[nfbmi-talk] mcb march 19 minutes won thru mi foia

J.J. Meddaugh jj at bestmidi.com
Sat Apr 17 23:45:56 UTC 2010

These are much more accurate than I expected they would be, all the way up 
to the end.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "joe harcz Comcast" <joeharcz at comcast.net>
To: <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:14 PM
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] mcb march 19 minutes won thru mi foia

DRAFT                         DRAFT                                   DRAFT


MARCH 19, 2010





Ms. Jo Ann Pilarski, Chair              Ms. Velma Allen (via telephone)

Mr. Michael Geno, Vice-Chair       Ms. Geri Taeckens

Ms. Margaret Wolfe




Mr. Patrick Cannon                         Ms. Sue Luzenski

Mr. Leamon Jones                         Ms. Susan Turney

Ms. Sherri Heibeck                         Ms. Christine Movalson

Ms. Sue Chinault                            Mr. Bruce Schultz

Ms. Constance Zanger                  Ms. Julia Burdgick

Ms. Carla Haynes                           Ms. Amber Silvey

Mr. James Hull


Mr. Daniel Frye                               Mr. Joe Harcz

Mr. Larry Posont                             Ms. Roxanna Mann

Mr. Herb Grassow                          Mr. Geoffrey Krause

Ms. Michelle Carrington                 Ms. Christine Boone

Mr. Doug Boone                             Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke

Mr. George Wurtzel                        Mr. Matt McCubbin

Mr. Jason Meddaugh                     Mr. Michael Torrez

Mr. Paul Posont                              Mr. Larry Scott

Mr. Mike Ellis                                   Mr. Bob Rafferty

Mr., Mark Eagle                               Mr. Terry Eagle

Mr. Geer Wilcox                              Ms. Mary Wurtzel

Mr. Greg Keathley                          Mr. Fred Wurtzel

Mr. David Robinson                        Mr. Joe Sontag

Ms. Mary Ann Rogek                     Ms. Yvonne DeWitt

Mr. Bryan Sackrider                        Ms. Mae Kent

Ms. Shirley Wiles                            Ms. Phyllis Magbonua

Ms. Janet Wisswell                         Ms. Donna LePiors

Mr. Jerry Clay                                  Mr. Wayne LePiors

Ms. Terry Mahoney                        Ms. Paula Stevens

Ms. Debbie Huntley                        Ms. Daphne Johnson

Ms. Stenetta Burroughs                 Mr. Brian Brown

Ms. Michelle Crawford                   Ms. Mary Jenkins

Mr. Bennet Grass                           Mr. Adam Parker

Ms. Sarah Norwood                       Mr. Shane Jackson

Mr. James Chaney                         Ms. Chamille Jones

Ms. Crystal LaFleche                     Ms. Lydia Shook

Ms. Gwen Botting                           Mr. Greg Botting

Ms. Chris Barnard


The Committee of the Whole was called to order at 9:12 a.m. by Chair Jo Ann 


           Ms. Margaret Wolfe attended the Diversity Committee in January. 
A presentation was given by the Native American Business Alliance focusing 
on interactions between MCB staff and Native American groups. This person 
actively wants to work with MCB on diversity within the Native American 
groups and the presentation was very informative.  Commissioner Wolfe also 
said that it appears the sub regional library is doing well with becoming 
part of MCB and said she was saddened to hear about the sub regional library 
closing in Marquette.

          Commissioner Michael Geno met with MCB staff regarding partnering 
opportunities for the Computer Recycling for the Blind program.  A letter 
has been written outlining proposed procedures which will assist the program 
in getting computers to applicants.  This program is also collaborating with 
the MCB Training Center to explore having computers available in students' 

          Commissioner Geri Taeckens reported that she attended the Service 
Delivery Design Team.  Commissioner Taeckens also has been involved with the 
Quality Education Team (QET) and is promoting the upcoming 2nd Annual 
Braille-A-Thon to be held at the Capitol in June with fliers, posters and 
fundraisers.  She has served on the College Policy Committee which is on the 
agenda to be discussed later in this meeting.

          Commissioner Jo Ann Pilarski said that she has attended two 
Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team meetings since December.  She commended Sue 
Chinault for contributing and running a well organized library. 
Commissioner Pilarski highlighted action plan updates including the Michigan 
Commission on Disability Concerns (MCDC) losing staff which has delayed 
client survey results.  Also there had been discussion on how B E P 
Operators receive their point reports, which will be received on a quarterly 
basis.  She also spoke about the MCB Director's Performance Objectives for 
2010 and indicated some of the objectives will be deferred and that the new 
objectives added focus on B E P and the planning of an all staff meeting 
including stakeholders, community partners, operators and consumers which 
will focus on reintroducing the agency's Vision 2020 Initiative to 
participants.  She also reported on the Elected Operator Committee (EOC) 
meetings she has attended and said she has been impressed with both staff 
and operators, the feeling of unity between operators and the spirit of 
cooperation among all participants.

          Commissioner Geri Taeckens added she had attended an ad hoc 
meeting on MCB data systems focused on tracking college consumer 
information.  She identified team members and suggested consideration be 
given to adding a college student and a parent of a college student which 
would provide a different perspective.

          Commissioner Velma Allen joined the conference by telephone and 
informed participants that she will be resigning from the Commission due to 
her relocation to Alabama.  Commissioner Allen wished the best for everyone 
and stated she looks forward to a time when everyone can problem solve and 
come together with all constituent groups in a way that moves everyone 

          Director Cannon expressed his regrets that Commissioner Allen 
would be unable to participate in this meeting so attendees could wish her 
well.  He and others shared their appreciation for Commissioner Allen's 
service on the Commission Board.


          Commissioner Pilarski stated the current goals and objectives are 
appropriate for now and believes that future goals and objectives will arise 
during discussions at the all staff meeting to be held in June 2010.

          Commissioner Taeckens shared concern regarding the client survey 
on unsuccessful closures which has been put on hold and stops the agency 
from moving forward.  It has been three years since the beginning of the 
process and Ms. Taeckens asked for a timeline commitment from Director 

          Director Cannon agreed that this is an important project and noted 
that the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns (MCDC) lost one-half of 
their staff, and said MCDC has recommitted to moving this project forward. 
He said the two progress reports to Commissioners last year on this 
initiative were helpful and said Commissioners can expect additional reports 
within the next several months.

          Commissioner Wolfe said that she liked Objective three in regards 
to succession planning.  Director Cannon stated that the ad hoc committee 
for succession planning met for the first time March 17 and will continue to 
meet during the coming months.


          Commissioner Pilarski said that this topic is on the agenda 
because of frequent rumors of consolidation or merger with the general 
agency, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), especially in these very 
difficult economic times and also because of the changes in the Executive 
Branch and Legislature.  She said remaining a separate Agency is important 
because of issues related specifically to specialized services for the 

Commissioner Taeckens spoke about the trend happening in other states and 
the candidate for Governor who is talking about merging MCB with MRS.

          Commissioner Wolfe felt it was not yet necessary to begin a letter 
writing campaign on this issue.

          Commissioner Geno said it was important to keep the perspective 
that MCB is one of the best in the country and emphasized the necessity of 
unity.  He also stated that every time a person who is blind is successful 
it benefits the whole blind community.

          Director Cannon noted that rumors of merger or consolidation are 
not new and frequently surface many times a year.  He said that after 
speaking with 3 key officials in the Governors office who asserted that no 
such plans were under consideration he's satisfied that any threat of 
consolidation is not eminent.  He acknowledged that one potential candidate 
for Governor is looking at privatizing food service on the inter-state 
system which would be very harmful to the Commissions blind highway vendors. 
MCB Staff met with MDOT and the Governor's Policy Team a few years ago and, 
although the idea seemed intriguing to MDOT and the Policy Team at first, 
after grasping the importance of highway vending to blind operators they 
were no longer pursuing this subject and said this issue has not been 
brought up again.

Commissioner Pilarski referred to a document developed in 2002 that spoke of 
MCB and MRS remaining separate agencies. She then asked that the President's 
of both consumer organizations comment on this subject.

          Mr. Larry Posont, National Federation of the Blind of Michigan 
(NFBM) commented on an agreement created by the NFB-M and Michigan Council 
of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) in 2003 on keeping separate 
agencies which identified 9 areas of concern.  Mr. Posont also referred to a 
study that Mississippi State University completed on separate agencies and 
initial analysis indicates that keeping separate agencies is best.

          Director Cannon noted that Mississippi State University (the other 
MSU) did issue the report and its resulting data confirms that blind 
individuals served by a separate agency are finding employment 82% of the 
time compared to 57% in a combined agency.

          Mr. Joe Sibley, MCBVI, stated that their organization will stand 
with others to support MCB as a separate agency.  Commissioner Taeckens and 
Commissioner Geno said they appreciate positive information about the 
effectiveness of separate agencies and urged supportive comments about 
specialized services for the blind.  Commissioner Geno commended the staff 
on its communications and public awareness activities.


          Commissioner Pilarski stated that NFB-M has requested more public 
comment be put on commission meeting agendas.  An initial idea was to have 2 
public comments in the morning related to morning issues only and an 
afternoon public comment geared to those issues on the afternoon agenda.  A 
question has already arose about whether the Board can limit public comment 
to one specific agenda item or items on the agenda during a specific time 
frame.  Director Cannon reported that the Open Meetings Act (OMA) expects 
public comment to be on the agenda, but limiting public comment to specific 
items on the agenda may be debatable.  The Attorney General's office 
suggested that, generally speaking, limiting public comment to a particular 
topic is not advisable.

          Commissioner Taeckens asked about the possibility of encouraging 
participants to speak about a certain topic.

          Commissioner Geno said that when a group is dealing with a forum 
such as this meeting it is out of tradition to restrict topics of 
discussion.  He stated the two issues he can see are the legal aspect of 
limiting public comment and the common courtesy aspect of allowing public 
comment as decided by the Chair.

          There was discussion about the possibility of impromptu public 
comment being called and this was left up to the discretion of the Chair.

          Commissioner Pilarski reiterated the need for participants to 
speak respectfully without calling out people by name.  She also reserved 
the right to call for a public comment during a particular issue where 
comment from the audience would be helpful.

          Commissioner Taeckens proposed possibly scheduling two or three 
public comments knowing that more opportunities may arise directed at a 
particular topic.

          Commissioner Geno stated that he would support as much public 
comment as can be managed.  He also stated that he would like to have public 
comments that are not repetitious, be constructive and reflect both sides of 
an issue.

          Commissioner Taeckens asserted that the Board cannot control 
public comment.

          Commissioner Pilarski asked for Larry Posont and Joe Sibley to 
comment on this discussion.

          Mr. Posont stated that public comment is an ongoing issue and said 
he would like to have public comment before a Board vote is taken on an 
action item.

          Mr. Sibley agreed that public comment is critical and stated that, 
for consumers, it is not just a privilege but an obligation to express 

          Further discussion included having three public comments and a 
floating public comment as directed by the Chair.  Commissioner Geno stated 
that public comment times could be most effective when all participants made 
prudent and efficient use of their time when raising issues.


          Ms. Luzenski reported there were no issues or questions from the 
previous meeting.

          Commissioner Geno asked if audio streaming quality can be checked 
on a periodic basis.  Ms. Luzenski shared that staff checks audio streaming 
so that we are informed of how it is working.  Mike Ellis commented that he 
is currently working on the internet connection to correct the volume issue 
but the phone option is working fine.


          Commissioner Taeckens asked for a Board discussion regarding 
programming and whether policies need to be established or existing policies 
need to be looked at regarding what is considered rehabilitative programs 
and what is considered recreational opportunities.  For example, unless 
someone wanted to be a sky diver she doesn't see skydiving as a 
rehabilitative program and certainly does not think that MCB should have 
sponsored any portion of this program.  She asked how programs are funded 
and asked if there is a process for approving such activities and, if not, 
one should be created.

          Director Cannon explained that there is, indeed, a process in 
place and it begins with MCB's Executive Management Team, which includes the 
Consumer Services Director, Training Center Director, Administrative 
Services Manager, Rehabilitation Consultant, Library for the Blind Manager, 
Director's Management Assistant and the Director.  These participants bring 
ideas to the table for discussion whether they come from themselves or from 
MCB staff, consumers or stakeholders.  Items requiring a policy would come 
before the Board.  Director Cannon said that the MCB Training Center is not 
a career training center and elaborated on the function of the Commission's 
Training Center as an orientation and adjustment center, a place to be 
taught the skills of blindness, to learn that it is okay to be blind, to 
raise expectations and to gain confidence.

          Discussion focused on liability issues, where to draw the line 
regarding classes, being cognizant of how funds are spent and the impression 
this may leave with the general public and integration of blind people into 
all segments of society with regard to recreational activities.

Break at 10:30


Reconvene:  10:45


          The regular meeting was called to order by Chair Jo Ann Pilarski 
at 10:45 a.m.  Roll call was taken and a quorum was present.  Commissioner 
Allen was not present

          Guests in the room introduced themselves.


Commissioner Wolfe moved to accept the December 11, 2009 minutes as 
corrected; supported WITH CORRECTIONS by Commissioner Taeckens

          Commissioner Taeckens asked that public comment made by Elizabeth 
Mohnke regarding the college policy be more fully reflected.  She also asked 
that during Leamon Jones' report when she asked specific questions about 
data on MCB college students and he was unable to respond fully that the 
minutes reflect this also.

          Commissioner Geno asked that a line be added during his comment 
regarding lunch "I pledged to, if this happens again, suffer with those 
involved the same consequences of not being able to get lunch."

          Commissioner Wolfe amended her motion to reflect these changes.




Commissioner Taeckens raised the concern that there was a lot of discussion 
during this meeting and a lot wasn't reflected.  There was questions raised 
about the Operator being successful in his previous employment and that the 
P.A. had not been attending to his needs. She proposed to add that the 
Operator had been successful in his previous location.

          Commissioner Geno amended his motion to reflect these changes.

          Commissioner Pilarski stated that as Chair she reserves the right 
to not vote unless necessary but not have it be seen as an abstention.  She 
would like the minutes to reflect that, if she had voted on the January 19 
ALJ recommendation, she would have voted "no."





          Ms. Luzenski reported on several pieces of board correspondence 

1.                Joe Harcz regarding DELEG Policies and Procedures on 
Accessible Events

2.                Joe Harcz regarding By-Laws and Minutes to the 

3.                Joe Harcz regarding the recently approve MCB Board By-Laws

4.                Larry Posont regarding analysis items listed of March 19th 

The Board & Mr. Harcz brought to the attention of Ms. Luzenski that more 
board correspondence was received.  Ms. Luzenski indicated that she would 
review correspondence received during the break and present her findings 
after lunch.


          Chair Pilarski noted that there was a statement submitted by the 
Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) and asked that it be 
read at the end of public comment.

          Ms. Michelle Carrington stated she was wondering why the marksmen 
class should only be done on recreational time when there are craft classes 
and computer cables into dorm rooms.  She stated students should have the 
right to choose what they want and that the class should be offered and left 
up to the student to decide.

          Mr. George Wurtzel encouraged the Commission Board to ask the 
Department of Education about the inaccessibility of one section of the MEAP 
test administered in Michigan schools this year.  A second section was read 
aloud to students.  He shared that it was the Commissions responsibility to 
question the Department of Education regarding the education received for 
blind students.

          Ms. Roxanna Mann, a student at the Training Center, thanked 
Director Cannon for recruiting and hiring Christine Boone as she felt it was 
a wise decision.  She stated she feels privileged to be there, it's a 
well-run facility and the training and staff are wonderful.  She was part of 
the marksmen class and got a bullseye her second time out and said this was 
a life skill which boosted her.  The marksmen class was closely monitored by 
staff and appropriately controlled.  Because of this class she will become 
active in this venue.

          Mr. Joe Harcz stated that the Commission is required to follow 
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504. 
This includes having Braille and raised signage on every permanent room 
including room numbers.  Mr. Harcz shared that this building has 
non-compliant signage, none of the exits or stairways are marked.  The 
violation of these civil rights laws are an act of discrimination.  Mr. 
Harcz stated he receives compliance from his local school board regarding 
ADA laws and the Open Meetings Act but does not receive the same 
consideration from the Commission.

          Mr. J.J. Meddaugh, a former student assistant at the Training 
Center, said that when he worked there the students were going to concerts, 
sporting events, movies, plays, skydiving, marksmen class and trips to 
Chicago.  These were confidence building and personal growth experiences. 
Since the Training Center Director has been fired students are afraid to 
speak up for themselves and strongly discouraged to invite NFB members to 
the Center and attend this Commission meeting.  Mr. Meddaugh asked 
participants to visit the Training Center and see the change from a program 
that promoted independence and freedom but is now filled with oppression and 

          Ms. Phyllis McBaun, a former Training Center student, asked if 
money spent on trips to Chicago might be better spent on lifestyle learning. 
She said money should be used to learn life skills not for shooting guns.

          Mr. Terry Eagle reported that there are three blind people running 
for state office and they can be supported by campaign contributions.  Mr. 
Eagle reference Commissioner Geno's comments earlier in regards to public 
comment not being repetitious and said that each statement is like it's own 
letter regarding one issue.  Mr. Eagle touched upon the issues of more 
Commission meetings needed for the Board to discuss multiple issues, time 
and money constraints but yet the Commission goes off-site for meetings 
denying a B E P Operator of a catering opportunity, the Training Center 
classes helping newly blinded people gain confidence and Orientation and 
Mobility instruction should be moved to people's home community.

          Mr. Mark Eagle spoke about the Commission Board needing more 
meetings as having four a year isn't enough time for adequate representation 
and oversight of the program and its consumers.  He stated that with no 
representation there is no government.

          Chair Pilarski asked Director Cannon to comment on the Executive 
Directive regarding not having more meetings.

          Director Cannon said there are multiple Executive Directives 
issued on spending reductions and one in particular states the need to 
reduce all but essential State travel and expenditures and noted that some 
other Boards and commissions meet only two or three times a year.

          Mr. Jeff Krause, a student of the Training Center who lost his 
sight later in life, used to be an avid shooter and the marksmen class 
brought back a piece of him that was missing.

          Mr. David Ellingwood who has been going to meetings at the City 
Council has been pressing for detectible signals, although he has come 
across them in city of Kalamazoo.

          Ms. Michelle Carrington commented that the skydiving class that 
wasn't held was not costing the State anything but the students were to pay 

          Mr. Fred Wurtzel stated he was glad there were three public 
comments.  He encouraged Commissioners who were questioning the need for the 
recreational activities to read a book called Freedom for the Blind by James 
Omvig, which is all about training centers.  Mr. Wurtzel would be willing to 
supply copies.  He said that Michigan has a deep rooted culture in hunting 
and having that capability back restores a sense of worth and causes a 
person to look around and wonder what else they can do.  He commented on the 
level of intimidation and bullying of Christine Boone and Center staff, and 
students told they are not allowed to come to Lansing.. He advised 
Commissioner Pilarski that she can call a special meeting and invite the 
people and they can help to provide programs for blind people.

          Mr. Joe Sontag stated that he was sure the Director could persuade 
the Governor to help overcome the funding barriers being discussed.  He said 
a BEP position was filled when it was not an immediate issue during a 
statewide hiring freeze so funding for a few extra meetings should not be a 

          After the public comment session ended, Commissioner Pilarski 
asked Susan Turney to read a statement issued by Mario Morrow, 
Communications Director for the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic 
Growth, which stated that Christine Boone filed an action against the 
Department protesting her dismissal due to her unauthorized planning and 
implementation of a marksman class at the Center which was in direct 
conflict with a civil service work rule.  The Department stated that it will 
vigorously defend its action.


          Mr. Larry Posont, President, National Federation of the Blind, 
thanked the Commissioners and stated that NFB-M was going to use this time 
differently than in the past.  He stated they have 3 position papers to be 
read to the Board that they encourage the Commission to adopt to make it the 
strongest that it can be when serving blind children and adults in the State 
of Michigan.  He noted that there are 4 documents that NFB feels are the 
most important.

          Mr. Posont spoke on resolutions passed at the NFB-M convention 
last November.  First is college policy and the Federation urges 
Commissioners to reject the policy that's on the agenda and to revisit the 
policy development with more consumer participation.  The other issue is 
training for Commission staff.  NFB-M feels that extensive training for 
existing and new staff is vital because of all of the impending retirements.

          Mr. Mike Powell, Vice-President of NFB-M read the NFB-M position 
on the marksmanship class at the Training Center.  He explained that NFB-M 
believes that blind people should have equal access to the use of guns and 
target practice.  He added that in Michigan hunting and target practice is a 
popular recreational activity enjoyed throughout the State by both sighted 
and blind individuals and, accordingly, the opportunities offered to 
Training Center students for target practice at the Center was appropriate 
and well planned.  He said that the Training Center Director and her staff 
were thoughtful and careful in the design and implementation of the class 
and that her dismissal by the agency Director was inappropriate.  He 
elaborated on the importance of the class and all of the safety precautions 
that were taken into consideration of the development of the class.  He said 
the class provided an important training opportunity for blind persons to 
learn again how they can enjoy the sport of firearms and that the abrupt 
cancellation of the class was unwarranted and a violation of the civil 
rights of blind individuals.  He concluded his presentation by stating that 
the cancellation of the class was contrary to the Commission's claim that it 
supports blind persons abilities to pursue their dreams.

          Ms. Maryann Rojak, read an open letter to Chair Pilarski and Peter 
Plummer regarding the B E P program and how the program and it's operators 
have been harmed through the hearings process administered by the State 
Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (SOAHR).  The number of hearings 
and the chaotic nature of these proceedings are symptomatic of the 
directionless administration. NFB-M is asking for an immediate investigation 
into the propriety and legality of the tactics and practices of the 
Commission for the Blind staff and the Administrative Law Judges (ALJ). 
NFB-M is concerned about recent practices where the same ALJ is reviewing a 
majority of the grievances filed and the result has been recommendations 
going against the legitimate complaints of B E P operators.  In the 
Federations letter to Mr. Plummer they called for a review of all cases 
adjudicated by Judge Robert Meade and to rehear each case under acceptable 
rules according to the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act.  Other issues 
listed in the letter to Mr. Plummer include:

1.                Lack of fair and full evidentiary hearing of vendor 

2.                "ALJ shopping" and undue political influence by the Agency 

3.                B E P staff failing to make requested relevant documents 

4.                the halting of B E P paying for hearing transcripts for 
arbitration appeal;

5.                The B E P manager attaching a staff recommendation to ALJ 

6.                B E P's failure to notify vendors and vendor 
representatives when grievances are to go before the Commission Board;

7.                MCB Hearings Coordinator refusing to communicate directly 
the appointed non-attorney vendor representatives;

8.                B E P staff placing untrained, uncertified sighted persons 
in vending facilities as temporary operators;

9.                B E P employment practices;

10.           B E P financial issues;

          The third NFB-M document presented to Commissioners addressed the 
role of Commissioners as defined in Public Act 260 of 1978, the law which 
created the Commission.  The document underscores the power that 
Commissioners have in the overall running of the agency and setting policy 
and direction in its service delivery.

          The fourth document presented to Commissioners provided the NFB-M 
analysis of Public Act 260 and identified several areas where the Commission 
and its staff were not adhering to the dictates of the law.  Mr. Posont said 
that although time did not permit the full reading of all the documents to 
the Commissioners at this meeting, all materials would be posted on the 
website of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan and urged 
everyone to review the materials in their entirety at their website.

          In his final remarks to Commissioners, Mr. Posont said that 
Commissioners needed to step up to their responsibilities under the statute 
and said that the Federation would continue to monitor the progress being 
made and would return at each quarterly commission meeting and will continue 
to make its case that the Commission board and staff must be responsive to 
the needs of blind people or the Federation would promote the appointment of 
others who would.

Recessed for lunch at 12:20 p.m.

The meeting reconvened at 1:25 p.m.

Board Correspondence

          Ms. Luzenski presented five additional pieces of board 
correspondence to be presented:

1.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding a request for accessible proposed 
or draft MCB Board minutes on an ongoing basis pursuant to obligations under 
the Michigan Open Meetings Act with corollary accommodations pursuant to the 
ADA and Section 504.

2.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding request for accessible proposed 
and approved MCB Consumer Involvement Council Meeting minutes on an ongoing 
basis pursuant to obligations under the Michigan Open Meetings Act with 
corollary accommodations pursuant to the ADA and Section 504.

3.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding a specific request for proposed 
minutes December 11, 2009

4.                Mr. Joe Harcz amended request for proposed minutes 
December 11, 2009

5.                Mr. Joe Harcz regarding a question about a reference in 
the Annual Report on the Area Agencies on Aging


          Mr. Joe Sibley, President of MCBVI and Casey Dutmer, former 
President of MCBVI represented the organization.  Mr. Sibley introduced his 
wife Mary.

          Mr. Sibley spoke on the firearms issue at the Training Center 
stating that he believes in the rights of blind people to participate in 
shooting sports in a safe manner but he also asserted that an off-site 
location may have been a better choice for this class. Mr. Sibley said that 
Director Cannon has taken a lot of heat on this issue and he is saddened 
that Christine Boone was dismissed. He said that he doesn't believe that 
Director Cannon singled out any one organization or that his action was not 
appropriate.  Mr. Dutmer added that the adversarial tone of today's meeting 
could have been avoided and suggested that the dialogue process from the 
Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team should have been utilized for discussions 

          Mr. Sibley provided an overview of MCBVI and explained that the 
organization is affiliated nationally with the American Council of the Blind 
(ACB) and said there are 6 chapters around the state with 45 members in 
Grand Rapids and the organization is hoping to add more chapters in the 
future.  In his update of MCBVI activities and future plans, Mr. Sibley 
noted that current events include launching new youth activities, advocating 
for Braille literacy and said MCBVI will be supporting the Braille-A-Thon in 
June.  The MCBVI annual conference was held last October and was audio 
streamed with keynote speaker Ken Medema.  The next MCBVI State Convention 
will be in Grand Rapids in October 2010.  The 2011 convention will be held 
in Lansing.  Mr. Sibley reported that the MCBVI website has been redone. 
The American Council of the Blind national conference will be held in July 
in Phoenix.

          Mr. Sibley reported that MCBVI continues to actively support and 
promote the MoPix project, which provides audio description for blind 
theater goers with installations in Grand Rapids and Lansing movie theaters. 
Format issues are being worked out because of the switch to digital.

          Mr. Sibley congratulated Sue Chinault, of the Library for the 
Blind and shared his love of the new digital player.

          Mr. Dutmer commented on results of the organization's advocacy 
efforts, including the Social Security Administration now offering 
information in accessible format in Braille or on a CD.  He also said 
they're asking people to call their local congressman to endorse a new bill, 
HR3101 which gives more video description options and emergency 
announcements, such as those from the National Weather Service.  There are 
also three bills in various stages regarding public transportation in 

          Mr. Sibley encouraged newly blind or visually impaired people to 
examine both consumer organizations.  He congratulated Larry Posont on 
becoming President of the NFB and also encouraged participants to use the 
new AutoMark machines for voting.

          Mr. Dutmer also mentioned a retreat that is happening the next day 
with Commissioners and stated he hoped that the meeting would be 
constructive and some resolution is reached so all can move forward.

          Commissioner Taeckens asked about the progress of the accessible 
currency issue.  Mr. Dutmer reported on the ACB suit and said that various 
approaches to achieve accessibility are being tested and noted that other 
countries accessible currency are being looked at to determine what the best 
process is to be utilized.

          Director Cannon added that the courts ordered a phase-in of the 
accessible currency mandate.  Adding the one dollar bill will remain the 
same and other currency notes will be formatted differently so that they may 
be discerned from each other.

          Mr. Sibley added one last thing, that when he became blind the 
best thing he ever did was get involved in one of the consumer groups.

Commissioner Taeckens made a motioned that Director Cannon propose a new 
policy about how new programming is developed and implemented within the 
Agency; commissioner geno seconded the motion

Commissioner Geno asked that Director Cannon respond to this proposal. 
Director Cannon explained that there are many ways to develop new programs, 
activities and policies, including the Planning and Quality (PAQ) Team, 
Service Delivery Design Team and the Consumer Involvement Council and said 
that ideas can come from any staff member within the organization.   Many 
teams within the organization are involved in the process and the agency is 
always open and inclusive.

Commissioner Geno asked Commissioner Taeckens to clarify her motion.  She 
said her purpose is not to bog down the process or eliminate spontaneity but 
she is asking for a written process that necessitates approval from multiple 
people.  Commissioner Wolfe stated that before making a decision she would 
need more information, possibly this could be tabled until the next 
Commission meeting.


          Commissioner Pilarski asked that Director Cannon and Commissioner 
Taeckens discuss this issue.


          George Orwell submitted written comments via email, he said he 
thinks the budget must be looked at.  Also as an outsider, his eyes have 
been opened to the diverse capabilities & interests of limited people.  He 
states they are not different than me, just follow different avenue to 
complete steps.  Mr. Orwell sees educating the general public as a charge 
designated to the Commission for the Blind.

          Timothy Paulding wrote that he believes it was a mistake to 
dismiss Christine Boone as she was an asset in so many ways.  Blind students 
were encouraged to get out and about in the community-to apply the skills 
they learned at the center in real life situations. Students were encouraged 
to ride the bus, figure out their way around town and get involved in the 
community. The Center became a place where students became empowered through 
skills of blindness. Students were expected to participate in their world as 
first class citizens and they were treated as such. Sighted guide was 
discouraged, up-to-date technology was purchased and new curriculums were 
implemented as well.   Mr. Paulding stated that Christine did a great deal 
for the blind of Michigan.  He felt the fire-arm issue was a hoax. He asked 
to know what the real story was and requested Commissioners to get to the 
bottom of this.

          Kim Walsh greeted all participants in her written submission and 
thanked the Commission for the opportunity to participate in public comment 
via email.  Ms. Walsh stated she would like to see the Commission offer 
public comment by phone as she has participated in other conferences this 
way and would like to see the Commission pursue all avenues of remote 

          Greg Botting, a student, spoke on the college policy focusing on 
three issues: college students with multiple disabilities, the 5 year time 
limit for college completion and analysis of the request to attend community 
college.  He stated that MCB eliminating certain regulations in the college 
policy would make it easier for students with multiple disabilities as there 
is no understanding of the disabilities or personal circumstances.  Mr. 
Botting cited the 5 year policy as unfair because even sighted students take 
longer for college completion.  A time limit will only hurt, not help, the 
blind community.  Lastly he spoke on community college not working for 
everyone.  He believes MCB needs to explain why community college is better.

          Ms. Gwen Botting shared that she felt the college policy was 
difficult to understand and that it contradicts itself.  Secondly, she has 
concerns about the playing field not being level and asked why MCB does not 
embrace part-time students as an option not taking into account family or 
personal circumstances, chronic illness or multiple disabilities.  She 
stated adopting guidelines which lays out special circumstances would be 
preferable to letting the Consumer Services Director making a case by case 
decision.  MCB could adopt guidelines to monitor yearly progress in attempts 
to allow variations in programs.  If students passed their preparatory exam, 
the next step allows them summer exposure on a college campus with 
residential facilities so students can show they have the capabilities of 
being on their own or not.  The financial aid section is confusing and could 
be interpreted in different ways and the graduate program section is 
troubling because if you can find a job with a bachelor degree you could be 
denied graduate studies.

          Mr. Joe Harcz stated that he will be filing a complaint with the 
Department of Justice on the issue of signage in the Victor building and 
filing complaints with the Department of Civil Rights and Department of 
Education on the issue of receiving accessible minutes in a timely manner. 
Mr. Harcz invited everyone in the room who is blind to join him in filing an 
ADA complaint on the lack of signage in the room.  He also spoke about the 
issue of being a combined or separate commission which he stated he has 
always fought for a separate commission.  The Board is supposed to be 
autonomous and consumer driven and supervise key personnel but a blended 
agency with a statewide counsel might be more responsive at this time.

          Ms. Lydia Schuck, the mother of a blind child with multiple 
disabilities, the former President of Parents of Blind Children and a member 
of the Consumer Involvement Council brought issues forward about the college 
policy.   She asked for a design which prepares for long term proposal, 
universal design which addresses multiple means of presentation, response, 
assessment and accessibility.  She said the Lansing State Journal had a 
recent article stating that 50% of students finish college in 4 years or 
less and these are not people with disabilities who have to deal with issues 
of getting books, transportation and funding.  The professional counselors 
should be allowed to work out with the consumers to determine how long it 
may take them to finish college.  She finished by quoting a teen who is 
blind and autistic which has a higher incidence than 1%, "Mom I'm just going 
to need more time than everyone else, I just need more time."

          Mr. Fred Wurtzel stated the college policy has been a tumultuous 
process that has seen one commissioner kicked off the Commission Board, lack 
of respect from Commission staff toward Commissioners during public meetings 
advocating for a concrete position the Commission seems to hold, time length 
is one issue and holding the students harmless under the Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU), but this still doesn't address the issue of MCB 
stepping in when there is conflict between the student and the school. 
Another question arose about graduate degrees which would allow consumers to 
gain good jobs when the commission should be providing the maximum services 
instead of the minimum.  He felt the policy needed to be thrown out and 
started all over to assist blind people in achieving their maximum 

          Mr. Terry Eagle spoke about an attempt to take his microphone from 
him during morning public comment.  He did not appreciate this happening and 
it showed a lack of respect.  He said the open letter that was read this 
morning about the B E P did not surprise him, and that Casey Dutmer even 
agreed that these issues have lingered for years.  Mr. Eagle also responded 
to Commissioner comments on feeling threatened and he said that they should 
view his statements as promises, not threats, and reiterated his promise to 
take whatever action is necessary to make the Board do what is supposed to 

          Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke, a current college student who has spent 
hours listening to the college policy meetings which tend to focus on 
sentence structure instead of the issues at hand.  These issues include time 
limits, Memo of Understanding (MOU's), informed choice where students are 
directed to go the MCB Training Center for the college assessment instead of 
giving students a choice.  Also the MOU's state that during a period of 
conflict between the student and the college it is the Commissions 
responsibility to fulfill the students' needs until the conflict is resolved 
and she stated that she doesn't see this happening.  She said that education 
is a good way to combat the slump in the economy and it appears that MCB is 
putting up barriers to allowing the most effective education for their 

          Mr. J. J. Meddaugh asked why transportation from the Training 
Center for students was not provided by Center staff so that students from 
the Center may have attended.  Students need to be allowed active 
involvement in these meetings.

          Chair Pilarski thanked everyone for their public comments.


Commissioner Taeckens, Ms. Crystal LaFleche and Mr. Leamon Jones, on behalf 
of Sherry Gordon were present as representatives of the College Policy 

          Commissioner Taeckens thanked all the participants who were 
involved in the meetings and said that it has been a long tedious process. 
She also thanked Director Cannon and Leamon Jones for their participation in 
the meeting held on January 29.  Despite those efforts, she said that she's 
unhappy with the latest product of their work and stated that she's not 
supporting the college completion timeline as it's written.  She stated that 
she was the only opposing person, she finds it discriminatory and 
segregating within one disability.  Her other concerns include advocating 
for community colleges over a 4 year college, cumbersome writing, and having 
original policy committee members editing this document.

Ms. Crystal LaFleche stated that she felt the committee tried their best and 
is open to suggestions.

          Commissioner Pilarski asked other Commissioners to weigh in. 
Commissioner Wolfe stated it appears the 5 year time limit is still an 
unresolved issue.  The students that will be following this policy have 
already been admitted to the University or community college and she 
believes it's a disservice to all students to assume they can't succeed 
without having a document stating all of their options.  She said she 
believes that no students have been denied an extension of services or 
services in general.  She reiterated that students have been encouraged to 
submit proposed policy changes in writing, saying that if someone wants 
something different in the policy write it down and submit it to the 

          Commissioner Taeckens said that consumer services are provided 
under their Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) which should be the 
guiding document for the timeline and the definition of goals and how to 
accomplish them.  Commissioner Taeckens stated that the agency has 
insufficient data on college students, their services and experiences.  She 
said MCB needs to gather and analyze more data to help drive wise and 
informed policy revisions.

          Commissioner Geno said that all public comment on this issue was 
very well stated, which was helpful to him and asked if the concerns being 
raised were more hypothetical than real?  The lack of complete data prevents 
the agency from knowing how much of the current problems are due to the 
existing policy.  He stated that there are serious concerns still remaining 
that do not seem to be addressed in the latest draft and, as such, said he 
doesn't support the policy as presented.  He asserted that the process is 
still a struggle and he believes that it should be opened up a bit to 
generate more trust in the process.

          Mr. Leamon Jones thanked the Commissioners for giving him the 
opportunity to comment.  This review has been a two year process and the 
current policy does need some changes.  He noted that staff utilizes the 
principles of "plan, do, study, act" (PDSA) and Mr. Jones stated he does not 
think any staff member would act punitively towards a consumer, they would 
strive instead to find a solution.   This draft document offers a framework 
everyone can work within, while additional data is collected and assessed. 
Starting over would cause another two-year delay.

Director Cannon stated that on January 29th when all parties left the table 
there was thought to be a consensus on the existing document so it is 
frustrating to find out otherwise.  Director Cannon has been speaking with 
Dr. Fred Schroeder, a previous RSA Commissioner and agency director, about 
the time line issue.  Director Cannon said that he and Dr. Schroeder agree 
that having a policy which suggests that it may take twice as long for a 
blind student to do something sends a wrong message to Commission consumers 
and the employer community.  Moreover, it is antithetical to what MCB has 
been preaching to potential employers - that blind persons in the workplace 
are just as capable and productive as their sighted counterparts, that blind 
people want to compete for jobs based on what they can do, making necessary 
accommodations along the way.  This high expectation has resulted in many of 
MCB clients being employed.

Director Cannon emphasized that having high expectations of what blind 
people can do is core to what the Commission is all about and encourages 
blind people to reach for higher goals.  He also explained that policy 
language regarding exceptions being decided by the Consumer Services 
Director is to preserve consistency within the program.  Dr. Schroeder 
believes that the policy as written is reasonable as long as the window for 
exceptions remains open.  He also noted that Crystal is representing blind 
consumers, as she is head of the MCB Consumer Involvement Council, which 
selected her to be their representative on the college policy committee and 
also noted that she is still a current Commission client and college 

Commissioner Geno hoped for realistic expectations and a developed plan that 
is a compromise that everyone is happy with.

          Commissioner Taeckens responded that Fred Schroeder is not a MCB 
Commissioner and he is not a consumer of the Commission.  Opinions can be 
found lots of places and feedback is that the timeline is not appropriate. 
A wording proposal that has been made is the Commission encourages students 
to not extend their timeline beyond the one year, if other circumstances 
exist timelines should be determined by the I P E.  There are many things in 
the policy that are fine but the timeline policy should be reworded to be 
more compromising and the wording for the 4 year college and the community 
college should be deleted.  She also wants to add language that says that if 
the MOU does not come through then the Commission would be responsible and 
stated that she would support the policy with those changes.

Ms. Crystal LaFleche stated that she does support this policy, it has been 
worked on very diligently for a very long time by two separate work groups. 
She also noted that through this process, many changes have been made, but 
not all ideas can be accommodated.  She added that while there may still be 
concerns about the proposed policy, the new policy could be adopted and the 
Commission could start collecting data and collect information from students 
and counselors to see if there remains some tweaking to be done.  The old 
policy is 20 years old and needs to be updated.

Commissioner Pilarski asked how this policy has been improved over the last 

          Ms. LaFleche stated it is definitely longer and provides a little 
more specific items, including financial aid, how degrees work and addresses 
the subject of advanced degrees.

Mr. Jones addressed some of Commissioner Taeckens comments.  He stated that 
much of the data is collected already but it needs to be formulated 
together.  The I P E does outline the goals and objectives and the services 
timeline which can be reviewed to determine how long it can take for 
completion of school.  If a student doesn't believe they can finish in that 
timeline this is generally discussed with their counselor.  The agreements 
that exist with the institutions of higher education are RSA mandated 
agreements and does contain provisions to address the process to deal with 

Commissioner Pilarski stated that the comments of others reflect her 
sentiments.  She saw redundancy, wording issues, and procedures that look 
like notes.  There is no patronizing verbiage in this document and the 
sentence of high expectations rubs her the wrong way.  This has been a 
source of contention since the beginning.  There has been a lot of messing 
around with words and the feeling of resistance.  The timeline is a big 
issue along with the financial issue.  Ms. Pilarski stated that she wants a 
document that states that MCB will pick up the financial burden if 
necessary.  Another issue is the full time status because there are so many 
reasons why people can't go full time.  Summertime should be an option. The 
decision needs to be made in regards to going back to the drawing table or 
having a special meeting to go through this bit by bit.

Commissioner Geno stated that the best message we can send is a blind person 
graduating from college.  The decision needs to be made on whether this is 
going to be approved or it will be sent back to be worked on.


Commissioner Taeckens proposed a work day, by phone and wants to ensure that 
a student and a parent are a part of this process.  Discussion included a 
timeline so this process doesn't go on another 2 years; a meeting with too 
many people could bog the process down; possibly hiring a facilitator from 
outside the Agency; should representation be open; and starting with a new 
proposed document that is less wordy.

Commissioner Pilarski asked both consumer Presidents to make a brief comment 
about their thoughts on making this happen.  Ms. Botting stated there is a 
lot of value in having a Saturday meeting and including multiple people. 
Parents weren't involved in drafting the last version and the parent 
perspective would be an asset.

Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke spoke on behalf of NFB-M and stated that not everyone 
is included and large groups can have harder times of accomplishing things. 
An idea would be for sub-groups to get together with a certain makeup of 
people and work on either one section of the policy as a whole and then come 
together as a group to edit the document.

Mr. Joe Sibley commented that MCBVI would definitely participate if there 
was a meeting scheduled on this topic.

Commissioner Taeckens summed up that people bring in all of their ideas and 
work on them together.

Mr. Fred Wurtzel shared the idea of everyone posting their ideas on the 
internet before the meeting is scheduled so when people arrive at the 
meeting the information has been reviewed and the document is ready to be 
worked on.  Ideas that came forth were a Facebook page, a webpage, or the 

Commissioner Geno asked if there was an email account that could be used to 
centralize the gathering of information.

Ms. Luzenski indicated she could create a gmail account.  Commissioner Geno 
also stated there should be a deadline.  Commissioner Taeckens volunteered 
to be a coordinator of this information.  A possible date for a joint 
college policy meeting would be June 19.

Discussion regarding hiring a facilitator centered around pulling together 
multiple options to choose from, Commissioner Geno being in that role or 
securing a volunteer facilitator.



          Constance Zanger, Business Enterprise Program Manager introduced 
James Chaney, Elected Operator Committee Chair and gave participants and 
update on the B E P.

          Ms. Zanger reported on the upcoming B E P manager training class 
to be held in April with 6 participants and the Summer Work Opportunity 
Program which will again be held for 12 weeks this summer.  Last summer 13 
operators participated in this mentoring program and B E P staff is hoping 
to have at least that many for the upcoming program.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will conduct a national 
training conference on the Randolph-Sheppard program this year, the first in 
a decade.  This conference will highlight the significant program 
developments, federal changes as well as state licensing staff, elected 
committee representative, and changes that have occurred in the last decade.

The purpose of this conference is to bring Randolph-Sheppard stakeholders 
together with a goal of developing leadership skills, educating participants 
on promising practices and creating an environment for the exchange of ideas 
that will help shape the future of the Randolph-Sheppard program.

The next 2010 B E P Operators' Workshop will take place on April 30, May 1 
and 2 in Lansing at the Ramada Inn on West Saginaw.  The Workshop 
Subcommittee and the E O C have been working to develop their agenda and 
this year's workshop will feature remarks from Director Cannon, V R Director 
Leamon Jones, an instructional session on the new B E P evaluation form and 
the new trial inventory policy.  The afternoon session will feature a mini 
food show which runs concurrently with the E O C election and later in the 
afternoon, operators and staff will present an interactive workshop session 
on catering.

Commissioner Pilarski will be present at the workshop and       B E P staff 
welcomes all Commissioners who wish to attend all or any portion of the 

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Recommendation

          Ms. Zanger submitted the recommended ALJ decision for Ron Fellows. 
Commissioner Wolfe felt this decision was straight forward.  Commissioner 
Geno didn't understand what the intended outcome was for bringing the 
challenge forward.

 Commissioner Taeckens stated that she felt it was considered "moot" because 
Mr. Fellows was no longer working at that location.  Her questions were why 
it took a year to get a letter to the Cadillac Place building.  Commissioner 
Taeckens stated she felt threatened by a meeting participant for his 
unsolicited comments during her questioning.

Commissioner Wolfe said that she has reviewed B E P rules and the B E P 
operations manual to better understand the role of Commissioners when ALJ 
recommendations are brought before the Board.  According to this guidance, 
she said it's clear that Commissioners role is to make their decision based 
upon the facts gathered by the ALJ and it is not the role of Commissioners 
to retry the case before the Board.

Commissioner Taeckens voiced her concerns that the ALJ recommendation and 
background document does not provide sufficient information for her to make 
a sound decision.

          Commissioner Pilarski summed up this situation as Ron Fellows left 
this site because of an issue at this site and said that he is an operator 
in good standing and the issue itself needs to be looked at, she stated she 
doesn't believe it is a moot point.

          Mr. James Chaney commented on the issue as the current operator at 
the site in question and said that, in his opinion, Mr. Fellows got fed up 
because the rules are not being followed.  The people in Cadillac Place give 
off a sense of mocking the operators.  Being competitive isn't the issue but 
when the operators have one set of rules for catering and the other food 
service places have different rules the operators are constantly undercut. 
These issues are going to keep coming up until they can be dealt with more 
openly and honestly.

          Commissioner Wolfe asked if some of the issues Mr. Chaney is 
referring to will be discussed at the retreat.

          Commissioner Taeckens stated that because Mr. Fellows left the 
location doesn't make this an invalid issue.  Commissioner Geno stated he is 
interested in the recommendation of the law judge and asked if the Board 
rejected the ALJ recommendation would that mean the Commission is saying 
that this issue is or is not an ongoing problem.

          Commissioner Taeckens asked what James Chaney wants to happen if 
the Board went against the recommendation and he replied that the ALJ 
recommendation should be tabled so the Board can have time to gather the 

          Commissioner Geno attempted to clarify what the purpose was for 
bringing this issue to the ALJ when Mr. Fellows had already left this sight.



          Commissioner Pilarski stated that she would like to see more 
documentation in the future about these ALJ recommendations and a more 
balanced report from the ALJ.



Mr. James Chaney, Chair of the Elected Operators Committee spoke about 
needing to move forward.  Ideas have come forward that it is taking too long 
for due process and operators believe there should be a stipend put in to 
protect the operators and the program.

Another item that the EOC is working on is a focus group that would include 
the operators, building managers, and Commission staff that would focus on 
presentation, menus, and how to conduct a successful catering.  This would 
allow more revenue to be brought into the program and result in more match 
money.  Vending stand training is another issue to help operators get back 
to feeling good about working.

Commissioner Taeckens raised the lack of accessibility of vending machines. 
The numbers are Brailed but there is no indication of what items the numbers 
correspond to.

Continue to keep doing his good work; COMMISSIONER TAECKENS SECONDED THE 


As the Commission's Administrative Reports were about to begin, Mr. Larry 
Posont, President of NFB of Michigan, suggested that the reports be deferred 
and that Public Comments be heard next.


          Commissioner Geno pointed out that staff is giving up their time 
for reports to allow public comment.


          Mr. Greg Botting stated he isn't an expert on B E P, and it seems 
to be the standard work program for the blind in the State, but the B E P 
program is not going to work for everyone.  He also stated that the 
Randolph-Sheppard law is discriminatory against sighted folks.

          Mr. Fred Wurtzel commented that he gets a lot enjoyment out of 
working with and hearing from young people.  While he doesn't have a lot of 
sympathy for sighted people Greg Botting is right that the law is 
discriminatory but it is the law.  Mr. Wurtzel also stated that he has been 
critical of the appointment process for Boards and Commissions, but being as 
transparent as possible he announced that he will be submitting his name to 
the Governor's Appointment Office to seek appointment to the Commission 
Board.  He noted that he will be posting his application on the internet and 
any letters or correspondence he receives from the appointment office.  He 
stated he does not know what information he will have access to but wants 
some exposure to this whole process.  Mr. Wurtzel also commended the 
Commission Board today and was pleased with the handling of the college 
policy discussion, the ALJ opinion discussion and Commissioner Wolfe 
bringing forth the rules and is very pleased that the Commission Board is 
getting involved in these important issues.

Mr. Joe Harcz relayed a belated thank you to Christine Boone who he felt had 
addressed a long standing accessibility issue at the Training Center 
including signage. He noted that there are expectations of public 
organizations to meet certain standards and have a certain level of 
accountability and openness.  NEEDS WORK

Mr. Larry Posont commented on the two fact sheets they referenced during 
their report and shared that these will be on the Web for anyone to access. 
They analyzed PA 260 stating what the Commission was and wasn't doing and 
analyzed PA 260 with the Open Meetings Act which led them to judge that the 
Commission wasn't acting under the Open Meetings Act.  Mr. Posont thanked 
Director Cannon for increasing the NFB-M membership due to his actions.  He 
also stated that if the Board rules with the ALJ decision then they are 
saying that there is no need to go after direct competition.  A clear 
message needs to be sent and the message sent to staff is that there is no 
need to go after direct competition.  A lease was reissued and we need to go 
after it.

          Ms. Elizabeth Mohnke commended the Board on the job they have done 
as Commissioners including good and bad things.  She also shared her 
understanding of having an orderly meeting showing respect when speaking, 
but the same respect needs to be given back also.  Comments she has 
submitted in writing about the college policy have been ignored, she was 
barred from the original college policy committee, she submitted ideas in 
writing to the CIC chair and was ignored, she brought up ideas during ad hoc 
committees and those were ignored.  The DELEG financial form issue has never 
been brought up and discussed.  She also stated that she shared ideas at 
this meeting today about how to go about this process and this was utterly 
and completely ignored.  She ended by stating - if you want us to respect 
you, then you need to respect us.

          Mr. George Wurtzel spoke on the NFB-M a large organization in the 
state which has always tried to get blind people headed in the right 
direction.  Mr. Wurtzel stated that they have always tried to support the 
constituents.  The Commission Board needs to look at the consumer groups 
attending and sharing that they feel it is okay to shoot pellet guns at 
targets to improve acceptance back into their spot in the world.  In this 
town there are 6 bowling alleys but 16 shooting ranges which shows where the 
publics idea of recreation is.  Blind people have a different perspective 
because shooting guns isn't what blind people would normally do but we 
should offer that.  The consumer groups try to offer blind people as many 
opportunities as they can.

Ms. Michelle Carrington asked Commissioners to walk a mile in her shoes for 
one day.  She stated she had been yelled at by two staff members at the 
Training Center at 6:40 a.m. and had been hit in the face by a door twice. 
She didn't feel Commissioners could handle being blind and doing everything 
on their own.

          Mr. J.J. Meddaugh commended Commissioner Taeckens for being 
willing to speak out on consumers behalf.  The Training Center situation is 
appalling when you have students being told they couldn't come to this 
meeting and have staff that are afraid to talk about the politics for fear 
of being fired.  He stated the general climate of the Training Center has 
gone from energy to darkness.  He invited the Commission Board to come down 
and talk to the staff and students.

          Ms. Mary Wurtzel stated that they worked with Dr. Allen when she 
was Superintendent of the School for the Blind and on the Board previously 
and she has put in a lot of time and she should be thanked.  She is a 
gracious and loving woman who has faced adversity in her own life and has 
parented her own family along with a lot of others.  Ms. Wurtzel stated that 
she went to school and got a masters degree in 6 years.  She has been quiet 
about the college policy and the time issue and feels that the issues of 
today need to be dealt with.  She had no problem with technology, although 
there was less technology when she was in college.  The residential 
education that was in place played in factor in readying blind students in 
going to college.  There are other factors today.

          Mr. James Chaney commented on the college policy and said there 
was one word missing - productivity.  If a person is being productive in 
college it doesn't matter how long it takes as long as a person is being 
productive.  There are sighted people that aren't productive and they have 
as much time as they need.  He ended by saying that when everything else 
stops growing, the mind doesn't.

          Ms. Roxanna Mann thanked the Commission for having them today. 
She asked the Commissioners to take a look at the whole situation concerning 
the marksmanship course and the motivation for the firing.  She asked that 
Christine be allowed back to the Training Center.

          Mr. Terry Eagle wished he had the restraint that others have.  He 
stated he would like to be able to apologize for his outburst but he doesn't 
want to.  His reasons are that Ron Fellows and himself were not notified 
that this issue was coming before the Board.  Secondly his outburst 
regarding asking questions of the staff is fundamentally a violation of due 
process when the other side is not involved.  Mr. Eagle stated his outburst 
is diligence and passion and he is not going to apologize.  He said that 
although some attendees have felt threatened today, he stated I don't 
threaten, I promise.  His promise is for the people he serves to bring 
fairness and justice to blind people under the rights of the law.  His 
threats are not threats they are promises.  He stated that he felt Pat had 
let blind people down.  Lastly he said it isn't fun to go into court but if 
forced they will do so to keep a promise to the people that they represent.

          Ms. Chris Barnhardt said that although she is not accustomed to 
making public comment she felt compelled to share concerns she has heard 
from many individuals regarding MCB's Director Pat Cannon and his abuse of 
power which is hurting blind people and ruining careers.

When Chair Pilarski asked Ms. Barnhart to not single out individuals by 
name, the meeting was disrupted by shouts from Fred Wurtzel, who was in the 
audience and not recognized to speak, which ended the meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:42 p.m.


Chair Jo Ann Pilarski

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