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Board Minutes


November 2, 2013
College of Holy Cross,
Worcester, MA


PRESENT: President Alan Gifford, Vice President Ivy Velez, Secretary Jessica Meehan and Treasurer Charles Johnson.  Board Directors; Lorna Lafferiere, Victor Marques, Jonah Meehan, Cheryl Quintal, Ashley Thompson and Marie Doyle.

ABSENT: Amy Reed

Attendance: Members 33

QUORUM: Minimum is 25.  Quorum was met. So meeting can proceed.

Meeting called to order at 1:22 pm.

BJ Wood, (Former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, MCDHH) was the speaker of the House.

C. Wayne Dore was the Parliamentarian for today’s meeting.

On the original agenda were

1 Introductions, 2 Annual Report, 3 By-laws, 4 Elections, 5 New Business, and 6 Turkey Raffles.


Board Directors and Officers were introduced to the membership. Summaries of their activities were given. Appreciation of their services was verbally given.

A question was asked about the order of the Agenda. A discussion took place on the order of the agenda, and a motion was made and passed to move New Business after the Annual Report. The agenda was revised to reflect the following order:

1 Introductions, 2 Annual Report, 3 New Business, 4 By-laws, 5 Elections, and 6 Turkey Raffles.


Annual Report was given by President Alan Gifford which summarized MSAD’s activities for the last two years.

Treasurer’s report will show that investments continue to grow.

New MSAD office established in Boston, at the Nonprofit Center on 89 South Street.

Members of the Board was stable, only one person resigned due to job relocation in the last two years.

MSAD applied for grants. Grants that had advocacy assignments which involved Senior Citizens, Youth, Deaf Education and Legislation. MSAD assisted DPC for the ombudsman contract which was just recently awarded. $300,000 total for two years. There is a potential for Deaf Ombudsman as soon as the One Care program starts.


  • MSAD with DPC raised concerns about unqualified interpreters in Lowell Public School System and filed complaints against the DESE.
  • MSAD sent a representative to Deaf Education Advocacy workshop held in Kentucky in 2012.


  • MSAD is working with members of the MCDHH’s Legislative Task Force on reviewing and sponsoring several bills.
  • Currently working on the Hearing Aid bill for adults 21 and over.
  • Pushing on Interpreter’s Bill
  • Pushed on the Proficiency of the educators of the deaf using ASL to teach.
  • Will start working on another bill similar to hearing aid bill but concentrates on cochlear implants. More and more families are being rejected for replacement CI’s. Families have to pay about $ 7,000.


  • MSAD President made a presentation on advocacy at the New England Deaf Senior Citizens Convention in Westboro in 2012.
  • MSAD President, Treasurer and a member met with the NEHD Board to discuss issues about residents and environment.
  • MSAD established communications with AARP for support on elderly services.

2.04 STORAGE  MSAD is paying $100 per month for climate controlled storage to store old DCN and documents since 1975. The boxes and boxes are piled all the way up to ceiling. Need volunteers to cull the stuff and dispose of bills and documents over 7 years old

2.05 MSAD WEBSITE  MSAD is extremely frustrated with the current server 1+1.  The support staff is not friendly and also it is not user friendly. Strongly recommend that MSAD drop 1+1 server and go with another server. Need a complete change.

2.06 MSAD BYLAWS: Draft copy of proposed Bylaws are done and hopefully it will be ratified soon. The new bylaws are much easier for everyone to understand and also will help to ensure that the meetings run more efficiently (smoother).

2.07 ACTION ITEMS from President’s Report Discussion on President’s report: Request from Member to list legislature bills so the members can see.

2.08 VICE PRESIDENT’s REPORT: No report.

Ivy: No report.

2.09 TREASURER’s REPORT: Report presented by Treasurer Charles Johnson. Two accounts were opened with Kramer Investments. In the time period of August 2012 to October 2013, (15 months) the total amount $211,000 grew to $251,000. An increase of $40,000. Previously, it was in a saving bank which drew only $ 960 for one year.

The Treasurer’s report presented, showed income and expenses for the fiscal year October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. General discussion followed with highlights below:

  • Refunds came from phone company, returning incorrect materials to Staples for credit.
  • Donations made by MSAD to DPC for the Deaf Legal activities such as Deaf Teachers License, to DWMass, sponsorships for Deaf Disc Golf Tournament, Youth Leadership camp and BBQ cookout for NEHD residents in September.
  • Endowment Fund- Sears was the name of a wealthy lady who passed away and set a fund that distribute earnings to various nonprofits and MSAD is one that receives this yearly. This year received $ 7,000
  • Line item “Misc. Items” was clarified to include expenses for Big E Show in Springfield, MA, various expenses for DCN due to paper, maintenance of copy machine, toners (ink), envelopes and etc. This line item will be further broken down.

MOTION was made by Sue Philip “to accept the annual treasurer’s report” as unaudited and to be audited. Seconded by John Pirone. Vote FOR Unanimously  AGAINST 0. This motion passed.


Nov. 2012 Annual  Report was shown on the screen for all members to review and comment on page by page for approval of the minutes.

There was a detailed discussion centered around the Senior Citizen Advocacy and specifically on the NEHD. The members expressed a strong interest and showed serious concerns.

  1. MSAD President Gifford, Treasurer Johnson and member Louis Rivas met with the NEHD Board to discuss the issues presented at the MSAD Open Forum.
  2. DPH (Dept of Public Safety) laws governing the nursing home facilities are in conflict with Deaf Culture.
  3. NEHD is working with DPH to relieve the frustrations caused by the cultural and law conflicts.
  4. NEHD is working to resolve issues brought up by MSAD with DPH.
  5. Could this become a legal case? MSAD brought this up to DPC to see if anything could be done.
  6. NEHD was recently recognized and awarded as one of the best managed nursing homes in the country.
  7. MSAD brought up concerns to DPH and discussed the issues and how to resolve them. But DPH said that NEHD was recently recognized as a superior home.
  8. To MSAD and members, this is contradictory. How can the ratings be proven to be accurate? Was it through documents and paper trail? Did the review panel interview the residents themselves?
  9. Discussion Point of Interest: Don’t focus on the administration or operations, focus on the residents rights on communications and social linguistic access.
  10. Sue Ward as former MSAD VP made numerous visits to NEHD. There were a lot of issues regarding to safety. Their staff does not sign fluently. Interviews are done by asking family members, not the residents themselves.
  11. Alan and Elaine Gifford visited NEHD in September at the BBQ cookout, and talked with the residents. Some residents stated that the conditions are improving and some of the staff are improving on signs. 

2.11 Corrections/Changes for the 2012 Secretary Report are as follows:

  1. In the last section of the report, titled OTHER BUSINESS, Change the word “OTHER BUSINESS” to “ANNOUNCEMENTS”.
  2. On page two of Bylaws report, add the word “comprehensive”
  3. Make the correction,  “Bob Weinstock was asked to review the revision work of MSAD By-Laws”.

2.12 MOTION by Pax McCarthy that past years of annual reports be consistent with (previous) year’s annual report for purposes of follow through on action items and requests submitted. Seconded by Ivy Velez. Vote   FOR 33   AGAINST 0  This motion passed.


3.01 MOTION made by Alan Gifford “to set up MSAD Website Committee”. Seconded by Charles Johnson. General discussion followed and highlights are listed below:

  • Current server is 1+1.  The website is not working very well. Help staff at 1+1 are rude and not helpful at all. Problems continue and impacts our ability to send e-mail blasts.
  • 1+1 server is no longer user friendly. Many other nonprofits have been frustrated with server and switched to another server.
  • Hire someone to develop website.
  • Adhoc or permanent committee that has a person who is not involved with media committee.
  • Need a person as a webmaster to maintain and keep up with website database, etc.

3.02 MOTION by Marlene Hostovsky “that the website committee have a budget to operate the website approved by the board”. Seconded by Jennifer Greenfield.  Vote: For 32.   Against 1. Motion was passed.

3.03 MOTION by Sue Philip to “purchase another laptop for the MSAD secretary”, Seconded by Victor Marques. Currently MSAD has one laptop, which was used by secretary and recently given to DCN Staff for the DCN layout work. Now another laptop is needed for the secretary. Highlights of discussion below:

  • Look for donations from various companies.
  • MSAD has plans to purchase one soon.

Vote: FOR; Unanimously   AGAINST: 0   This motion passed.

3.04 MOTION by Elaine Gifford to “open discussion on membership dues”. Seconded by Charles Johnson. Discussion followed:

  •  Membership dues right now are 30 dollars for families. 20 dollars for individuals.
  • Because of DCN expenses, dues should be increased to help defray costs.
  • Suggested that $5 increase in all dues. ($30 to $35, $20 to $25, etc)

MOTION by Ashley O’Neill to “table the motion by Elaine Gifford and refer the task of  reviewing the dues increase to the membership committee for their recommendation”.  Seconded by Cheryl Quintal.

Vote  FOR 30   AGAINST 3  This motion passed and was carried.


Bylaws Committee: Chairperson Ashley O’Niell, Committee Members; Jonah Meehan, Sue Philip and Suzann Bedrosian

NOTE: Paper and electronic draft copies of proposed by-laws were distributed by mail, and through MSAD’s website and Facebook, and on Mass Deaf/Terp. The materials were distributed forty five days before the MSAD’s Annual Meeting to be discussed and voted on. Today is the first time the members had a chance to review and bring up their comments.

MOTION: John Pirone (JP) made a motion to limit bylaws report to 1 and ½ hours.  Seconded by Colleen Francis. Unanimously passed and carried.   

Paper draft copies of revised Bylaws were distributed to the members to review and discuss for today’s meeting.

Chairperson Ashley O’Neill started with explaining the purpose of the By-laws. A general discussion followed the explanations and some comments were brought up.

4.01 A concern was brought up by Wayne Dore, (He was one of the original writers of the MSAD’s Constitution and ByLaws in 1975). The original concept was the Constitution and ByLaws were written together, hand in hand. The proposed bylaws does not have the word Constitution. After a round of discussions, the consensus was that the elimination of Constitution from the Bylaws was a conflict with the Massachusetts laws since MSAD is a registered nonprofit incorporation.

4.02  A question was raised if the “mission statement” was changed in any way or format. Chairperson O’Neill replied that it was not changed. The word “mission” is in Section 2.1 of Article II.

4.03 A motion was made to edit the word “Constitution” to “Preamble” and was seconded. A discussion followed. At conclusion of vote, motion did not pass.

4.04 A motion by Sue Philip to have “Mission as stated in 2.1. Section of Article I” be referred to the bylaws committee for further review. Seconded by Joan Philip. Motion passed unanimously.

4.05 A motion by Susan Ward, “about memberships”, moved that the sentence “with or without children under the age of 18” under Section 3.3 be changed to “MSAD will…, with or without children under the age of 18, when they must be at least 18 years old.”  Seconded by Sharon Applegate. Voted unanimously and the motion was carried.

4.06 Randee Pascall-Speights and Nathan Fowler jointly made a motion to include further details for section 4.2 , Benefits of membership shall include:

A. A subscription to DCN.

B. Discounted admission to MSAD events.

C. Free admission to MSAD events (family membership with children under the age of 5 only)

D. Additional benefits are subject to board approval.

The motion was seconded by Jennifer Greenfield. Vote was unanimously in favor. Motion carried.  

4.07 Susan Ward made a motion to edit Article III, section 3.4, re: student membership. Need to insert (in bold): Those who provide a copy of student identification ( id card), as currently enrolled… Seconded by Cheryl Quintal. Voted unanimously in favor. Motion was carried.

4.08 MOTION by Susan Philip “to have a special bylaws meeting reserved to discuss and conduct the topic of bylaws only, during middle of February 2014. Carol Zurek seconded the motion. Voted unanimously in favor. Motion carried.

4.09 MOTION by Charles Johnson that “MSAD create a new additional vice-president Position”. One vice president for operations and the second vice president for social. Seconded by Susan Philip. This motion requires to have 29 votes to pass. 29 voted in favor. Motion was passed and carried. Place on Action List to amend/update bylaws draft.


5.01 Nomination of candidates from the membership went through the process of 1) Nominating a candidate, 2) Asking the candidate if want to run or decline, 3) After candidate’s acceptance, 4) Nomination seconded, 5) close nominations, 6) speeches by candidates, 7) vote by paper ballots, 8) election committee counted votes and declared winners. Vote counts were never given out. This process was repeated for each position.

The election of the officers is for a two (2) year term which starts on January 1, 2014 and ends on December 31, 2015.

MOTION: A motion was made to extend the Annual Meeting from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Seconded and passed unanimously.

Proceeded with the elections.

5.02 The results of the election of the 2014/2015 are as follows:

President: Alan Gifford

1 Vice President of Operations: John Pirone

2 Vice President of Social: Ivy Velez

Secretary: Jennifer Greenfield

MOTION: A motion was made to extend the Annual Meeting from 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm. Seconded and passed unanimously. Elections was continued.

Treasurer: Charles Johnson

Board Directors: Lorna Laferriere
                            Jonah Meehan
                            Ashley O’Neill
                            Randee Pascal-Speights
                            Ashley Thompson
                            Susan Ward

Big Thank you’s go to all candidates for the courage to step up to the challenge and did not get elected. Please do not give up, there are other ways the candidates can help MSAD! MSAD needs your help.

MOTION: A motion was made to extend the Annual Meeting from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Seconded and passed unanimously.

NOTE: During the counts, an effort to save time was made by making public announcements for the following events:

DWMass and NH were sponsoring DINGO that night after the MSAD meeting.

Worcester Deaf Club general meeting on November 9’th.

MCDHH announced Deaf Constituents Day to be held at the State House in Boston on March 24.  Currently accepting nominations for Deaf people who did Advocacy, outstanding service provider and outstanding organization. Deadline was before Thanksgiving.

DBCC has an annual meeting at Perkins School on Nov 9 from 11 am to 5 pm, in Watertown, MA.

DCN’s deadline for the winter issue for articles and photographs on Nov 15. Ads were due on the 15’th. Please continue to contribute articles to DCN.


6.01 Five turkeys were  to MSAD for the Turkey Raffle by Hannaford’s and Market Basket.

6.02 The winners of the annual turkey raffle are:

  1. John Pirone- He donated it to D.E.A.F. Inc.
  2. Wayne Dore- He donated it to New England Homes for the Deaf (NEHD)
  3. Randee Pascall-Speights- She donated it to Horace Mann School.
  4. Jonah Meehan
  5. Suzanne Bedrosian

Congratulations to all the winners!

Meeting adjourned at 6:20 pm.

Respectfully submitted by:

Jessica Meehan
Suzann Bedrosian, Assistant

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