Ms. Henry reported that a satisfaction survey is in the process of implementation and will ask target consumers to rate the satisfaction of life once released into a community living. Michael S. Talmo, Director of DPC noted DPC talks to group homes on a regular basis and the homes know when consumers released.

Sen. Sokola moved, and Sen. DeLuca seconded a motion to amend recommendation #8 by deleting the words released or from the motion. Yes - 7 Motion carried.

Recommendation #8 to read as follows: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been referred to the case of Continuous Treatment Teams (CTTs).

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #8 as amended. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

9. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the efforts to integrate services and continuity of care for patients, who have been discharged from the Center.

10. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center
update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been discharged from
the Center to group homes since January 2001.

Discussion: Joint Sunset Committee would like information on how the system is working. The Committee would like to be informed of the outcomes of the consumer surveys. The Committee would also like to know if possible the instances of patients going to prison. Ms. Henry reported that those statistics are not available due to lack of communication with Department of Correction's system.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Rep. Keeley seconded a motion to combine recommendations #9 and #10 into one motion. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

Recommendation #9 & 10 combined: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the efforts to integrate services and continuity of care for patients, who have been discharged from the Center. And update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients who have been discharged from the Center to group homes since January 2001.

11. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center (or Department of Health and Social Services) establish the Human Rights Committee in the policies of the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

Recommendation #11: Without further information, address the Human Rights Committee at a later date.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. DeLuca seconded a motion to consider recommendation #11 at a later date. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

12. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center
update the Sunset Committee on the status of efforts to address issues raised via the
Patient Rights Committee in conjunction with Delaware Psychiatric Center Policy RI-33
on Patient Abuse, Neglect, Mistreatment, and Serious Injury and Delaware Psychiatric
Center Policy RI 12 on the Complaint Resolution Process for Patients and Families.

Rep. Ulbrich asked if the Patient Rights Committee was an existing entity in the hospitals. Ms. Henry replied the Patient Rights Committee is an already existing entity. Rep. Ulbrich asked for updates when they are made available.

Recommendation #12: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of efforts to address issues raised via
the Patient Rights Committee in conjunction with Delaware Psychiatric Center Policy
RI-33 on Patient Abuse, Neglect, Mistreatment, and Serious Injury and Delaware
Psychiatric Center Policy RI 12 on the Complaint Resolution Process for Patients and
Families.

Rep. Ulbrich moved and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #12.
Yes - 7. Motion carried.


13. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the issue of nursing homes who send patients to the Delaware Psychiatric Center rather than correctly diagnosing the patients' problems. (The Center often encounters difficulties in returning those patients to the nursing home due to the facility's refusal to accept the patient).

Discussion: Rep. Ulbrich asked for an update on the problem. Ms. Henry reported the problem had been addressed and significant strides have been made. The situation has been reversed and now patients are in proper nursing homes. Sen. DeLuca asked if the problem was solved. Ms. Henry reported the cases of improper placement have been significantly reduced.

Amendment: Replace the original recommendation with: Update the Joint Sunset Committee on the problem if it currently exists. If problem is no longer apparent then report if problem increases in the future. Motion: Sen. DeLuca Second - Rep. Ulbrich

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Rep. Keeley seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #13 as amended. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

Recommendation #13 as amended: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the issue of nursing homes who sent patients to the Delaware Psychiatric Center rather than correctly diagnosing the patients' problems if they currently exist. If problems no longer exist then report if problems increase in the future.


14. Change the reporting to dates to September 15, 2002 and December 30, 2002 for all requested materials.

Sen. DeLuca moved, and Rep. Ulbrich a motion to change the reporting dates to September 15, 2002 and December 30, 2002 for all requested materials. 7 - Yes. Motion carried..


Ms. Henry asked the Committee to clarify what the Committee asked to receive under Motion #3. DPC does not get information from DOC regarding prisoners with mental illness or who are taking psychotropic drugs. Information is dependent on DOC conveying the status of prisoners being released to DPC. DPC and Doc are now working to refine the process so that DOC knows when DPC should be alerted to a prisoner release. Rep. Ulbrich asked DPC to continue to work with DOC to improve the process.

Sen. Bunting asked Ms. Henry about mental patients transportation in Sussex County. He commented that Sussex County Police are often strained to transport mentally impaired people. He asked what progress has been made to relieve that burden. Ms. Henry commented that Nanticoke closed its Psychological unit and now the only unit under contract is Bayhealth.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Rep. Keeley seconded, a motion to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned 3:00 P.M.

Minutes recorded by Alex Mull.

JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
FOR THE
DELAWARE PSYCHIATRIC CENTER

1) The center would be required to report to the Joint Sunset Committee in writing by September 15th and again by December 30th on the status of the Center's compliance with the Sunset Committee recommendations.

2) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the review of the PM46 process (Investigation of Complaints of abuse, mistreatment, and/or neglect.)

3) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of mentally ill prisoners, who are released and who need psychotropic medicine.

4) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Center's investigation tnto the sexual assault by Mitchell building prisoner on the psychological intern that occurred in January, 2002. All reports are to be forwarded to the Committee.

5) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of PM46 investigations that have occurred since the hiring of the new investigator for the Center.

6) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Office of State Personnel review of the pay grades of the Center's nursing staff.

7) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center continue to update the Sunset Committee on the rewriting of the job description for psychiatric technicians, or a new job description for a comparable position that would include basic minimum education requirements.

8) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been referred to the case of Continuous Treatment Teams (CTTs).

9) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the efforts to integrate services and continuity of care for patients, who have been discharged from the Center. And update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients who have be discharged from the Center to group homes since January 2001.


10) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of efforts to address issues raised via the Patients Rights Committee in conjunction with Delaware Psychiatric Center Policy RI-33 on Patient Abuse, neglect, Mistreatment, and Serious Injury and Delaware Psychiatric Center Policy RI 12 on the on the Complaint Resolution Process for Patients and Families.

11) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the issue of nursing homes who sent patients to the Delaware Psychiatric Center rather than correctly diagnosing the patients' problems if they currently exist. If problems no longer exist then report if problems increase in the future.

12) The Joint Sunset Committee recommends changing the reporting dates for all requested material to Sept. 15th and December 30th.
**********************************************************************

MINUTES
Joint Sunset Committee
New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium Public Hearing
April 15, 2002

This hearing was called to order at 3:12pm by Co-Chairperson Representative Ulbrich. Other committee members in attendance included Co-Chairperson Senator Deluca, Representative Keeley, Senator Simpson, Senator Sokola and Senator Bunting. All members of the New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium Board were present, including its Co-Chairpersons, Karen Foster of the Colonial School District, and Vaughn Lauer of the Appoquinimink School District, as well as members Kittie Rehrig of the Brandywine School District, Iris Vinokur of the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District, Mark Zawislak of the Red School District, and Yvette Santiago and Gina Johnson of the Christina School District. For others present, please see Attendance Sheet.

Co-Chairperson Ulbrich commenced the hearing by introducing herself and explaining the responsibility of the Joint Sunset Committee. Following introductions from the other committee members and members of the New Castle County Alternative Education Consortium (NCCAEC), Chairperson Ulbrich explained that the meeting would consist of a review of the Draft Report prepared by the committee's staff, with active feedback encouraged from Consortium members and members of the public. The Chairperson also noted that the record would remain open for feedback and comments until the committee held its Recommendation meeting, after which the Joint Sunset Committee would prepare a final report to be submitted to the General Assembly.

Consortium Co-Chairperson Karen Foster provided a brief overview of the Consortium, noting that the task given to the Consortium by the School Districts' Superintendents, as established in Title 14, Section 1604 of the Delaware Code, is to apply for state funds and to contract for and oversee the programs for alternative education and related services for more severe discipline problems. Foster noted that the Districts had indicated from the beginning that they could not operate such an alternative education program themselves, so the decision was made to seek the services of an outside contractor. Foster explained that the Consortium, in compliance with Delaware law, periodically solicits and receives competitive proposals from vendors, evaluates them, and selects one or more to operate an educational program for students whose behavior makes them disruptive to the regular schools of the county.

Once a vendor or vendors has been selected, the Consortium works with them as well as the representatives from the Department of Education to ensure that students are being served appropriately. Most placements in the alternative program are for a limited time. While students are involved in the alternative education program, they remain enrolled in their home school districts, and are generally expected to return to regular schools.

Co-Chairperson Foster continued her introductory statement, noting that in addition to the county programs, the Consortium was given responsibility last summer for the pilot statewide alternative program outlined in the Budget Bill. Although that contract was through the state, the NCCAES has day-to-day responsibility. Foster then noted the benefits of the alternative education program, which allows instruction to proceed without serious disruption, and provides small classes and individualized attention to help service the needs of students with severe behavioral problems.

Foster next noted that NCCAEC membership duties are but a small part of members' overall responsibilities in their school districts. The members have generally been pleased with the services provided by the Consortium. Foster also informed the committee that the Consortium had recently hired a part time administrator on 1 March 2002 in cooperation with the Department of Education, to assist with this year's addition of a second program and to oversee some employee turnover with their primary vendor. Foster expressed hope that the addition of this staff member will help the Consortium to gather additional data to improve the alternative education program.

Co-Chairperson Foster next turned her attention to the Draft Report prepared by the Joint Sunset Committee's staff. Foster noted that much of the data contained in the report was from the Connelly report, and so was three years old and based on a statewide evaluation not specific to New Castle County.

Committee Co-Chairperson Ulbrich began the committee's questioning of the Consortium, citing the mission of the NCCAEC outlined in the Draft Report, and asking whether the Consortium is achieving its goal of integrating students with severe behavioral problems back into a regular school setting whenever possible. Foster noted in response that the students enrolled in the alternative education program are tracked by individual School Districts, and so she offered to speak on behalf of her District, Colonial, noting that only two out of approximately sixty students in the past year chose to drop out from their regular schools upon returning.

Senator Bunting then inquired whether there was any data available showing how many students who returned to their regular schools then graduated. Yvette Santiago from the Christina School District stated that each District maintained the data individually. Co-Chairperson Ulbrich requested that the Consortium collect such data and provide it to the committee.

Next, Co-Chairperson Ulbrich asked what sort of requirements were included in contracts between the Consortium and the vendors it hires to run New Castle County's alternative schools. Consortium member Mark Zawislak, of Red Clay School District, responded that such requirements are developed by the Consortium in accordance with State law, and are included in the Request for Funding Proposal (RFP). Co-Chairperson Ulbrich requested a copy of the RFP for the committee.

Senator Simpson then asked how the Districts insure that the alternative schools are following state educational standards. Consortium Co-Chair Lauer responded that alternative schools follow state educational guidelines, as do regular schools. Fellow Co-Chair Foster added that the students enrolled in alternative schools also take the same statewide exams as other students.

Senator Simpson then asked whether anyone was checking to ensure that the alternative schools were aligning with state standards. Consortium Co-Chair Lauer responded that the Consortium receives reports on students throughout the year.

Next, Senator Simpson inquired whether the Consortium has trouble finding placement room for students. Co-Chair Foster responded that the Consortium is prohibited by law to place a cap on the number of students it serves, however vendors cannot be expected to bid on a contract to provide service to an unlimited number of students. Instead, the Consortium calculates an optimal number of students to be served given the staffing levels and facilities available. The Districts of New Castle County then work cooperatively to not exceed that optimal level of students, dividing up slots for students proportionately based on each District's needs.

Senator Sokola posed the committee's next question, asking about the levels of disciplinary action taken by the Consortium and the county's schools. Co-Chair Foster replied that this issue is decided at the District level, and that all districts look upon disciplinary action as a continuum. Only when schools have exhausted other alternatives for misbehaving students do they proceed with alternative education.

Senator Bunting then expressed his concern about the seemingly low dollar amount spent on each student in New Castle County's alternative schools. As he read the figure of 300-350 students enrolled in these schools, cited in the Draft Report, Co-Chair Foster claimed that that figure was based on statewide, rather than New Castle County data. Co-Chair Lauer added that the figure also included students who stayed less than a full year at the alternative schools.

Senator Bunting further inquired what the dollar figure spent per alternative school student was. Co-Chair Foster then added that the varying length of stay of students has prevented the Consortium from calculating such data. Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich then inquired whether the Consortium could provide a daily cost for the program, to which Co-Chair Foster replied that the annual cost of $2 million could simply be divided by 180 days of the school year, and the days of the summer session. Co-Chair Ulbrich also asked what the average enrollment was in the schools, and Foster replied that she would have to figure out the capacity of the schools.

Senator Sokola inquired about the Consortium's use of funds leftover from the 180-day alternative education program. Co-Chair Foster responded that the use of such "extra time money" varies by District, and that the Colonial School District used such money for transportation expenses.

Co-Chair Foster also clarified for Senator Sokola that there was a summer program in 2001, as there had been in previous years.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next noted that the Draft Report showed that the New Beginnings Elementary and Middle Schools had a maximum of 90 students, and asked how many students were enrolled there presently. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that the Consortium had received enrollment reports two weeks earlier but did not have them with her. Co-Chair Ulbrich requested the enrollment number for these schools, as well as for the other New Beginnings Upper School.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next asked the Consortium to describe the new Quest Academy. Consortium member Santiago replied that the Academy is run by the vendor Vision Quest. The school enforces a strict dress code, and has a structured academic program and small classrooms. It focuses on behavior modifications and group counseling, and seeks to provide not only adequate services but also to emphasize successful student transitions back to regular schools. Co-Chair Ulbrich then asked how the Consortium determines which students it sends to the Quest Academy and which it sends to the other New Beginnings schools. Consortium member Santiago responded that the location of students' placements depends upon each student's particular behavioral history and age as well as the current availability of student slots at the different alternative schools.

Senator Bunting next asked whether the alternative schools provide psychological counseling to students. Consortium member Rehrig responded that students in all of the alternative schools are offered group counseling and specific behavioral counseling, but that individual counseling is handled though Districts.

Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich inquired next about the types of evaluations undertaken by the Consortium of the alternative education program. First she asked whether there would be an evaluation report on the three-year pilot program that gave rise to the Quest Academy this year. Co-Chair Foster responded that the Consortium's recently hired staff member will help to collect data to prepare such a report. However, she noted that the Consortium had not developed a formal reporting or evaluative process, but produced only informal monthly reports.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next commented that the Joint Sunset Committee had heard much about disciplinary problems being among the greatest problems interfering with students' education, and stated the Committee's desire to receive information about students on a regular basis to be sure they are receiving a quality education.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next noted that average number of courses taken by alternative school students was 3.7, according to the Connelly Report. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that many of the regular programs offered at alternative schools are only basic programs, and that electives were not usually offered. Typically, continued Foster, students take four courses, and less often five courses, in a given year in alternative school.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next cited the Connelly Report's data which shows that roughly 75% of students transitioning to regular schools dropped out within their first year upon returning. Consortium Co-Chair Foster felt that the current data for her District, the Colonial School District, was not at all similar to the data in from the Connelly Report. Lauer confirmed that Appoquininmink District has roughly the same, low number of students dropping out following their transition back to regular school. He stated that his District does not have the failure rates indicated by the Connelly Report. Consortium member Zawislak suggested that the definition of "successful completion" was not clearly defined, and that perhaps those students who were transferred outside of the regular school and into a GED or related program were not being counted as having been successful. Consortium Co-Chair Foster then expressed her surprise at the high drop out rates cited by the Connelly Report, as she felt that the number of students who could drop out of school was limited since most of the students served by the alternative education program are under 16, and so cannot legally drop out of school.

Senator Sokola next asked under what circumstances a student might be refused reentry into regular school, following approval from his alternative schools and related educational administrators for his transition. Such refusals were cited to occur rarely in the Connelly Report. Consortium members Santiago and Vinokur indicated that there was much collaboration between alternative school and regular school officials to ensure a timely transition of students back to regular schools, and were not aware of any instance when a student was not allowed to return to his regular school. None of the other members were aware of such an instance.

Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich next asked about absenteeism at the alternative schools. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that absenteeism is factored into students' stay at alternative schools. In order for students to successfully complete their stay at the school, they must have had satisfactory attendance. Consortium member Lauer added that not only does the Consortium receive monthly attendance records from the alternative schools, but also it is contacted if there are any severe individual attendance problems. Several members also added that the same state truancy rules apply at alternative schools as those that apply at regular schools.

Co-Chair Ulbrich next inquired whether the Consortium required alternative school staff development programs. Consortium Co-Chair Foster responded that the staff are required to have training in certain areas, outlined in the RFP, and are encouraged to seek additional training. Regular staff development days are scheduled throughout the year.

Co-Chair Deluca then asked whether there were certification requirements for students, and Co-Chair Foster replied that only special education instructors were required to hold certification. Foster added that all other alternative school teachers need only be eligible for certification, because they are working for a private contractor and so need not be processed by the state. Co-Chair Deluca narrowed his question, asking whether alternative school teachers could be said to be qualified as teachers in regular schools. Co-Chair Foster affirmed that the teachers are comparably qualified.

Co-Chair Ulbrich then asked how many teachers in the alternative schools were qualified to teach their subjects. Consortium member Zawislak responded the Department of Education is responsible for approving the qualifications of the alternative school vendors and their teachers.

Next, Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich asked who reviews the Consortium's budget. Consortium Co-Chair Foster stated that all of the members review the annual budget, and that the Consortium's Fiscal Agent, currently the Finance Director of the Appoquinimink School District, advises the members and assists with the negotiation of the budget.

Next Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich asked about the Consortium's hiring of School Resource Officers (SRO). Consortium Co-Chair Foster noted that despite having contracted for a SRO to be provided from the Wilmington Police, the city police did not assign an officer for several months, and even then did not assign a single full-time officer, but instead various officers on overtime. Foster did not believe that such an assignment served the same function as a SRO, because it did not allow for the development of a relationship between an individual SRO and the students and staff.

Rep. Keeley shared her familiarity with the Wilmington Police and police jurisdiction throughout the state with the Committee, and advised the Consortium that they should not expect Wilmington to be able to provide it with a full time SRO due to the city's budget constraints. Also, the city already provides five officers for regular schools. Consortium Co-Chair Foster reiterated that the Consortium finds it very desirable to have an RSO at the alternative schools. The Committee members and the Consortium members then discussed the Consortium's problem in obtaining an additional SRO from the state in place of the officer to be provided from the Wilmington Police. Both the Wilmington and State Police cited jurisdictional barriers as reasons for being unable to provide a SRO. Co-Chair Ulbrich summed up the dilemma as a matter not of funding, but of officer availability.

Next, Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich turned the committee's attention to the Connelly Report's observations, both positive and negative, cited in the Draft Report. Co-Chair Ulbrich, in particular, expressed her concern about the students' fears that they would be behind their classmates upon returning to their regular schools. Consortium member Santiago noted that students entering the alternative education program are often already working below their grade level, and that much of the resources of the program are devoted toward helping those students to catch up. Co-Chair Ulbrich argued that the alternative education program ought to help those students catch up to their peers in regular schools, and that the individualized attention and small class size offered by the alternative schools ought to make this possible.

Consortium member Zawislak noted that some students who enter the alternative education program are three, or four or sometimes even more grade levels behind. These students then enter the alternative program for a limited amount of time, according to Zawislak, and even if they are extremely successful in the program, they will reenter their regular schools at a lower grade level than their peers. Zawislak also reminded the committee that the course content of alternative school programs is very basic.

Consortium Co-Chair Foster, in response to these comments, noted that the Consortium had recently increased its emphasis on academic requirements, in tandem with those increases undertaken in regular schools as per statewide requirements.

At the request of Senator Bunting, Consortium Co-Chair Foster then briefly described the three locations of New Castle County's alternative schools.

Committee Co-Chair Ulbrich then offered members of the public a chance to voice their concerns. Newark area resident Joanne Bugher then proceeded to offer several comments on the alternative education system, borrowing from her attendance at several of the Consortium's meetings over the past year.

Ms. Bugher first attended Consortium Board meetings in August 2000. She was a member of a community group whose purpose was to obtain information about the alternative education program that had begun operating at Independence Way site.

Ms. Bugher noted that J. Fran Dell began operating what was later learned to be the New Beginnings Program at 11 Independence Way in June 2000. There was no public notification or contact with the community prior to students arriving at the site. Within a matter of weeks a town hall meeting was held that failed to provide a forum for addressing the community's questions. Following that meeting, representatives of eight area residential developments, four elected officials from the area, and two civic association presidents met and organized a committee to obtain fundamental information about the school. According to Ms. Bugher, a letter and list of questions was drafted and sent to each of the six northern New Castle County School Districts and the Department of Education in August 2000. To date there has been no written response from any of the parties.

Ms. Bugher said that her organization's concerns about the Consortium Board and the alternative education program in northern New Castle County are based on the Consortium's lack of public representation, notification, and disclosure, as well as the failure of the educational system to assume responsibility for a vendor, and a general lack of accountability.

Ms. Bugher further expressed her concern that the Consortium's Request for Funding Proposal (RFP) fails to specify sufficient standards for contracting vendors. Also, she complained that the alternative school vendors charged fees to service a larger number of students than the number of those actually enrolled. Ms. Bugher was also upset at an apparent lack of an evaluation of the alternative schools.

In conclusion, Ms. Bugher stated that, in light of evasive responses to public inquiry on the part of the vendor, the Consortium Board, and the School Districts they represent, she lacked confidence that the public's interests were being adequately addressed.

Rep. Ulbrich expressed her appreciation for the public's comments. Co-Chair Ulbrich then encouraged the Consortium members to submit any recommendations for consideration by the Committee, concerning changes in the code.

Then, a Consortium member noted that the number of vendors able to respond to its RFP was in fact limited, due to zoning legislation affecting schools. Because the Consortium requires that vendors have a school site approved upon submitting their bid, and not six months later, it is difficult to hold a competitive bidding process. The Consortium member noted that the Consortium needed competition, but that there was a restraint preventing such competition from occurring.

Co-Chair Ulbrich confirmed that only one bidder has been able to fully take part in the bidding process in the past, due to the difficulties that other potential bidders found in obtaining a site for an alternative school. The Consortium noted that VisionQuest took nearly two years to find a site, and indicated that the site's location is far from ideal. The Consortium asked the Committee to consider the great impact that the zoning legislation concerning schools has on the Consortium's competitive bidding process.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:49pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Josh Templet, Legislative Fellow
******************************************************


_______________________________________________________
JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE
MEETING SCHEDULE


The following meetings will be held in the House Hearing Room, 2nd floor, Legislative Hall, Dover.


Thurs, May 2 Continuation of Recommendation Meeting
for Board of Medical Practice
1:00-1:30 PM
Continuation of the Delaware Secondary School
Athletic Association
1:30 PM

All meetings are open to the public. The Joint Sunset Committee encourages public input during the public hearings. Written comments may be submitted to Rep. Stephanie A. Ulbrich, Chair, Joint Sunset Committee, Legislative Hall, Dover, DE 19904. For additional information, please contact Rep. Ulbrich at 302-368-5122 or 302-744-4296.


Please call Deborah A. Porter (302-744-4387) for further scheduling information.
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JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION MEETING
for the
DELAWARE PSYCHIATRIC CENTER
Monday. April 15, 2002
2:00 P.M.


Members Present: Representative Stephanie A. Ulbrich, Chair, Sen. Anthony J. DeLuca, Vice-Chair; Senators George H. Bunting, David P. Sokola, John C. Still, F. Gary Simpson; Representatives Helene M. Keeley Members Absent: Representatives Deborah D. Hudson, Robert J. Valihura, Jr., Richard A. DiLiberto, Jr.

Others Present: Michael S. Talmo, DPC Director; Renata J. Henry, DSAMH Director, Theodore G. Mermigos, DHSS Office of the Secretary, Guy Perrotti, DPC

Chair Representative Ulbrich called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. and welcomed everyone. Representative Ulbrich asked for discussion on the draft recommendations for the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

1. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the, Delaware Psychiatric
Center be continued upon the Center's compliance with the recommendations
made by the Joint Sunset Committee. The Center would be required to report to
the Joint Sunset Committee in writing by September 15 and again by December
30 on the status of the Center's compliance with the Sunset Committee
recommendations.

Sen. Sokola moved, and Sen. DeLuca seconded a motion to delete first sentence. Yes - 7, Motion carried.

1. Recommendation #1 as amended: The Center would be required to report to the Joint Sunset Committee in writing by September 15 and again by December 30 on the status of the Center's compliance with the Sunset Committee recommendations.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation No.1.as amended Yes - 7. Motion carried.

2. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the review of the PM46 process (Investigation of Complaints of abuse, mistreatment, and/or neglect.)

Recommendation #2 - The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the review of the PM46 process (Investigation of Complaints of abuse, mistreatment, and/or neglect.)

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Bunting seconded a motion to accept recommendation #2. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

3. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of mentally ill prisoners, who
are released and who need psychotropic medicine. (Testimony indicated that
prescriptions often expire before prisoners are seen by the Continuous Treatment
Teams GTTs).

Recommendation #3: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of mentally ill prisoners, who
are released and who need psychotropic medicine.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #3. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

4. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Center's investigation into the sexual assault by a Mitchell building prisoner on the psychological intern that occurred in January, 2002.

Sen. Sokola moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to amend recommendation #4 to include "all reports are to be forwarded to the Committee".
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

Recommendation #4: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Center's investigation into the sexual assault by a Mitchell building prisoner on the psychological intern that occurred in January, 2002. All reports are to be forwarded to the Committee.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #4 as amended. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

5. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of PM46 investigations that have occurred since the hiring of the new investigator for the Center.

Recommendation #5: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of PM46 investigations that have occurred since the hiring of the new investigator for the Center.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #5
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

6. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Office of State Personnel review of the pay grades of the Center's nursing staff.
Discussion: Rep. Ulbrich asked where the process was in reviewing the status of nursing staff pay grade. Renata J. Henry, Director DSAMH reported the review was underway and Personnel was moving forward with pay information. Rep. Ulbrich asked to have information when it is made available to DPC then forwarded to the Joint Sunset Committee.

Recommendation #6: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of the Office of State Personnel review of the pay grades of the Center's nursing staff.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #6
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

7. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center continue to update the Sunset Committee on the rewriting of the job description for psychiatric technicians - or a new job description for a comparable position that would include basic minimum education requirements.

Discussion: Sen. Sokola asked for clarification of Office of State Personnel information. Renata J. Henry, Director of DSAMH reported the process is on-going.

Recommendation #7: The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center continue to update the Sunset Committee on the rewriting of the job description for psychiatric technicians - or a new job description for a comparable position that would include basic minimum education requirements.

Rep. Ulbrich moved and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #7
Yes - 7. Motion carried.

8. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been released or referred to the case of Continuous Treatment Teams (CTTs).

Discussion: Sen. Sokola asked what information the DPC has available and what information is not currently available. DPC should tell the Joint Sunset Committee what information is unavailable. Renata J. Henry, Director of DSAMH reported that the DPC involvement ends when patients are released from the program. Any report on released patients inaccurate because of lack of information on patients when released. Rep. Ulbrich asked for information regarding number of patients released or referred when it is available to DPC. Ms. Henry reported that a satisfaction survey is in the process of implementation and will ask target consumers to rate the satisfaction of life once released into a community living. Michael S. Talmo, Director of DPC noted DPC talks to group homes on a regular basis and the homes know when consumers released.

Sen. Sokola moved, and Sen. DeLuca seconded a motion to amend recommendation #8 by deleting the words released or from the motion. Yes - 7 Motion carried.

Recommendation #8 to read as follows: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been referred to the case of Continuous Treatment Teams (CTTs).

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #8 as amended. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

9. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the efforts to integrate services and continuity of care for patients, who have been discharged from the Center.

10. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center
update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients, who have been discharged from
the Center to group homes since January 2001.

Discussion: Joint Sunset Committee would like information on how the system is working. The Committee would like to be informed of the outcomes of the consumer surveys. The Committee would also like to know if possible the instances of patients going to prison. Ms. Henry reported that those statistics are not available due to lack of communication with Department of Correction's system.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Rep. Keeley seconded a motion to combine recommendations #9 and #10 into one motion. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

Recommendation #9 & 10 combined: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the efforts to integrate services and continuity of care for patients, who have been discharged from the Center. And update the Sunset Committee on the status of patients who have been discharged from the Center to group homes since January 2001.

11. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center (or Department of Health and Social Services) establish the Human Rights Committee in the policies of the Delaware Psychiatric Center.

Recommendation #11: Without further information, address the Human Rights Committee at a later date.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Sen. DeLuca seconded a motion to consider recommendation #11 at a later date. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

12. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center
update the Sunset Committee on the stags of efforts to address issues raised via the
Patient Rights Committee in conjunction with Delaware Psychiatric Center Policy RI-33
on Patient Abuse, Neglect, Mistreatment, and Serious Injury and Delaware Psychiatric
Center Policy RI 12 on the Complaint Resolution Process for Patients and Families.

Rep. Ulbrich asked if the Patient Rights Committee was an existing entity in the hospitals. Ms. Henry replied the Patient Rights Committee is an already existing entity. Rep. Ulbrich asked for updates when they are made available.

Recommendation #12: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric
Center update the Sunset Committee on the stags of efforts to address issues raised via
the Patient Rights Committee in conjunction with Delaware Psychiatric Center Policy
RI-33 on Patient Abuse, Neglect, Mistreatment, and Serious Injury and Delaware
Psychiatric Center Policy RI 12 on the Complaint Resolution Process for Patients and
Families.

Rep. Ulbrich moved and Sen. Sokola seconded a motion to accept recommendation #12.
Yes - 7. Motion carried.


13. The Joint Sunset Committee could recommend that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the issue of nursing homes who send patients to the Delaware Psychiatric Center rather than correctly diagnosing the patients' problems. (The Center often encounters difficulties in returning those patients to the nursing home due to the facility's refusal to accept the patient).

Discussion: Rep. Ulbrich asked for an update on the problem. Ms. Henry reported the problem had been addressed and significant strides have been made. The situation has been reversed and now patients are in proper nursing homes. Sen. DeLuca asked if the problem was solved. Ms. Henry reported the cases of improper placement have been significantly reduced.

Amendment: Replace the original recommendation with: Update the Joint Sunset Committee on the problem if it currently exists. If problem is no longer apparent then report if problem increases in the future. Motion: Sen. DeLuca Second - Rep. Ulbrich

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Rep. Keeley seconded, a motion to accept recommendation #13 as amended. Yes - 7. Motion carried.

Recommendation #13 as amended: The Joint Sunset Committee recommends that the Delaware Psychiatric Center update the Sunset Committee on the issue of nursing homes who sent patients to the Delaware Psychiatric Center rather than correctly diagnosing the patients' problems if they currently exist. If problems no longer exist then report if problems increase in the future.


14. Change the reporting to dates to September 15, 2002 and December 30, 2002 for all requested materials.

Sen. DeLuca moved, and Rep. Ulbrich a motion to change the reporting dates to September 15, 2002 and December 30, 2002 for all requested materials. 7 - Yes. Motion carried..


Ms. Henry asked the Committee to clarify what the Committee asked to receive under Motion #3. DPC does not get information from DOC regarding prisoners with mental illness or who are taking psychotropic drugs. Information is dependent on DOC conveying the status of prisoners being released to DPC. DPC and Doc are now working to refine the process so that DOC knows when DPC should be alerted to a prisoner release. Rep. Ulbrich asked DPC to continue to work with DOC to improve the process.

Sen. Bunting asked Ms. Henry about mental patients transportation in Sussex County. He commented that Sussex County Police are often strained to transport mentally impaired people. He asked what progress has been made to relieve that burden. Ms. Henry commented that Nanticoke closed its Psychological unit and now the only unit under contract is Bayhealth.

Rep. Ulbrich moved, and Rep. Keeley seconded, a motion to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried.

Meeting adjourned 3:00 P.M.

Minutes recorded by Alex Mull.


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JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Noon
House Hearing Room, 2nd floor, Legislative Hall, Dover

PRESENT: Rep. Ulbrich, chair; Sen. DeLuca, vice-chair; Reps. Hudson, Valihura, DiLiberto, Keeley; Sens. Bunting, Sokola, Simpson and Still. Also: J. J. Davis, Lew Atkinson, Department of Education (DOE), Robert Depew, executive director, Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association (DSSAA), Department of Education, Kevin R. Fitzgerald, Board of DSSAA, Zane Robinson, John Flaherty, Common Cause, Robert Byrd, Independent Schools, Matt Cherry, WILM.
Rep. Ulbrich opened the meeting at noon and welcomed everyone. Rep. Ulbrich made a motion to enter executive session; second by Rep. Valihura. Vote: All ayes. The Committee entered open session at 1:00 p.m.
Rep. Ulbrich asked that Mr. Depew respond to each of the Sunset Committee recommendations.
Recomm. #1 - Reports due from DSSAA in September and December.
Sen. DeLuca asked Mr. Depew why he did not understand that DSSAA was required to submit a written report to the Joint Sunset Committee outlining DSSAA's compliance with the Committee's recommendations. Sen. DeLuca said that DSSAA's May meeting minutes indicate that the Board's attorney, Mr. Liguori, told the Board that a report was due by September. Mr. Depew said that there was no indication anywhere in correspondence from the Sunset Committee that DSSAA was required to submit a written report to the Committee.
In response to a question from Rep. Ulbrich, Mr. Depew said that the Board had submitted its January 15 report to the Sunset Committee.
Recomm. #2 - Control of all DSSAA finances to be under DOE.
Ms. Davis said that DOE has direct oversight of DSSAA finances. DSSAA would continue to collect dues from member schools and would be responsible for payment of game workers. There are still operational issues which remain, Ms. Davis stated.
Sen. DeLuca reminded Mr. Depew of the approximately $250,000 under DSSAA's control, on which they pay no taxes.
Recomm. #3 - Amend statutory language to require DSSAA to produce a combined Annual Activity and Financial Report.
Mr. Fitzgerald said that the Committee would need statutory authority to comply.
Rep. Valihura asked who had been assigned to comply with the Sunset Committee recommendations. Mr. Fitzgerald said that DSSAA had created a subcommittee for this purpose. Mr. Depew said that until about 4-5 years ago DSSAA finances were subject to an internal audit. After the last Sunset Committee review and recommendation, DSSAA has contracted for an outside audit, he said.
Recomm. #4 - DSSAA Board be composed of one-third public members.
Mr. Depew and Mr. Fitzgerald said that the Board had submitted a proposal to the Sunset Committee. In the meantime, as terms expire, members have not been replaced. This has caused quorum problems, Mr. Depew said.
Recomm. #5 - DSSAA is to record the statutory exemption claimed under the Freedom of Information Act when entering Executive Session.
Mr. Fitzgerald said the Board had complied. John Hindman represented the Board at the August and October meetings; Mary Sutherland is now assigned to the Board, he said. (DSSAA Board minutes do not cite statutory exemption claimed).
Recomm. #6 - DSSAA keep minutes of Executive Sessions and release minutes when purpose for Executive Session is no longer applicable. Attorney General for the Department is required to review all decisions to enter Executive Session.
Mr. Depew and Mr. Fitzgerald said that the Board has followed the advice of the Deputy in this matter.
Sen. Simpson commented that DSSAA must do what their attorney tells them to do.
Sen. DeLuca said that Executive Session minutes indicate only that DSSAA entered Executive Session to discuss a particular case with no detail provided.
Recomm. #7 - DSSAA must rewrite and update its rules and regulations to insure they regulate only athletic activities and not extraneous matters. Parental involvement is required before adoption; public hearings must be held in each County and city of Wilmington.
Mr. DePew said that DSSAA had made changes to its Constitution to comply with the recommendation regarding conflicts with statutory language. Mr. Depew said public hearings would be held this year on changes to the By-laws. Mr. Depew said the By-laws committee had submitted changes and that DSSAA voted to send them out to the membership. (Changes are minimal. No minutes of the subcommittee meetings are available. Member schools were scheduled to vote on changes at January 24, 2002, meeting. Additional members, not public, are proposed for DSSAA committees. No changes made in By-laws to Board membership to add public members. DSSAA did not propose changes to their By-laws to include public hearings. The By-laws still state that member schools must submit proposed changes prior to the annual meeting. Member schools may comment but not submit any new proposals at the annual meeting. There is no provision made for the public to submit proposals.)
Sen. DeLuca said there had not been parental involvement in the By-laws changes. Mr. Depew said that would occur.
Recomm. #8 - DSSAA Board define criteria for which decisions of Executive Director should be reviewed and which should not.
Mr. Fitzgerald said DSSAA's November 28, 2001, letter had addressed this issue:
1) DSSAA Board will sanction all tournaments, not the Executive Director. (The Board did not sanction the 2001 'Slam Dunk to the Beach' tournament; the Secretary of Education sanctioned the tournament in either late October or early November, 2001.)
2) The Executive Director will continue to interpret and implement the rules of the Board. Mr. Depew said that he had imposed restrictions on himself and that all of his decisions are subject to approval by the Board. Mr. Depew said that he does not make decisions regarding eligibility. Mr. Fitzgerald said that DSSAA will meet every month beginning in July, 2002, and that decision-making will reside with the Board.
Sen. Still asked Mr. Fitzgerald to define the criteria for which decisions of the Executive Director should or should not be reviewed by the Board. Mr. Fitzgerald said there are standards and that the Board has informed Mr. Depew of them. (Minutes do not indicate what the standards are. DSSAA did not submit the standards.)
Sen. Still commented that the Board could begin meeting monthly now instead of quarterly. Sen. Still asked if there were an expedited process for waiver requests? Mr. Fitzgerald said the Executive Director handles requests expeditiously in conjunction with the Secretary of Education, who has the final say.
Rep. Keeley said that DSSAA could be meeting monthly now instead of quarterly. Mr. Fitzgerald apologized for the delay but said monthly meetings are in DSSAA's plan beginning in July.
Rep. Ulbrich asked for a schedule of planned meetings. Mr. Fitzgerald said this had been provided with the November 28, 2001, submission.
Sen. DeLuca said it is hard to believe that DSSAA could not immediately begin meeting monthly. Mr. Fitzgerald said they have tried in good faith to comply with Sunset recommendations.
Sen. DeLuca asked about the waiver request presented at the October 17, 2001 meeting. The parent had been waiting for a decision in order to appeal the ruling. The parent did not receive the Board's written decision by letter until January 18, 2002. The parent could not appeal the Board's denial for three months despite having asked to receive a copy of the decision as soon as possible, Sen. DeLuca said. Sunset staff had requested a copy of the decision at least three times. She received an unsigned copy by e-mail on the morning of the January 15 Sunset Committee meeting. Mr. Fitzgerald said that DSSAA's attorney is responsible for drafting the Orders.
Mr. Depew said the parent could have requested a copy of the decision. (The parent did.)
Rep. Valihura asked if Ms. Sutherland, the attorney, was present. Mr. Fitzgerald said she was not.
Sen. DeLuca said he had spoken at length to the parent, who expressed his concern about the process and the lack of the letter, which he needed in order to appeal the Board's denial of a waiver to permit his son to play basketball. The parent had faith in a process, which failed his son, Sen. DeLuca said.
In response to a question from Sen. Simpson, Mr. Fitzgerald said that the attorney was not appointed until after the October meeting. (The attorney had been assigned by October 25. John Hindman, DAG for DOE, was present at the October 17 meeting.)
Rep. Ulbrich asked about the Board's usual time line to send decisions. Mr. Depew said that written letters to other waiver requests were mailed within three weeks of the December 5 meeting. (All three were approvals of waiver requests heard at the 12-5-01 meeting. Staff also received those letters on January 15, 2002.)
Mr. Depew said that the Board regularly considers requests for waivers by students and their families for a fifth year of eligibility to play sports. Mr. Fitzgerald said the October 17 denial was an anomaly in that it took three months for the parent to receive a written reply. Usually the Board responds in 3-4 weeks, he said.
Sen. Sokola said that it is very important to children that they receive timely replies. DSSAA should send the Order out the day it is granted or denied, he said. Everyone agreed.
Mr. Fitzgerald pledged that DSSAA Board would begin meeting monthly starting with the January meeting.
In response to a question from Sen. Bunting, Mr. Fitzgerald said that DSSAA attorney has been advising DSSAA regarding quorum requirements. Members have not been replaced when terms have expired. Ms. Davis said the Department needs guidance from the Sunset Committee.
Recomm. #9 - DSSAA not enter Executive Session to consider requests for waivers of the Board's By-laws.
Mr. Fitzgerald said that effective this school year, the Board would not enter Executive Session unless the Deputy informed them that they may do so.
Sen. DeLuca stated that DSSAA minutes do not indicate the reason for entering Executive Session. Mr. Fitzgerald said that he always asks the parent if they would prefer to close the doors or not. Mr. Depew said the information is included on a separate page in the October minutes. (The statutory citation is missing both from the separate page of Executive Session minutes and also from the main meeting minutes.)
Recomm. #10 - Board's minutes must explain the reasons for decisions to approve or deny all requests for waivers of the Board's By-laws.
Mr. DePew said that the Board would begin complying with the recommendation this year. (Many waiver requests occur during the fall months. DSSAA did not comply with this Recommendation.)
Mr. Fitzgerald said he did not have the October minutes but the reason for waiver approvals or denials should have been noted in the October minutes. (The reasons for the Board's decisions are missing from both the October and December meeting minutes. The minutes also do not indicate any deliberation on the Board's part).
Recomm. #11 - DSSAA Board and Department of Education must formulate a plan to absorb DSSAA into the Department. A written report is due the second Tuesday in January, 2002.
Committee members have received a copy of the report, Mr. Depew said.
Recomm. #12 - The Department of Justice is to assign a Deputy Attorney General to DSSAA to provide legal counsel in connection with DSSAA's authorization to implement the rules and regulations of DOE relating to interscholastic athletics.
Mr. Depew said an attorney had been assigned. (Mary Sutherland, DAG, was assigned to DSSAA in October, 2001.)
Recomm. #13 - All hearings are to be recorded by a court reporter and conform to the Administrative Procedures Act and all appeals will be 'on the record.' DSSAA Board will insure that all hearings in student eligibility cases are conducted as required by law and that they are recorded by a court reporter 'on the record.'
Mr. Fitzgerald said that DSSAA has always used a court reporter. Mr. Depew clarified that the court reporter has always taken down testimony for appeal and waiver requests.
Sen. Bunting said that the Sunset Committee must make a decision about the future of DSSAA. He said that DSSAA did not take the Committee's recommendations seriously, especially regarding Board decisions about granting or disapproving waiver requests. Mr. Fitzgerald said that DSSAA has sought direction from the Sunset Committee and the Board of Education. DSSAA has tried not to make missteps and they have taken the Sunset Committee recommendations seriously, he said.
Sen. DeLuca commented that the Executive Session minutes are only one line long and do not indicate what took place. One cannot follow a case through because it is not possible to see what DSSAA has done. The minutes do not indicate the reason for decisions. Mr. Fitzgerald said DSSAA has followed the advice of its attorney. They are educators and concerned about children, he said. Mr. Fitzgerald said, "If something has not been what you wanted, we understand and will change." He continued, "We have tried to comply and as students we are still learning. We have "not yet mastered all that the teacher has asked," Mr. Fitzgerald said.
Sen. Still asked Ms. Davis if DSSAA had "substantially and materially" complied with the Sunset recommendations with a good faith effort.
Rep. Valihura asked that Sen. Still please withdraw the question.
Sen. Simpson asked why the Committee should not ask the question of Ms. Davis.
Rep. Ulbrich said it was not an inappropriate question.
Ms. Davis said that she has worked with the Sunset Committee and the Board of Directors and Mr. Depew in a grueling process. They spent several meetings attempting to comply with the Committee's recommendations, she said.
Sen. Still reiterated his request of Ms. Davis. Ms. Davis said that DSSAA has made "a good faith effort." She said DSSAA needs statutory changes in order to comply with some of the recommendations. In addition, DOE needs statutory authority if they are to absorb DSSAA. DSSAA could become a separate entity; or, if the decision is made to have DOE absorb DSSAA, it could become a reality, Ms. Davis said.
Rep. Valihura asked Ms. Davis if, in her view, DSSAA is in substantial compliance with the recommendations. Ms. Davis said DSSAA has not complied with all of the recommendations; but they have attempted to comply.
In response to DSSAA's implied criticism of the Committee regarding children, Rep. Valihura said that everyone is here for school children but the current version of DSSAA has been around for over 35 years and needs to be changed. Ms. Davis said that DSSAA could become better and more efficient than it is today.
Rep. Hudson asked if DSSAA needed more staff. Ms. Davis said that was a difficult question to answer at this time. It is a workload issue, she said; the DSSAA secretary is overworked. Ms. Davis suggested that if schools could be convinced to pay more in membership dues, additional staff would make DSSAA more efficient.
Rep. Ulbrich thanked everyone for their testimony and adjourned open session at 2:15 p.m. Upon motion and second, the Sunset Committee entered executive session at 2:16 p.m. Executive session concluded at 2:30 p.m. Rep. Ulbrich adjourned the meeting at this time.
Minutes prepared by Maryanne McGonegal, analyst
Joint Sunset Committee
February 5, 2002
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JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Tuesday, January 15, 2002 1:00 p.m.
House Hearing Room, Legislative Hall, Dover

PRESENT: Rep. Ulbrich, chair, Sen. DeLuca, vice-chair, Reps. Hudson, Valihura, DiLiberto and Keeley; Sens. Bunting, Sokola, and Simpson. Also, Bill Wood, Valerie Watson, Lloyd Alexander, J. J. Davis.
Rep. Ulbrich opened the meeting and welcomed members of the Joint Sunset Committee to the first meeting of the new year.
The Committee decided on the meeting dates for the public hearings for agencies under review during 2002. All meetings will be held in the House Majority Hearing Room, 2nd floor, Legislative Hall, Dover.
Wed. Feb. 20 Board of Medical Practice 3:00 p.m.
Thurs. Feb. 21 Delaware Psychiatric Center 4:00 p.m.
Mon. April 1 Advisory Council on Fish and Game 1:00 p.m.
Human Relations Commission 3:00 p.m.
Mon. April 8 Advisory Council on Career and 1:00 p.m.
Vocational Education
New Castle County Alternative 3:00 p.m.
Education Consortium
Rep. Ulbrich made a motion to enter executive session at 1:40 p.m.; second by Rep. Valihura. Vote: All ayes.
The Committee ended executive session at 1:55 p.m. Rep. Ulbrich asked J. J. Davis to report on the Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association (DSSAA). Ms. Davis explained that DSSAA by-laws allow DSSAA to keep cash assets ($245,111 as of 10-4-01). The Board currently has five vacancies and the Secretary of Education is anxious to know how to go forward, Ms. Davis said.
In response to a question from a Committee member, Ms. Davis confirmed that the executive director's contract would be terminated if DSSAA were terminated.
Rep. Ulbrich made a motion to enter executive session at 2:07 p.m.; second by Rep. Hudson. Vote: All ayes. The Committee returned to open session at 2:25 p.m.
The Committee agreed to meet on Tuesday, January 22, noon, in the House Hearing Room.
Rep. Ulbrich thanked everyone for their input and adjourned the meeting at 2:30 p.m.
Minutes prepared by Maryanne McGonegal, analyst
Joint Sunset Committee
January 16, 2002
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JOINT SUNSET COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES
Delaware Secondary School Association (DSSAA)
6:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 2, 2001
Senate Hearing Room, Legislative Hall, Dover

PRESENT: Sen. DeLuca, chair, Rep. Ulbrich, vice-chair, Sen. Still, Reps. DiLiberto and Keeley, Joint Sunset Committee members; John B. Hindman, Deputy Attorney General, and J. J. Davis, Department of Education, Kevin Fitzgerald, chair, George Frunzi, and Jerry Kobasa, DSSAA Board, Robert Depew, executive director, DSSAA, Dale Hammond, Zane Robinson, Ed Janvier, Robert F. Jacobs, Matt Cherry, WILM, Randall Chew, Associated Press, Patrick Jackson, The News Journal.
Sen. DeLuca opened the meeting, welcomed everyone and asked those present to introduce themselves. Sen. DeLuca called on Mr. Fitzgerald to give the interim report on behalf of DSSAA.
Mr. Fitzgerald called on Mr. Frunzi. Mr. Fitzgerald appointed Mr. Frunzi chair of the subcommittee to insure compliance with the Sunset Committee recommendations. Mr. Frunzi said that the subcommittee formed at the May 10, 2001, meeting of DSSAA philosophically and economically approached the Sunset Committee's directives.
Sen. Still asked if the subcommittee included public members. Mr. Frunzi said that J. J. Davis, DOE, was a member; otherwise, there were no members of the public.
Mr. Frunzi said that he was not aware that the Sunset Committee expected a written report. He said the Board would have a complete report in December. Mr. Frunzi stressed the importance of the 14,000 to 15,000 students served by DSSAA.
Mr. Frunzi addressed key issues identified by the DSSAA subcommittee. The first concerned the "Foundation" issue. Mr. Frunzi asked, if and when DSSAA is brought under the Department of Education (DOE), would it have the legal right to supervise private schools. DSSAA would be breaking new ground and a considerable part of the subcommittee's discussions concerned where DSSAA would be housed, he said.
The second "Financial" concerned money and insurance. The subcommittee does not want DSSAA to lose money on its CDs, which mature in May, 2002, Mr. Frunzi said.
Mr. Frunzi said that DSSAA Board members need legal protection since they can be sued. They are seeking guidance from the State Budget Office and the Risk Manager regarding liability and general catastrophic insurance. Mr. Frunzi said the annual audit could occur as part of the annual DOE audit.
Regarding the third issue "Public members," Mr. Frunzi said the subcommittee had questions regarding the appointment of public Board members. He asked if the Board should grow to 29 members, if the 18 current members are retained.
Sen. DeLuca said that school Board members would not count as public members. He said the Committee envisioned the DSSAA Board to be like other state regulatory boards with public members, who are not influenced by decision-makers in the regulated system.
The fourth issue regarded "Game workers." Mr. Frunzi said DSSAA has a staff of two and ticket takers are an important part of the game. Game workers currently earn $22 an hour and are appointed by school districts that pay the salaries. In contrast, DSSAA pays $14 an hour and there could be some delay in payment if DOE absorbs DSSAA.
Sen. DeLuca commented that people from school districts supervise the crowd at sports events.
Sen. DeLuca reviewed recommendation #7 concerning the rewriting and updating of the rules and regulations to insure that they regulate only athletic activities and not extraneous matters. Parental involvement is required before the adoption of the revised by-laws and rules and regulations. DSSAA is required to hold public hearings in each County of the state, as well as the City of Wilmington.
Sen. DeLuca asked if public hearings on rules changes had been held in each County. Mr. Frunzi acknowledged that none had been held. Mr. Depew said the DSSAA Board would vote on proposed changes to the Constitution and By-laws later this month. The public hearings would be held in February-March, 2002. Mr. Frunzi concluded his presentation.
Sen. DeLuca commented on DSSAA's lack of a written status report and stated that the Sunset Committee had not received notice of the meetings of the subcommittee and the composition of its membership.
Mr. Fitzgerald said that the DSSAA Board had made a good faith effort to comply with the Sunset Committee recommendations and had met with DOE.
Sen. DeLuca reviewed the thirteen recommendations of the Sunset Committee. Recommendation #1 re the reports due in September and December had been covered. DSSAA did not submit a written interim report that addressed compliance with the Sunset Committee's recommendations.
Recommendation #2 re DOE control of all DSSAA finances, Mr. Frunzi said DSSAA has met with DOE and is preparing a plan.
Recommendation #3 re DSSAA producing a combined Annual Activity and Financial Report for the Governor, General Assembly, and the public, Mr. Frunzi said DSSAA is working on this issue.
Recommendation #4 re one-third public Board members, Mr. Depew asked Sen. DeLuca who would be responsible for selecting the members. Sen. DeLuca stated that the Sunset Committee is looking for a response from DSSAA.
Recommendation #5 re DSSAA entering executive session only for the reasons permitted under the Freedom of Information Act. DSSAA is required to note for the record the statutory exemption claimed under FOIA when entering executive session. Mr. Frunzi said the Board has been in compliance with the recommendation.
Sen. DeLuca stated that the Committee did not have documentation of compliance.
Recommendation #6 also concerned executive session minutes and release of such minutes. The deputy attorney general assigned to DSSAA is required to review all decisions to enter executive session to insure compliance with existing laws. Mr. Fitzgerald stated that the DSSAA executive secretary takes minutes of DSSAA executive sessions similar to those that are taken this evening.
Mr. Fitzgerald also clarified that the executive director's contract is with DOE.
Recommendation #7 concerning the rewrite and update of DSSAA rules and regulations had been discussed previously.
Recommendation #8, 9, and 10 re DSSAA Board defining the criteria for which decisions of the executive director should be reviewed and which should not, Mr. Fitzgerald said that, to the best of his knowledge, the Board has not done this. #9 concerned the Board not entering executive session to consider requests for waivers of the Board's by-laws. #10 concerned the Board giving the reasons in DSSAA minutes for approving or denying all requests for waivers of the Board's by-laws.
Sen. Still asked what process would be followed if the Board challenged a decision of the executive director. He commented that the executive director makes 90% of the decisions. Mr. Fitzgerald said that the appellant would file a written appeal. Mr. Depew said the appeal must be filed three weeks prior to the Board meeting.
Sen. Still said the appeal process could take longer than six weeks and the sport season could have concluded during the appeal process. Mr. Fitzgerald said that all waiver requests come to the executive director. Mr. Frunzi said that there is a comprehensive set of rules and regulations and criteria to follow and that Mr. Depew does not make independent decisions. Mr. Fitzgerald said that the first decision level is with the school's athletic director; the entire process is set out in the DSSAA Handbook. A lot of the work is accomplished at the local level, he said.
Recommendation #11 re DOE and DSSAA responsibility to formulate a plan on how DSSAA can be absorbed by DOE. Report is due by January 14, 2002.
Sen. DeLuca commented that most of the Board's presentation concerned this recommendation. Sen. DeLuca said that the Committee would like monthly written updates on DSSAA's progress in fulfilling this Recommendation. The first written progress report is due at the November meeting. Sen. DeLuca told the Board that he wants everything that has transpired documented in writing.
Sen. Still asked if certain DSSAA procedures are of a confidential nature and cannot be released. Mr. Fitzgerald said they are.
Sen. DeLuca said that he had sat through an appeal procedure that was conducted in open session. Mr. Fitzgerald said DSSAA allows the parent the right to decide if the hearing will be closed or open. A closed hearing is closed to everyone, including the press, he said. Mr. Fitzgerald said the State Board conducted the hearing Sen. DeLuca referred to, which was a final stage hearing and was open to the public.
Recommendation #12 that the Department of Justice assign a Deputy Attorney General to DSSAA has been accomplished. John Hindman now represents the DSSAA Board.
Recommendation #13 that all hearings conducted by the DSSAA Board be recorded by a court reporter and conform to the Administrative Procedures Act. All appeals will be 'on the record.' Mr. Fitzgerald testified that the Board hires a court reporter for all hearings.
Sen. DeLuca asked members of the Sunset Committee if they had additional concerns.
Sen. Still stated that he wants to see a direct response to all Sunset Committee recommendations. Sen. Still asked how many volunteers are needed for the 15,000 student athletes in this state. Mr. Kobasa said anywhere from 300 to 400 people are needed to organize state tournaments. Mr. Fitzgerald said that each sport needs a certain amount of people.
Sen. Still asked about DSSAA's finances. Ms. Davis said that DOE countersigns all DSSAA checks. DOE is working on how to absorb DSSAA and still have it operate efficiently, she said. Ms. Davis said that DOE is struggling with the issue of their authority over private and public schools.
Sen. DeLuca asked when DSSAA funds would be moved to control of DOE. Ms. Davis said it would take time to accomplish; there are operational issues to consider. DSSAA’s CDs are earning a higher rate of interest than they would if they were transferred to control of the state. DSSAA could conceivably incur significant legal expenses if sued and would need access to the funds.
Mr. Frunzi said this meeting would have been easier if he had known that DSSAA was expected to submit a written report. Mr. Frunzi said he had brought up unclear issues during his presentation to the Committee.
Sen. Still asked when DSSAA would submit a written report. Mr. Frunzi said DSSAA would have a written report for the Sunset Committee by Thanksgiving.
Rep. Ulbrich said that the Sunset Committee expects an update on all the issues contained in the Committee’s Final Report on DSSAA. Rep. Ulbrich asked that DSSAA increase its communication with the Committee and not just state that “It’s being handled.” Mr. Frunzi said increased communication would help in grey areas.
Sen. DeLuca stated that the Sunset Committee’s hearts and thoughts are with the students. But, he said that if the Board as educators give a student ten things to do, it would not satisfy if the student responded that he or she is working on them. Sen. DeLuca said that the Committee wants to see a Board that controls what is going on. Mr. Fitzgerald said that he wanted to be clear about what is expected of the Board.
Sen. DeLuca said that the interim report is due by the end of November. “The onus is on you,” he stated. The Committee wants to see a concrete plan for the addition of public Board members. Sen. DeLuca said he expects the Board to follow through and accomplish the recommendations by the end of December.
Rep. DiLiberto stressed to the Board that the Sunset Committee supports student athletes; but, he stated “The Committee means business.” He warned the Board that they should not expect any latitude if they have not achieved what the Committee has asked them to achieve. Mr. Frunzi said the Board should have had this meeting a month ago.
Sen. DeLuca stated that, if the Board had asked the Committee, they would have met with them. He reminded the Board that the Committee would be looking for their response to the liability and financial issues. The Committee would prepare statutory changes.
Sen. DeLuca adjourned the meeting at 7:20 p.m. and thanked everyone for their participation.
Minutes prepared by Maryanne McGonegal, analyst
Joint Sunset Committee
10-9-01
302-744-4088; www.mmcgonegal@legis.state.de.us
9701410221