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About VTDDC and Membership

Jump to: VTDDC Board Members | How to join the Council | Meeting Minutes | VTDDC By-laws and General Policies

THE VERMONT DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES COUNCIL (VTDDC) is a state-wide board that identifies and addresses critical issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families.

At least 60% of VTDDC’s members must be self-advocates or family caregivers.  Other members represent agencies in state government or partner organizations in Vermont.  The Council may at any time have between 21 and 25 members.

VTDDC was created under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. There is a Developmental Disabilities Council in every US state, territory, and jurisdiction – 56 in all!  Councils use their federal funding to make positive changes for people with developmental disabilities.

WHAT IS A Developmental Disability?

illustration of two people cheering.

Under federal law, a developmental disability is defined as “a severe, often lifelong disability that affects people before they reach age 22 and substantially limits functioning ability in three or more life activities such as self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, independent living, and employability.”

An individual from birth to age nine who has a substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired condition, may be considered to have a developmental disability without meeting three or more of these criteria if the individual, without services and supports, has a high probability of meeting those criteria later in life.

VTDDC’s mission includes any Vermonter who experiences a developmental disability that meets this description and their family members, regardless of whether or not they receive certain types of services and supports.

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People with developmental disabilities and family members are appointed for three-year terms by the Governor. They play a key role by speaking from their lived experience and letting VTDDC know what is happening for those with developmental disabilities in Vermont communities.

Members work together to promote policies and best practices that will improve the lives of Vermonters with developmental disabilities and their families. They are expected to attend four day-long meetings each year and to be active participants on a Council committee or work group. They may receive a small stipend, and they are reimbursed for travel expenses.


summar picture of 2017 council members.


VTDDC membership reaches statewide. All self-advocate and family members are first voted on by the full council before they are recommended to the  Governor for a three year appointment.  These members may serve for a second three-year appointment if authorized by the Governor.  Agencies select their own representatives and most serve without term limits.

Self-Advocates and Family
Miriam Stoll from Burlington. Chair and Family.
Lisa Rudiakov from Bennington. Vice Chair and Self-Advocate.
Kaiya Andrews from Waterbury. Member and Self-Advocate.
Gina Carrera from Essex. Member and Family.
Mike Gruteke from Derby. Member and Self-Advocate.
Terry Holden from Jeffersonville. Member and Family.
Steve Kieselstein from Burlington. Member and Family.
Dion LaShay from Bennington. Member and Self-Advocate.
Hannah Neff from Brattleboro. Member and Family.
Kay Stambler from Shelburne. Member and Family.
Adrian Vaut from South Burlington. Member and Self-Advocate.

Self-Advocacy and Family who are waiting to be appointed by the Governor
David Frye from South Burlington. Member and Self-Advocate.
Candice Price from Addison. Member and Self-Advocate.
Courtney Quinlan from Burlington. Member and Family.
Havah Armstrong Walther from Hartford. Member and Family.
Crista Yagjian from Guilford. Member and Family.

Agencies Represented on the Council
Julie Arel
from Agency of Human Services: Department of Health
Betsy Choquette from Agency of Human Services: Vocational Rehab
Carol Hassler from Agency of Human Services: Children with Special Health Needs
Hillary Hill from the Agency of Human Services: Department of Vermont Health Access
Melanie Feddersen from Agency of Human Services: Department of Aging & Independent Living
Ed Paquin from Coalition for Disability Rights: Disability Rights Vermont
Jesse Suter from University of Vermont: Center on Disability and Community Inclusion
John Spinney from Agency of Education: Transition Aged Youth
Jennifer Stratton from Vermont Designated Agencies: Lamoille County Mental Health


Join the Council and speak for your community...

VTDDC accepts applications on a rolling basis.  To be considered for membership you must first fill out the member application. You can type your application on the computer, or print it out and hand write it. If you need support or an alternative format, please contact VTDDC.

The Council’s Membership Committee reviews all applications.

They may ask for additional information or invite an applicant for an interview.  The Membership Committee makes recommendations to the full Council, which will vote on whether or not to recommend the candidate to the Governor for appointment.


man using prosethetic hands to sign his name.

Openings are limited.

Please be aware that many factors are considered in selecting members, including the need to recruit a diverse group that represents the various regions, cultures, and experiences with disability that can be found in Vermont.



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Full Council Meetings

Quarterly Meetings take place in December, March, June, and September in varying locations. VTDDC’s President, Executive Director, or Executive Committee may schedule additional meetings if necessary. All Council meetings are open to the public.  Once a year, the Council meets in Montpelier so that VTDDC can invite the Governor to speak about his vision for Vermonters with developmental disabilities and their family members. VTDDC follows the Federal Fiscal Year and shares minutes and agendas as they accumulate for that year.

At Quarterly meetings, Council members and staff to talk about local and national issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families, review VTDDC's budget and make funding decisions, participate in brief trainings related to current laws and practices, and invite grantees to share the outcomes of their community projects. Every five years, VTDDC members have the additional responsibility of developing a Five-Year State Plan that will guide how the Council uses its resources. The Council is responsible for recruiting and hiring the Executive Director.

Would you like to attend a meeting? Save the dates and details for the following days: March 28, 2019, June 27, 2019, and September 26, 2019.

Minutes within a year are shared as drafts and are later replaced after the Council votes to approve them. Contact VTDDC for minutes from previous years.


three council members brainstorm and write their thoughts.


Committee Meetings

The Executive Committee generally meets on the first Monday of every month.  Per VTDDC’s By-Laws, it includes the Council President,  Vice-President, the most recent Past President if still a member, and up to four members who are appointed by the Council President.  Sixty percent of the Executive Committee must be people with developmental disabilities and/or family members.

The purpose of the Executive Committee is to ensure smooth Council operations.  The Executive Committee monitors VTDDC’s budget and ensures the timely filing of federal reports.  It provides the Executive Director with an annual performance evaluation and sets the agenda for full Council meetings.  The Executive Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the full Council on emergency matters when the full Council cannot meet.

Currently the Executive Committee is scheduled to meet from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at the VTDDC offices, Berlin, VT on the following dates: September 7, 2018, October 8, 2018, November 5, 2018, and December 3, 2018.

Minutes within a year are  posted on this website once they have been adopted by the Executive Committee. Contact VTDDC for minutes older than a year.


executive director, kirsten murphy, and executive committee member, cathy hybels, present to vermont state senators and representatives.


The Policy Committee generally meets by conference call on the second and fourth Monday of every month during the legislative session. It meets once a month when the legislature is out-of-session.  Per VTDDC’s By-Laws, it consists of at least five members and incudes at least one member from the Executive Committee.

The purpose of the Policy Committee is to oversee the development, implementation, and revision of a public policy agenda consistent with VTDDC’s Five Year State Plan.

Currently the Policy Committee is scheduled to meet monthly for one hour. Please contact VTDDC for dates, times, and call-in information.


The Program Committee generally meets on the same day as the Executive Committee. Per VTDDC’s By-Laws, it consists of five members and includes at least one member from the Executive Committee.

The purpose of the Program Committee is to support the Council in achieving the Goals and Objectives of the Five-Year State Plan. 


The Membership Committee meets as needed. Per VTDDC’s By-Laws, it must have at least two members.

The purpose of the Membership Committee is to review applications and recommend appointments to the full Council.



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VTDDC By-Laws and General Policies

 By-laws, policies and procedures provide the framework for VTDDC to fulfill its Mission and State Plan.

These general policies guide VTDDC in its work:
VTDDC's By-Laws
guides members and staff through its authority, purpose, mission, and duties. By-Laws can only be changed by majority vote of the full council.
 the cover to vtddc's member handbook.

VTDDC's By-Laws have proposed changes.
Review the draft that will be voted-on at the next Quarterly Meeting.

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance
and Bill of Rights Act of 2000
is 64 pages and outlines laws that protect all United States citizens with developmental disabilities.



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