[nfbmi-talk] is it a bird or a plane"

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Tue Apr 20 02:05:48 UTC 2010

Is it a bird or is it a plane? No it’s an RSA monitoring report, audit, review or maybe a cheesecake.


Hi All,


I know Mel Farmer who cc’d Pat Cannon claims he doesn’t know about the RSA monitoring report that he says they can’t discuss. But I found a lot of discussion about the March RSA Monitoring Team visit and a whole lot of discussion in public about it even before the report was sent to MCB. What kind of Orwellian response was Farmer’s to NFB Michigan’s President? It is nuts on its face to use a legal term not used enough.


Attached find several references to the RSA monitoring team visit and public discussion about some concerns even before the report which MCB claims it doesn’t have by any of its many names just from this meeting minutes:





This is from the:


“June 26, 2009, Minutes, Meeting of the MCB Board”


Now I site the following references in quotes:



“          Sherri Heibeck, Administrative Services Manager spoke regarding upcoming budget cuts due to the state of the economy equalling a 1% budget cut

for this year and another budget cut is expected for the next fiscal year.  An additional cost saving mechanism is six unpaid furlough days for all state

employees.  These 2 budget cuts amount to a $50,000 savings to MCB for this fiscal year.


          Matching funds have been affected in various ways including the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) set aside fees being reduced because of a decrease

in vendor sales.  Planned BEP renovations are on hold at this time.  Expenditures for this fiscal year are on target as our budget is 65% spent sixty-six

percent of the way through the year.


          MCB should receive the preliminary written report from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) audit in July with the final report being

issued in September.  There have been some internal changes already initiated as a result of the audit and MCB anticipates more changes to occur when the

report is issued.


          Director Cannon asked each manager to address how MCB has curbed expenditures.  One item was on the Business Enterprise Program (BEP) operator

audits which has been outsourced previously and will now be an in-house function, saving the Commission $95,000 yearly. Other cost savings in the Administrative

Services Division are furlough days, not filling the open BEP position of Promotional Agent and cutting back on BEP travel by holding more phone meetings.”


And again this report is referenced here:



““          Mr. Jones updated Commissioners on older blind activities and specifically the updating of the older blind manual with services available as a

result of the RSA visit in March.  RSA also recommended a more uniform method for job placement or job development and MCB has developed a fee schedule

to meet those requirements.  Other RSA recommendations included changes with existing cash match agreements, creating an agreement with Hannahville Reservation

and changing the current cash match agreements with Centers for Independent Living (CIL's) to be fee for service agreements.””


And here:







“”As a result of the visit from RSA the Training Center is looking for different ways to divide up program services for vocational rehabilitation and independent

living.  Keeping the VR ratio is causing a longer training center wait for the older blind individuals, and balancing the Training Center waiting list

has been an ongoing topic of discussion with managers throughout the Commission.  Meeting with managers at the different offices on a rotating basis has

been an effective way to balance the determinations for clients coming into the Training Center including prioritizing.”



Joe Harcz

> ----- Original Message -----

> From: "Farmer, Mel (DELEG)" <

farmerm at michigan.gov>


> To: "Larry Posont" <

president.nfb.mi at gmail.com>


> Cc: "Cannon, Patrick (DELEG)" <

cannonp at michigan.gov>

; "Haynes, Carla

> (DELEG)" <

haynesc at michigan.gov>

; "Heibeck, Cheryl (DELEG)"

> <

heibeckc at michigan.gov>

; "Martin, Carrie (DELEG)" <

martinc2 at michigan.gov>


> Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 10:54 AM

> Subject: RE: foia request



> Mr. Posont, this notice is in response to your April 9, 2010 email

> (attached)requesting copies of nonexempt public records under the Freedom

> of

> Information Act (FOIA, MCL 15.231, et seq., you describe as:


> "...the preliminary audit of the Michigan commission for the blind that

> was

> conducted in March of 2009."; and "...the preliminary audit documents that

> were delivered to you in September 2009..."


> Please be informed that pursuant the following FOIA provisions, your

> requests have been denied:

> 1. MCL 15.235, Section 5(4)(b)--No preliminary audit has been issued by

> the

>   federal agency (Rehabilitation Services Administration) that monitors

> the

>   Michigan Rehabilitation Services agency. Thusly, this portion of your

>   request must be denied and we certify that the public record requested

>   does not exist in this Department by the name given ,or by another name

>   reasonably known.


> 2. MCL 15.243, Section 13(1)(m)--The documents and or information

> currently

>   received from the federal monitoring agency are communications and notes

>   within or between public bodies of an advisory nature to the extent that

>   they cover other than purely factual materials and are preliminary to


>   final agency determinations of policy or actions. The disclosure of such

>   information/records prior to final determinations would not be in the

>   public interest in encouraging frank communications between officials

> and

>   employees of public bodies. Thusly, this portion of your request is

>   denied.


> Under the FOIA (MCL 15.240), you may submit a written appeal regarding the

> denial of any portion of your FOIA request to Mr. Stanley Pruss, Director,

> Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth,

> Attention: Mario Morrow, Ottawa Building-4th Floor, P.O. Box 30004,

> Lansing,

> Michigan 48909. Your appeal must include the word "appeal" and identify

> the

> reason(s) for reversal of the denial(s). You may also seek judicial review

> in circuit court within 180 days after the final determination. If you

> prevail, the court may award reasonable attorney fees, costs, and

> disbursements. If the court finds the Department's actions to be arbitrary

> and capricious, the court shall award, in addition to any actual or

> compensatory damages, punitive damages in the amount of $500.00.




> -----Original Message-----

> From: Larry Posont [mailto:president.nfb.mi at gmail.com]

> Sent: Friday, April 09, 2010 4:11 PM

> To:

president.nfb.mi at gmail.com


hanesc at michigan.gov

; Farmer, Mel (DELEG)

> Subject: foia request


> National Federation of the Blind of Michigan Larry Posont, President

> 20812 Ann Arbor Trail

> Dearborn Heights, MI 48127

> 517-482-1800

> Email:

president.nfb.mi at gmail.com



> Dear Carla Haynes and Mel Farmer:


> I am writing you today to request pursuant to the Michigan Freedom of

> Information Act the preliminary audit of the Michigan commission for the

> blind that was conducted in March of 2009. I am requesting the preliminary

> audit documents that were delivered to you in September of 2009. I know

> that

> these documents were delivered to you and  their is no reason why they can

> not be released to me.


> Note I am requesting these documents in digital form. One may simply

> forward

> them to my e-mail address listed above.


> *Waiver of fee


> Please note that I claim entitlement to waiver of fee under 5 USC 552

> (a)(4)(A)(iii) because the disclosure of this information is likely to

> contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or

> activities of the government and because I am requesting this information

> in

> my capacity as President of the national Federation of the Blind of

> Michigan

> a non-profit organization and the disclosure is not primarily in my

> commercial interest.



> Sincerely,



> Larry Posont

> President, National Federation of the Blind of Michigan;




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