Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program 

Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled 

Administrative Committee (TADDAC) 

July 29, 2010

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, Main Office

1333 Broadway St., Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612

 

The Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee (TADDAC) held its monthly meeting at the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) main office in Oakland, California.  TADDAC Vice-Chair, Bummy Burstein, called the meeting to order at 10:10 AM.

 

TADDAC Members Present: 

Kathleen Barrett, Disabled Community-Mobility Impaired seat, Chair (arrived 10:15)

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein, Deaf Community at Large Representative, Vice-Chair

Phil Kaplan, Proxy for Nancy Hammons, Late-Deafened Community

Tommy Leung, Disabled Community – Blind/Low Vision seat

Kenneth Rothschild, Proxy for Chriz Dally, Deaf Community

Alik Lee, Division of Ratepayer Advocates

Colette Noble, Hard of Hearing Community

Kevin Siemens, Disabled Community-Speech-to-Speech seat

 

Non-Voting Liaisons Present: 

Shelley Bergum, CCAF Chief Executive Officer         

Linda Gustafson, CPUC Communications Division

 

TADDAC Members Absent: 

Chriz Dally, Deaf Community

Nancy Hammons, Late-Deafened Community

Patrick Boudreault, Deaf Community

 

CCAF Staff Present: 

Sharon Albert, Director of Operations

Priya Barmanray, CRS Program Analyst

Silke Brendel-Evan, CRS Special Project Coordinator

Dan Carbone, Customer Contact Liaison

Margie Cooper, CRS Contract Specialist

Patsy Emerson, Committee Assistant

Karen Evangelista, Committee Coordinator

Jen Minore, Field Operations Manager, Northern California

Mansha Thapa, Business Analyst

David Weiss, CRS Department Manager

 

CPUC Staff Present: 

Tyrone Chin, Communications Division

Helen Mickiewicz, Legal Division

Jonathan Lakritz, Communications Division

Penney Legakis, Communications Division

 

Others Present: 

Ken Arcia, AT and T

Don Brownell, Attendant to Winston Ching

Winston Ching

Mazuri Colly, CIL

Marilyn Finn, HLA-CA

Anne Girard, Hamilton Relay, Director of Marketing

Wayne Hoang, AT and T

Otis Hopkins, Attendant to Tommy Leung

Royce Johnson, CSD

April Lindbergh, AT and T Channel Manager

Dana Mulvany

James Prietto

Karla Thompson, Attendant to Kevin Siemens

 

Present by Phone: 

Beth Slough, Hamilton Relay, National Account Manager

Gail Sanchez, AT and T Relay, Product Manager

 

  1. Welcome and Introduction of Members 

 

          The Committee members and liaisons introduced themselves.

  

  1. Minutes of the June 24, 2010 TADDAC Meeting  

 

The minutes were approved with no corrections. 

 

  1. Approval of Agenda 

 

The agenda was approved with no changes.

 

  1. Administrative Business 

 

  1. Report from CPUC Staff 

 

Linda Gustafson began by recognizing the participation of CCAF staff, representatives from the CTAP program, and CPUC staff at the 20th Anniversary celebration of the ADA in Sacramento. She also noted that the DDTP Draft Budget Resolution will be up before the Commission for potential vote on August 12.

Jonathan Lakritz reported on the Draft Budget Resolution and explained the cash flow of the program and the estimated expenses using Appendix A, which compared last fiscal year’s budget with this year’s estimated budget. The $21.71 million estimate for CRS reflects both decreasing relay volumes and the new CRS 3 contracts which have higher fees. Other contracts such as marketing have also seen increased costs. The program is expected to keep growing and distributing more equipment, but because equipment costs are decreasing, the program shouldn’t cost much more money. The cost of the addition of wireless to the program has also been factored in and with all estimated expenses included, the proposed budget totals $69.03 million. The majority of the program costs are the services that CCAF provides, the relay vendors, the marketing contract, the equipment procurement vendors, and the equipment itself.  Jonathan briefly explained the Resolution process and also agreed to provide copies of the marketing contract to the Committee at their request and to improve the table in Appendix A to make it easier to interpret.

Jonathan then referred to the “DDTP cash balance” document and pointed out that these numbers would not match the budget numbers due to accounting methods and the fact that some invoices from 2009 and 2010  have yet to be paid. The  numbers in the budget Resolution are appropriations for the purpose of making expenditures, and the “cash balance” figures are all estimates. Jonathan added that the current political climate should be considered before deciding whether to increase any expenditures. If the economy stabilizes as anticipated, revenues from surcharges are expected to remain relatively constant between this year and the next.   

Linda Gustafson continued with an update on consumer inquiries and concerns regarding the CapTel privacy announcement. The CPUC recognizes that an announcement has to be made to comply with State law, but there are concerns that the implementation of the announcement doesn’t yet meet their expectations and many CapTel users are frustrated and upset. Colette Noble pointed to the comments listed in the Consumer Affairs report and added her own criticism of the effects of the announcement. The CPUC welcomes comments and feedback which continue to come through service centers, field advisors, outreach events, Hamilton, the CTI customer service area, and through members of the advisory committees and will continue to seek the best resolution to the problem.                     

Helen Mickiewicz stated that the CPUC does not have the authority to interpret the Penal Code.  The person in the Attorney General’s office who the CPUC has been working with on this issue is on vacation, and the CPUC representatives can’t meet with her until later in August.  Tommy Leung pointed out that the CapTel CAs must abide by the confidentiality rules established by the FCC.  Helen said that doesn’t solve the problem, because there is still a third person on the call who both parties need to be aware of.  Dana Mulvany commented that it is the responsibility of the consumer, not the Program, to provide notice, and consumers could be given the opportunity to sign an agreement to that effect and have the automatic notice removed.  Helen responded that the CPUC is pursuing getting a response from the Attorney General’s office on that option.

Jonathan Lakritz said that the CPUC is hoping to test other solutions, such as delaying the announcement and changing the content of the announcement.  Kathleen Barrett noted that this issue is before the FCC, and she inquired about the impact on the service if the FCC rules in the consumers’ favor.  Helen said that she does not think the FCC has the authority to pre-empt California privacy laws.

Linda Gustafson announced that representatives from Hamilton Relay and AT AND T Relay are here today to update the committee on their services. Beginning on August 1st, relay users can register their 711 Choice.

Anne Girard of Hamilton Relay gave a Power Point update on recent activities. Hamilton has added Edward Kinal as their California Account Manager and Judy Montgomery, a speech language pathologist, as their external Speech to Speech expert. They are continuing California-specific training in linguistics and culture to meet their contract requirements and their recent contact with customers has been mostly to update profiles, answer questions about and establish long distance carriers of choice, and field comments on the privacy message. Various outreach events are also being planned including town hall meetings through which they hope to establish relationships with communities, organizations and agencies.

Wayne Hoang and April Lindbergh of AT AND T presented some of the CRS marketing materials that they have produced and showed Power Point slides of recent outreach events such as the ADA anniversary celebrations and of upcoming scheduled activities. They are focusing their outreach on areas where there are substantial deaf and hard of hearing populations and planning events to be as accessible as possible by providing interpreters and captioning.

Bummy Burstein said that he would like to know about the Hamilton and AT AND T outreach events monthly. He also asked what TADDAC could do to help the CPUC to resolve the CapTel third party announcement issue. Jonathan Lakritz asked that the Committee continue to gather feedback from users, to identify individuals who would be willing to test different messages and timings of the message and provide feedback to the CPUC, and to submit suggested alternative messages.

 

New Action Item: Committee members to assist CRS Vendor outreach efforts by sending information of community events to David Weiss.

 

II. Review of Action Items  

 

Due to time constraints, only those items assigned to the CPUC were discussed at this meeting.

 

 Previous Action Item #34: Jonathan Lakritz will research who is ultimately responsible for informing callers of a 3rd party’s presence and if it is possible to shift responsibility to the consumer on CapTel calls. 

 

Jonathan has contacted the Attorney General's office and is pursuing this avenue of resolution to the privacy issue and will keep the Committee apprised of the situation.

 

Previous Action Item #31: Helen Mickiewicz will research the question of legal professional privilege for CRS Communication Assistants. 

 

Helen explained the requirements and exceptions to the FCC code regarding professional privilege and said that probably none would apply to Communication Assistants, but she will check further.

 

Previous Action Item #27: CPUC Legal Division will prepare a guide to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act for the Committees. 

 

Helen will discuss with Legal Division staff to determine who will draft the guide. Kathleen Barrett will forward the Bagley-Keene information she already has to Helen.

 

Previous Action Item #2: CPUC will update the Committee on the issue of hiring/training an ADA Coordinator who can work with the CPUC and DDTP on accessibility concerns. A CPUC response is only needed when a change in the status of the issue occurs.  

 

Grant Lee, CPUC HR Manager, was introduced to Committee at the meeting in June. He is working on ADA compliance issues and has informed and will continue to inform TADDAC & EPAC of CPUC actions.

 

Lunch 12:05 to 1:10 

 

IV. continued 

 

  • Report from the Chair  

 

Kathleen Barrett commented that she had seen lots of advertising for the Lifeline Program and asked if other Committee members had also. She had nothing otherwise to report.

 

  • Report from CCAF 

  

Shelley Bergum spoke with Jonathan Lakritz during lunch and he asked if discussion about the budget “must haves,” which he had planned to address earlier, could be postponed and added to the September meeting agenda. The Committee agreed to the postponement. Shelley then referred to the FCC Order regarding new reimbursement rates for TRS, VRS, IP and other relay-based services for 2010-2011 and the CPUC’s announcement regarding the rates here in California. She summarized by saying that California pays less for TRS, regular relay rates, than the FCC does for the same kinds of calls in the interstate jurisdiction. However, California pays more for speech-to-speech calls because we require some enhanced speech-to-speech services including experts who will be available to advise the committee and the program on any speech-to-speech issues. California also reimburses more for CapTel calls because we provide more enhanced services which are hoped to draw more users to the program. Kevin Siemens noted that both AT AND T and Hamilton operators need more training and described some problems he had using AT AND T Relay.

 

New Action Item:  AT AND T to investigate the issue of why STS Relay answers with automated menu dialing instead of with a live operator.

 

Shelley continued her report by informing the Committee that the CRS and CapTel reports for May were not available when the binders were being assembled but that David Weiss would summarize the information for them. Some areas of the Customer Contact report are also incomplete as CSD is continuing to transition to a new data base and hasn’t finalized the June reports. Complete reports should be available by the September meeting.

DDTP continues to field complaints about the CapTel announcement and is sending a report to the CPUC every Friday summarizing each complaint received. Regarding Field Operations, Shelley reported on a recent event in Fresno which was the first CTAP-sponsored health fair where we partnered with 15 other community-based organizations to present the fair. CTAP is looking at doing such health fairs annually and joining forces with other CBOs who provide services to similar constituencies. Finally, regarding the marketing campaign, the Leeza Gibbons CTAP commercial is airing again through September, then OneWorld will launch the new marketing materials in October and is planning to attend a committee meeting at that time to get feedback from members.

         

  • Public Input 

 

The Committee began a discussion about categories of users listed in the Field Operations report and asked for a more clear delineation between late-deafened and hard of hearing. Ken Arcia explained that late-deafened persons tend to have more severe hearing loss than persons who are hard of hearing. People who can benefit from hearing aids and have some residual hearing tend to be classified as hard of hearing, while those with more profound hearing loss are late-deafened. Some of each group sign, some don’t. Marilynn Finn agreed with Ken’s definition but stated that there is a great deal of overlap and they are not two distinct communities with a clear line between them. Phil Kaplan added that there are different psychological and mental effects and issues for the late-deafened than there are for those who are hard of hearing from birth. Bummy Burstein raised the issue of the soldiers who are returning from wars as late-deafened and how their numbers will be growing.

 

  • Unfinished Business 

 

    1. It was agreed earlier in the meeting that the Budget “MustHaves” document will be discussed at the meeting in September. 

 

  • New Business 

 

    1. EPAC Report and Recommendation 

 

There was no report or recommendation at this time.

 

    • Overview of CRS Call Volumes and Consumer Issues 

 

David Weiss summarized activities in May and reported that GoAmerica, Nordia, and Sprint successfully met the challenge of the transition to new providers and that overflow calls were handled in a timely manner. Regarding vendor invoices, Shelley Bergum explained that CCAF reviews monthly invoices and will report to TADDAC if contract violations are found for which liquidated damages will be assessed and TADDAC will have the opportunity to either agree or disagree with CCAF’s recommendations. David reported on the status of dashboard and vendor reports for June which are still being updated and finalized and should be available for the next meeting. David also reported on the test calls with the new providers that several departments have made recently. The test calls measured various aspects of each call including the greeting, relay conversation, and closure and overall the rating was okay to excellent service. Calls will continue to be monitored to ensure that the service quality remains high.

 

    • Report from the Communications Division on Updates to CRS Long Distance Charges 

 

Linda Gustafson said there was nothing new to report but that both AT AND T and Hamilton have identified AT AND T as the default long distance provider whose intrastate rate is 3 cents a minute and interstate rate is 7 cents a minute. Beth Slough of Hamilton Relay (on the phone) reaffirmed the 40 mile radius of what are considered local calls and that the distance is measured from the source to the destination of the call, not from a central office. Linda added that information regarding the charges has been mailed to CRS and CapTel users, is posted on the DDTP website, is included in the FAQs that field advisors, outreach specialists, and service centers provide, and has also been distributed by both vendors. Relay users who have questions about the rates should call AT AND T or Hamilton customer service for clarification but remember that the relay providers are not their long distance carriers. The new neutral 711 Choice form will be available in print and as a downloadable (but not interactive) form on the DDTP website August 1st. All of the old profiles with the 3 previous providers, GoAmerica, Nordia, and Sprint, have been passed on to the 2 new providers, Hamilton and AT AND T, but consumers should still check with customer service to ensure that their profile is correct and up to date.

 

    • Review of Draft DDTP Budget Resolution for 2011-2012 and any comments filed 

 

This item was discussed earlier in the Report from CPUC Staff and will be discussed further in September.

 

    • Discussion of Off-Site Meeting Possibilities 

 

The pros and cons of each location being considered were discussed.  Those who had attended previous CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conferences shared their impressions of its appropriateness for TADDAC’s purposes. It was agreed that there is a lot of action at the conference and the opportunity to reach a large audience, but that the deaf and hard of hearing had not been well represented there in the past. A meeting at Fremont Oak Gardens was suggested as it is a senior community with a large meeting room and it is nearby and easily accessible. Lastly a visit to the CTAP Contact Center in Stockton was discussed as being of value educationally to the Committee, but the conference room isn’t large enough to accommodate a meeting so another venue would have to be found. Shelley Bergum agreed to find out what a meeting in Stockton would entail and report back to the Committee in September. She also added that the CSUN Conference is March 14, 2011 so a meeting could be held there and TADDAC could have an off-site at another location this year. Linda Gustafson remarked that off-site meetings could be very effective when they involve committee members actively reaching out to people in the community and coordinating with other organizations in the area, wherever they are held.

 

    • Member Reports 

 

Colette Noble did not have a report but wanted to express her concern that many jobs associated with the program have moved out of the state, particularly CRS jobs.  Linda Gustafson responded that the California state contracting process is competitive and in many cases contractors cannot be required to be located within California, including the new relay providers. She said that copies of the new CRS provider contracts will be made available to the committee.

 

    • Items for Next Month’s Agenda 

 

This item was not discussed directly.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:55 PM

 

These minutes were prepared by Patsy Emerson