The Resource Center holds annual meeting

Dr. Todd Jacobson was re-elected as the president of The Resource Center’s board of directors at the agency’s annual general membership meeting.

More than 50 people attended the event, held in TRC’s facility at 186 Lake Shore Drive W. in Dunkirk.

Besides Jacobson’s election to a second one-year term, others elected as officers for the board’s 2013-14 term were Dr. Kathleen Gradel, vice president; Katie Smith, secretary; and Michael Metzger, treasurer.

R. Michael Goldman and Marlene Sirianno were re-elected to two-year terms as board members. Also elected to two-year board terms were newcomers Donna Haenggi and Patricia Perlee; they replace Richard Davies, who stepped down from the board after serving since 2007, and William Haenggi (Donna’s husband), who stepped down after serving on the board since 1990, including a three-year stint as president from 1994 to 1997.

Active TRC members who were in attendance at the general membership meeting also elected the people who will sit on the nominating committee for the 2014 Election: Richard Erickson, James Kress, Jeanette Ostrom and Ronald Sellers.

Jacobson congratulated those who were elected and thanked the members of last year’s nominating committee for their efforts in putting together the slate of candidates. The members of the 2012-1213 Nominating Committee were Kress, Ostrom, Sellers, Richard Koerner and Elaine Hotelling.

New at this year’s annual meeting, The Resource Center presented its first-ever “Excellence in Governance Awards” to recognize those individuals who have done an exemplary job in supporting and furthering governance and oversight at TRC. Those honored were Dr. Harry Glatz for his service on TRC’s board advisory committees; Wayne Hotelling for his service on the board; board member Carole Johnson for her dedication to the administrative board advisory committees; Tess Kerzner, director of children’s services, for her efforts in engaging community members to serve on TRC’s committees; and Virginia Vath, assistant executive director for quality assurance/quality im-provement and staff training, for her role as executive liaison between TRC and some of the committees. Each of these people was given a trophy.

TRC’s membership also approved several minor revisions to the agency’s by-laws.

The annual meeting included a presentation by John Drexelius Jr., attorney with the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York, who gave an overview of the looming changes in the ways services are delivered to people with disabilities. Citing the successful efforts of individuals with disabilities, family members and staff in lessening the impact of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed funding cuts in this year’s state budget, Drexelius encouraged people to continue to advocate.

Jacobson echoed this sentiment in his president’s report.

“Advocacy is indeed where it’s at,” he said. “We need to get more parents involved working toward the future.” He also encouraged more people to donate to TRC.

“Even $5 or $10 makes a difference,” Jacobson said.

In his report, executive director Paul Cesana reiterated Jacobson’s points. Noting that many families just assume that supports for their loved ones always will be available, even in the face of the state’s current efforts to cut funding, Cesana said, “We need to reach out to those who are taking the whole situation for granted.”

The Resource Center, whose main mission is to assist people with disabilities and their families, is a membership organization, and membership is open to anyone who wants to support TRC’s mission by paying annual membership dues. In gratitude for their financial support of the agency, members of The Resource Center receive a membership card entitling them to discounts at more than 20 local businesses. For more information or to become a member, phone 661-4735 or visit

The Resource Center is always looking for community members interested in supporting the agency’s mission by serving on one of TRC’s many oversight committees or joining in the agency’s advocacy efforts. For more info, phone 661-4735 or email