New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC)
New Member Orientation Manual

Table of Contents


I. What you need to know for your first council meeting

II. Important council member forms to review

III. Important documents to review



The New York State Independent Living Council, Inc.’s (NYSILC’s) New Member Orientation Manual provides you with important information about the council, key documents, and background about Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) and their primary purpose - the 3-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL).

In terms of your peers, a link to NYSILC’s council member listing is located at: An organizational chart informs you that the NYSILC office is small (three staff) with a group of specialized vendors. This is typical of most SILC staff/offices nationwide.

Refer to: To get a sense of background/history on the council, refer to the following link related to “NYSILC’s Accomplishments:”

I. What you need to know for your first council meeting

NYSILC is a not-for-profit state council whose primary purpose is to jointly develop the 3-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). NYSILC has the unique task of developing, monitoring, and evaluating the implementation of the State Plan with the Federal Centers for Independent Living (CILs) in the New York network as State Partners, along with Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES-VR), who act as the Designated State Entity (DSE). The DSE serves in an administrative role, particularly related to the fiscal distribution and monitoring of the Part B funds related to the SPIL.

A. Officers/Executive Committee
As a non-profit, the council has officers, identified at the top of the council member listing (Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Member-at-Large). They also comprise an Executive Committee (along with an ACCES-VR non-voting member). The Executive Committee meets monthly to conduct the business of the council in between the Full Council Meetings (FCMs). They provide minutes and communicate to all members at the FCM. To understand more about the duties of each officer and the function of the Executive Committee, refer to Sections 5.5-5.9 and Section 7.2 of the updated NYSILC By-Laws:

B. Meetings/Logistics
The council has four FCMs a year, and they tend to occur in January (Zoom), April or May, July, and October. Decisions are made about in-person versus Zoom meetings. Council meeting dates are posted on the NYSILC website at: In-person meetings take a full day, starting at 9 am and ending around 3:30-4:00 pm (depending on the agenda). Zoom meetings take 2 to 3 hours and focus on necessary business. They start at 10 am.

C. Meeting/Agenda
Meetings are run by the Chair of the council according to an agenda. An agenda and packet are sent out electronically 7-10 days in advance of the meeting. A sample agenda is provided below:

New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC)
Full Council Meeting

9:00 am to 3:30 pm


1. Introduction.

9:15 am

  • A. Call to order – [name], Chair.
  • B. Roll call.
  • C. Open forum.

2. Review and approval of Full Council Meeting minutes.

9:20 am

  • A. Review and approval of draft minutes for the [date] Full Council Meeting (FCM).

3. Executive Director’s report – [name].

9:30 am

  • A. Significant issues/major goals and deliverables [date].
    • • Staff updates.
  • B. Other issues and discussions relevant to NYSILC staff.

4. Treasurer’s Report

10:00 am

  • A. Quarterly Fiscal Report [date].
  • B. Finance Committee minutes [date].

5. Executive Committee Report

10:15 am

  • A. Executive Committee minutes.
  • B. Issues and discussions relevant to Executive Committee business.

6. Break

10:30 am

7. Presentation of reports, discussion of issues, training.

10:45 am

8. Lunch.

12:00 pm

9. Group presentation.

1:00 pm

10. Committee & Subcommittee Reports

2:15 pm

  • (Minutes have been provided for review. Reports should focus on new activities.
    Questions can be related to the reports or minutes. Updates will be provided by
    committees that haven’t been recently active.)

11. Adjourn.

3:30 pm

  • a. Roll Call/Public Meeting Requirement/Open Forum
    The Chair calls the meeting to order. The first order of business is the roll call. Members go around and announce their name and affiliation, followed by NYSILC staff and guests. At the NYSILC meeting, it is important to always use a microphone when speaking, as recognized by the Chair. This ensures that everyone can hear the person speaking. To comply with a requirement of the Open Meetings law, as public officers, the council needs to record its
    public meetings. So be confident about your interactions at the meeting. The audio recordings will eventually be posted online. Refer to the following link to reference NYS Open Meetings Law:
    The “open forum” is the part of the meeting where you can share something of interest. The Chair will close the open forum when there is nothing more to share or end it due to time/agenda constraints.
  • b. Protocol
    If you want to be recognized by the Chair, protocol is to raise your hand to address the business that is on the agenda. If a peer cannot raise their hand, they can say, “Excuse me, I want to speak, so they can be recognized by the Chair.” The interpreter can make the same statement for a peer. Members will be recognized in consecutive order. The Chair has the prerogative to limit the time duration for agenda items and can call a close to discussions. Members must be mindful of peers who utilize an interpreter to discuss issues. We might need to be aware of the pace of our discussions. It is also important to not talk while others are speaking, or interrupt others.
  • c. Minutes/Voting Majority
    Next, we review the minutes to the previous council meeting. Members may accept them as presented or identify appropriate changes. A motion is then made to either accept the minutes as presented, or with the recommended changes. Someone seconds the motion. Members vote on the motion. The call is for “all in favor,” “opposed,” or “abstentions.” The exact number of these votes are calculated, especially identifying the number of “all in favor” (yes) votes. The council does not operate on majority vote. NYSILC members are public officers and under an opinion provided by the NYS Attorney General’s Office, the council follows General Construction Law, section 41. This means for a quorum; it is the majority of the whole (26) plus one. Thus, the council needs 14 voting members to have a majority at a meeting. In addition, the council also requires at least 14 yes votes to pass a motion at a meeting. So, at your first meeting, think twice about abstaining from voting on the minutes (which you didn’t attend). There may not be enough votes to pass the motion! We can discuss this at the orientation. Refer to the following link to reference the NYS Attorney General Opinion letter:
  • d. Quorum/Attendance
    This also raises the importance of attendance at the FCMs to have a quorum to effectively conduct business. The council recognizes that members may have a conflict with one out of four meetings each year. Members not able to attend a meeting have a couple of options. We encourage you to complete a voting proxy form, which allows you to designate a member present at the meeting as your proxy. They can then vote for you based on the items you identify on the form, per the agenda, and how you want them to vote. Sign and date the form. Refer to the following link to reference the NYSILC Proxy Form: Council members can also participate via conference call. However, you cannot vote via this method. This is offered to let you participate remotely, keeping you informed, and allowing you the opportunity to ask questions. This option allows members and the council to ensure it has more than the required 14 voting members present to conduct business at a meeting.
  • e. Executive Director/Staff Report
    The Executive Director provides highlights from the last quarter, along with progress on major goals and deliverables for the year. Staff add comments about their work activities.
  • f. Treasurer’s Report
    The Treasurer presents the Quarterly fiscal report. Minutes are provided regarding the most recent Finance Committee meeting. As an example, the minutes will note in February that the committee reviewed the Audited Financial Statement (AFS) with the CPA and reviewed the annual budget for the upcoming year in August.
  • g. Executive Committee Report
    After presenting committee minutes, agenda issues are discussed, along with identified Executive Committee business and advocacy issues.
  • h. Break
    The council takes a scheduled 10-minute break around 10:45. Members can excuse themselves during the meeting, if necessary. However, every effort should be made to not disrupt the flow of the meeting.
  • i. Presentation of Reports, Discussion of Issues, Training
    The council uses the 11:00 am time slot to present and approve reports, discuss issues and to schedule occasional training sessions.
  • j. Lunch
    Lunch is served in a buffet style. Depending on the venue - seating could be in separate round tables from our meeting space, or at our meeting space. We encourage members to socialize and network during this time period. Contact Roz Harris or Amy Wink in advance of the meeting to request any special dietary needs.
  • k. Group Presentation
    After lunch, we typically have a presentation about a program of interest to people with disabilities, or subject matter that the council is addressing.
  • l. Committee & Subcommittee Reports
    The rest of the meeting focusses on council committees reporting out business. This will include recent business (not in the minutes). Members are encouraged to ask questions about what is reported, seeking clarification of the minutes or reports connected to the committees.

D. Council member involvement on committees
New council members are expected to join one committee at first. Depending on what committee is selected (some meet monthly – others meet as needed during certain months of the year, or certain years of the State Plan cycle), a member might decide to join more than one committee. Eventually, new members tend to grow into multi-committee involvement once they learn about the various committees and match their knowledge and skills up with their interest and time availability. The only committee that members can’t join on a voluntary basis is the Executive Committee. Members of the Executive Committee are the officers of the council and must be voted into the positions. Refer to the following link to reference NYSILC Committee Materials: Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to communicate what committee or committees you what to join.

E. Reimbursement form for travel expenses
After each FCM, members submit a travel reimbursement form to get reimbursed for their expenses. Think in terms of how you traveled to the meeting (train or car) and any connecting transportation (cabs, uber/lyft, subway, bus, other). Include related fees (tolls, parking). You get reimbursed for meals. The GSA meal rate for Albany is $61 a day. Keep this in mind as you are getting coffees, breakfast, lunch and perhaps dinner the evening before the council meeting and on the way home. There is a final section on the form for support services if they are required. Some members, due to their proximity to the Capital District, will not need to complete a travel reimbursement form. Refer to the following link to reference the NYSILC Travel Reimbursement Form:
Contact the NYSILC office at (518) 427-1060 if you have questions. Email completed reimbursement forms to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. within 60 days of the FCM.

II. Important council member forms to review

Council member responsibilities
Council member duties and responsibilities are defined in two documents: a job description for council members and a statement of agreement. Refer to the following link to reference both documents: Please review these documents. You will need to sign and date the statement of agreement. If you have any questions about the statement of agreement, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call me at (518) 427-1060. If you are fine with the statement/agreement, you can send me signed/dated forms via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by fax to (518) 427-1139, or mail to NYSILC, 111 Washington Avenue, Suite 101, Albany, NY 12210.

Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy
To comply with Federal and State law, NYSILC has a Conflict Of Interest (COI) policy for members to be able to express “no known conflicts,” “a potential conflict,” and to explain the process the council will use to proceed with a potential conflict. Refer to the following link to reference the council’s COI policy: Please review this document. You will need to fill out the disclosure statement. If you have any questions about the policy or disclosure statement, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call me at (518) 427-1060. If you are fine with both, you can send me the completed disclosure statement via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by fax to (518) 427-1139, or mail to NYSILC, 111 Washington Avenue, Suite 101, Albany, NY 12210.

III. Important documents to review

Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended
Independent Living is addressed in Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Rehabilitation Act, and several other federal disability laws, were recently amended in 2015 with the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Relevant sections include 701 Purpose, 704 State Plan, and 705 Statewide Independent Living Council. Refer to the following link to reference these IL sections of Rehabilitation Act:

New York State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL)
As mentioned earlier, the primary purpose of the council is to jointly develop, monitor, and evaluate the implementation of the 3-year State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). The SPIL was recently amended to add  a fourth year (2020) to the current plan. However, we are in the process of developing the next 3-year SPIL for 2021-2023. The plan has a new template and is based on a logic model. The first draft of this SPIL is located at: We will discuss what is different in the new SPIL and what some of the major highlights are.

Other council policies and documents
As council members, it is important to be aware of other NYSILC policies. They are in the updated NYSILC ByLaws (link previously noted above). The council’s Whistleblower policy is noted in Section 3.11 and attached (item # 4), along with the council’s Fiscal Policies, referenced in Section 8.1 and attached (item # 6). Last, refer to the following link for Common Acronyms: