[nfbmi-talk] this looks like it was an important meeting on a number of counts

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Wed Apr 28 00:25:35 UTC 2010

Also check out the value of the CIC and other committees herein:

June 20 2008 Minutes Meeting of the MCB Board






JUNE 20, 2008








Ms. Jo Ann Pilarski, Chair (Via teleconference)

Ms. Velma Allen, Co-Chair

Ms. Geri Taeckens

Ms. Margaret Wolfe

Mr. Mark Eagle








Mr. Patrick Cannon

Ms. Sue Luzenski

Mr. Leamon Jones

Ms. Sherri Heibeck

Mr. Bob Robertson

Ms. Christine Boone

Ms. Susan Turney

Ms. Constance Zanger

Ms. Diamalyn Gaston

Ms. Lisa Kamkondo

Ms. Nicole Wright




Mr. Phil Kosachik

Ms. Andrea Rizor

Ms. Jeanette Brown

Mr. Marcus Simmons

Ms. Karen Simmons

Mr. Larry Posont

Ms. Dessie Johnson

Ms. Elham Jahshan

Ms. Kimberly Mohnke

Ms. Diana Mohnke

Mr. Geer Wilcox

Mr. Larry Ball

Ms. Melinda Latham

Mr. Fred Wurtzel

Ms. Mary Wurtzel

Mr. Terry Eagle

Mr. Raymond Roberson

Mr. Joe Sontag

Mr. Bill Myers

Mr. Mike Ellis

Mr. George Wurtzel

Ms. Kim Walsh

Mr. Tom Masseau

Mr. Robert Essenberg

Ms. Gail Jones

Ms. Kimberly Bowe

Mr. William Singleton

Ms. Angela Harris

Shaka Tettah

Ms. Carrie Bradley

Mr. Darryl Goldsmith

Mr. Robert Bradley

Mr. Kevin Robertson

Mr. Devonne Robertson

Ms. Willa Justice

Mr. David Markowitz

Ms. Madison Marty

Mr. Richard Clay

Ms. Hazell Brooks




          The Committee of the Whole was opened by Chair Jo Ann Pilarski at 9:10 a.m.




            Ms. Geri Taeckens reported on attending the BEP Operators conference in April.  The conference was very exciting and included a practical workshop

regarding retirement and very good food was enjoyed by all.


          Ms. Taeckens attended the CIC meeting which was a very informative meeting.  Pat Cannon gave an overview on the history of the CIC and explanations

regarding procedures and protocol for consumers when services are requested and when concerns arise.


            Also, Ms. Taeckens will be providing a new Braille class which will be available at Camp Tuhsmeheta. This class is promoting the notion of Braille

literacy for students with visual impairments who are print readers, providing them with alternative reading tools and stressing how Braille literacy can

lead to employment.


            Ms. Velma Allen reported that she joined Director Cannon in Bethesda, Maryland for the NCSAB conference in the spring.  Ms. Allen felt the training

module segment at the conference was very informative and would be very beneficial for MCB Commissioners to participate in that program.


            Ms. Margaret Wolfe reported that she participated by telephone in the Diversity Committee meeting in April.


            Visions 2008 was held in May and was a great success.  MCB and the Washtenaw County Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled collaborated

on this program with the assistance of many organizations and there was a record turnout of nearly 1,000 people. BEP operators sold refreshments to attendees.

The next Visions will be held May 12, 2010.


            Ms. Wolfe also reported that Director Cannon and Lisa Marchione joined her in a presentation to 30 employees at the Washtenaw County Public

Health Department as part of a Public Health Department professional workshop series.  The subject of this presentation was "Blind Culture".  The focus

was blindness awareness and resources available to the blind including the Commission for the Blind and the library for the blind and physically disabled.


            Lastly, the Washtenaw County Library has been collaborating with University of Michigan School of Art and Design on a project entitled "Many

Ways of Seeing".  University of Michigan Professor Sadashi Inuzuka, a blind artist and students of the University paired with library consumers, meeting

once a week at the library to create art work in clay.  This activity resulted in a beautiful, inspirational book of pictures and experiences with a Braille

overlay.  Copies will be distributed widely including being provided to Commissioners and the commission staff to be shared among the offices.


            Mr. Mark Eagle attended the Service Delivery Design Team (SDDT) in April and June.  Review of the small business policy was the highlight of

those meetings.  The College Policy Review Committee was another committee meeting Mr. Eagle attended and progress is being made by the group.  Also Mr.

Eagle attended the NFB-M meeting to get to know the consumer groups and extended an offer to MCBVI to attend their meeting also.


            Mr. Eagle said there was concern that the College Policy Review Committee was not an open meeting and he believed that it was subject to the

Open Meetings Act (OMA) and should have been open to all that wanted to attend.


            Chair Pilarski asked Director Cannon to address the question of the OMA.  Director Cannon responded that most of the internal groups within

the Commission are open to all to attend and participate in, but there are committees that have designated representatives to participate and speak for

each of their groups.  Ms. Pilarski indicated that each of the representatives should be going back to their respective groups and filling them in on the

meeting.  Director Cannon noted that meetings of the MCB Board are subject to the OMA since the Board is a public body under the law.  He added that other

committees and groups within the Commission, including its Consumer Involvement Council (CIC) are not considered public bodies and not required to be open

meetings under the law.  Sue Luzenski read a statement by Judge Andres Friedlis, the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules in response to an

inquiry about the statute " … none of these groups would be considered public bodies subject to the OMA.  They are all formed to provide advice; none have

decision making functions.  And their formation was not required by statute or rule.  They consist of people having knowledge or an interest in the Commission's

ultimate decision but none of the groups have any ability to decide these questions.  If these groups are only advisory they are not ‘Public Bodies.' 

Also they must be created by resolution, statute, ordinance, etc. to be considered Public Bodies."


  Ms. Taeckens stated she served on ad hoc committee for the Training Center which consisted of 21 people and it was hard to get input from all of the participants.

 A bigger group would make it even more difficult to get the job done and can impede the function and goal of the group.  There are times when meetings

should be closed as long as there is peer representation. Several consumers attending the meeting expressed their views on consumer participation, open

meetings and dialogue opportunities.


            Ms. Pilarski suggested that suggestions or comments could be put in writing either on the listserve or on the website.




            Ms. Luzenski reported that the question of contact information available on the website was left up to the individual Commissioners.  Commissioner

contact information became available on the MCB website in April.


            The second issue was a request by Commissioners for a copy of the current action plan.  Commissioners received the action plan on CD at the

meeting with a copy being mailed to Velma Allen.


            The question of timelines for counselor/consumer responses is being addressed by Leamon Jones.  This information is available in the Consumer

Services section of the MCB report and will be reported on at this meeting.


            Lastly, the Commissioners came up with a rotating schedule for participation on the CIC committee and asked that all Commissioners be notified

of upcoming CIC meetings.  Ms. Luzenski made this request of MCB staff and all Commissioners were notified of the next CIC meeting, which occurred in June.




            Ms. Pilarski stated the dialogue question as how can we, as blind people, impact our communities and get involved.


            Mary Wurtzel, NFB-M indicated that at some point we need to dialogue about dialoguing.


            Mike Geno, MCBVI felt this was a great dialogue question and stated that he tries to set an example for the community and especially the newly

blind.  We encourage people to attend local council meetings and transportation meetings.


            Mary Wurtzel, NFB- M established a task force to work with issues of the MCB.  She also stated her preference for dialogue sessions which are

open rather than responding to a specific question.  Also she suggested the Commission meet more often than quarterly.


            Ms. Taeckens stated that the dialogue question was introduced to initiate conversation not control the conversation.  The question being dropped

is fine.


          Mr. Larry Ball, President of National Association of Blind Merchants of Michigan, introduced his group.


            Mr. Larry Posont spoke to congratulate the Commission for having Friday meetings because it brings out more consumers.  He asserted that four

meetings a year is not reasonable and the Commission is not being responsive.


            Mr. John Scott, President National Federation of the Blind - Detroit Chapter, stated he had contacted the Client Assistance Program numerous

times but CAP has not been responsive.


            Mr. Marcus Simmons expressed his concern that commission staff are not following policy and appear incompetent.




            The regular meeting was called to order by Chair Jo Ann Pilarski at 10:12 a.m.  Roll call was taken and a quorum was present.











            There was no board correspondence.




           Mr. Michael Geno, President of the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) spoke regarding the barriers that the blind and

visually impaired encounter with money in its paper form and what the future holds for changes in paper money.


            The American Council of the Blind was a party in a lawsuit filed against the United States Department of Treasury for producing currency which

is not independently accessible for people who are blind and visually impaired.  U.S. bank notes can not be identified tactilely in its current design;

180 other countries have identified the currency issues in relation to blind and visually impaired individuals and made appropriate changes.


            In May, 2008 two out of three appellate judges upheld a ruling supporting that The Department of Treasury had not satisfied the burden of proof

on why the issue of inaccessible paper money has not been addressed.


            The lawsuit is not dictating how money should be made accessible but is pushing to make changes in paper currency to allow the blind and visually

impaired to be independent and have the ability to have the same job skills and opportunities as sighted counterparts.


            Ms. Pilarski invited meeting guests to share their views on the subject and discussion revolved around different options for currency changes

including the positive and negative benefits of graduated currency sizes; using the KNFB Mobile unit to read denominations; cutting various corners of

bills to make them identifiable and Brailling bills.  Not all were supportive of making changes in paper currency.




            Tom Masseau, Director, Government & Media Relations, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Services (MPAS) became involved in the voting process

as a result of the Help America Vote Act that was passed in 2002 as a result of voting issues experienced throughout the country.  MPAS has spent 6 years

educating residents and others regarding accessible voting issues and advocating for rights of all people with disabilities.  The result of this is the

availability of the Automark, an accessible voting machine available at the polls.


            Current projects that MPAS is working on include an accessible 30 minute DVD covering voting rights, how to vote and a background on the disability

communities and the story of the ADA.  This DVD will be distributed to a variety of organizations and will be available to all individuals free of charge.


            Another project includes a polling accessibility survey to provide feedback to the clerks and Bureau of Elections.  This will help to identify

issues and make positive changes in the goal of making all polling places fully accessible.  The survey will be available in Braille, Spanish & Arabic.


            Future MPAS projects include a newsletter covering all voting issues, and the civic engagement project which includes going out into the community

and encouraging people to vote.  Election Protection will provide a 800# during the voting period that can be called to address any polling problems or

issues during the polling process.


            Consumer discussion centered around past Automark issues, accessibility of the survey and training clerks offices and poll workers on how to

interact with people with disabilities.




            Jeanette Brown, Director, Employment Advocacy, Client Assistance Program (CAP), Michigan Protection & Advocacy Services is a federally mandated

program formed by a grant through the Rehabilitation Services Administration. CAP provides advocacy services for people with disabilities under the Rehab



            She outlined the process CAP utilizes to respond to individual complaints. CAP also provides specific training to all vocational rehabilitation

counselors and management on what services they are required to provide.


            Discussion centered on issues of full mailboxes, non-return of calls and consumers not able to leave a message.  CAP has sat in on the various

MCB committees to ensure guidelines are being followed.


            CAP serves multiple agencies including MCB and MRS and serves other agencies under other grants.




            Mr.  Andy Levin, Deputy Director, Department of Labor and Economic Growth started his talk expressing the Attorney General's office appreciation

with working with the Commission.


            The latest headlines put Michigan's unemployment rate at 8 ½%, the 26th consecutive week of the Nation's highest unemployment rate.  The Governor

created a program that focuses on helping the unemployed and underemployed; the program is entitled "No Worker Left Behind" (NWLB).  Twelve percent of

the workforce are either unemployed and have given up looking or working part-time but need a full-time job.


            The NWLB assists people who have no adequate resources for tuition, childcare and transportation.  This program launched August 1, 2007 has

put over 31,000 people into training toward in-demand jobs.


            The Governor has a goal of training 100,000 people over a 3 year period.  This program could benefit MRS & MCB clients. Mr. Levin stated the

Governor has asked for $40 million to expand the NWLB program and the Senate did not pass this funding. The Senate Fiscal Director is working on putting

money for this program into the budget.


            Mr. Levin stated his concern with inadequate funding with adult education and inadequate collaboration with community colleges.  A committee

has been formed to get these two organizations to work together to come up with a new vision for adult learning.


            In responding to Mr. Levin's presentation, attendees raised concerns about the high unemployment rate for individuals who are blind, the relationship

between NWLB and state VR agencies, how BEP rent issues are calculated and an assertion that MCB must return federal dollars due to inadequate matching

funds.  Director Cannon clarified, in fact, the Commission has not surrendered any federal dollars due to inadequate match.




            Richard Clay, President, Advocates for the Blind, commented on serious issues that their organization has had with the Detroit office of the

Commission for the Blind, stating that these issues were raised with the Board in December and again in writing in February and that there has been no

response.  Mr. Clay stated that the Commission chair has denied their request to be on the Commission agenda and has denied that any changes are needed

on phone policy, counselor changes, job placement policies or large territories that are covered by management.


           Mr. Cannon responded that although many of the ideas raised by Mr. Clay were worthwhile, adequate funding was not available to implement every

request initiated by his organization.  MCB did address all of Mr. Clay's concerns in a letter.  Members of the organization have been invited to participate

in various MCB committees and Director Levin has also offered to spend time speaking with this organization.


           Chair Pilarski stated that she received one letter, the request to be on the agenda had been received too late as the agenda had already been

set.  She also said that the board was not aware there were new organizations that had been formed.


          Rob Essenberg commented on his own experience with the Automark and how he had to train the workers and use his own headphones.  Mr. Essenberg

also related how he has hired 18 people at his Metroplex BEP operation and is doing his part to help the Michigan economy.  He stated he had approached

the Board asking for support for OUB to take over Camp T on a more permanent basis to provide more programs and allow the building of new structures. 

Mr. Essenberg asked Gail Jones to read a letter from Executive Director, George Wurtzel which included a history of the creation of Camp Tuhsmeheta and

the subsequent formation of OUB to administer the trust fund expenditures. OUB is asking for support from the Board in selling Camp T to OUB therefore

giving them access to the funds to upgrade and build the camp.


            Raymond Roberson, Michigan Committee on Blindness said that he was around in 1978 when the Commission was formed.  He feels that now it is the

Commission against the blind.  Phil Peterson listened to the board as well as the consumers and he said the current administration does not.


            Numerous email messages were received regarding the audio streaming not working.  The audio streaming was not available for the whole meeting

and was unable to be corrected during the Commission meeting.


            Bill Myers, a BEP operator commented by email on the BEP retirement calculation and stated his feelings that retirement benefits should be based

on net proceeds.


          Sharon Burton sent an email sharing the history of Camp Tuhsmeheta, the benefits Camp T has provided to numerous blind children over the years

and the belief that more funding will allow Camp T to offer more recreational programs to adults and children throughout Michigan.


            Kim Walsh, Detroit Radio Information Service (DRIS) thanked the Commission for a support letter that assisted DRIS in getting a grant.  International

Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS) is spearheading accessible electronics including accessible radio, accessible television and digital



          Mike Geno would like to encourage a future board presentation on all of the radio information programs that are operating in the state and consider

a future partnership.  Mr. Geno thanked the board for offering the opportunity to make public comment.


            Joe Sontag spoke about using the Automark and what a positive experience it was.  He also spoke regarding the BEP operators and helping BEP

operators with their grievances. Mr. Sontag concluded by saying there needs to be better communication between the EOC and BEP staff in order to more fully

integrate the committee in staff functions.


             Just before the Commission recessed for lunch, Mr. Cannon reiterated the Commission's ongoing willingness to meet with consumers and consumer

organizations and suggested the meeting could commence during the lunch break.  He offered to meet individually or collectively and asked Richard Clay,

Carrie Bradley, Raymond Roberson and Terry Eagle if they would be willing to meet during the recess and each declined to do so.


           Recessed for lunch at 12:35 p.m.


             The meeting was reconvened at 1:22 p.m.




            Dr. Bernard Miller, a low vision specialist and former Director of Optemetric  Institute and Center of Detroit spoke of his issues with locating

low vision specialists in the state of Michigan.  Dr. Miller spoke about the MCB website listings of the certified low vision specialists and non-certified

low vision specialists.  He asked the Commission to cease steering people to the MOA website to select a low vision specialist and have MCB establish its

own listing, retrain rehabilitation counselors, teachers and Youth Low Vision consultants, and make statistics available to low vision providers.  Mr.

Cannon offered to meet with Dr. Miller directly.




           Ms. Constance Zanger reported that the Annual BEP workshop held in April was a great success.  Hazell Brooks was elected the new chair of the

Elected Operators Committee at this meeting.  The 2009 workshop committee has already met and is getting started on next year's program.


            The Summer Work Opportunity Program (SWOP) for youths is underway with 11 operators participating.  The BEP program is hoping that this initiative

sparks the interest of the youth participants and they go on to become BEP operators of the future.  The intent of the program is to give individuals an

opportunity for work experience which may help them launch careers of their choice and one need not have BEP as their goal to participate in the SWOP program.


            The BEP Operator from Ypsilanti provided catering for the Visions 2008 program, the popular technology fair in Ann Arbor which attracted nearly

1,000 participants.  This was a new and different opportunity and proved to be a successful venture for the operator, Brad Dula.


            Ms. Zanger presented two motions from the Elected Operators Committee requiring Board action.  The first is the motion to change to a graduated

penalty for late set-aside payments having one point deducted for the first late set-aside payment, three for the second and five points deducted for the

third late set-aside.  Penalty points are only applied when an operator bids on another facility and is subject to an evaluation of their payment history.




           Ms. Pilarski asked for clarification between the two motions being presented.  Ms. Zanger indicated that the BEP operators previous 12 months

of payment history is the information used to determine the point penalty.  Ms. Brooks clarified that points drop off after 12 months.


          The second motion presented says that once the five-point deduction level is reached, it would remain the penalty for the remainder of the operator's

career for late payments when late penalties are assessed as part of the bid process.





          Mr. Eagle explained his no vote indicating that these points would remain with the operator for the rest of their BEP career.


            Ms. Zanger reported that there were two newly established BEP facilities. Rutherford Beard is operator of the Michigan National Guard Joint

Reserve Training Center and while currently serving breakfast and lunch, Mr. Beard is hoping to provide catering to on-site meeting and training sessions.

 The second establishment, the Pontiac Area Metroplex is being run by Rob Essenberg. This BEP site runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Currently the site

is operating vending and catering some lunches.  The cafeteria will begin operation upon receipt of approval by the local health department.


            Ms. Zanger also noted that the postal service contract is in the final stages of being complete.  The contract is currently in Washington D.C.

waiting for final signature.  Also the BEP customer satisfaction survey will be conducted by telephone by the Michigan Commission on Disability Concerns,

results will be available in a future BEP report.  Lastly, regarding the retirement issue and calculation of retirement monies the office of retirement

services should have an answer on the calculation process by the end of June and BEP will have information for the Board by the end of the summer.


            Ms. Zanger attended the BLAST conference which provided excellent training programs and a chance to interact with other BEP managers and get

insight into other states programs.  The outstanding efforts by the BEP operators is recognized yearly at the Operators workshop and this year four operators

have been selected by their peers for Operator of the Year.  These operators are Deborah Bell of southeast Michigan, Bill Younce of the northeast Lower

Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, Richard Heisser of Central Michigan and Mike Goudeseune of West Michigan.






            Ms. Hazell Brooks, chair of the Elected Operators Committee commented on the EOC subcommittees, having had 6 meetings, one special one with

five more to go.  Future discussion will include when clients transition from the vocational rehabilitation program to BEP.  Two Ad-Hoc committees were

created; one to look at possible ways to raise revenue for the BEP program and the other, the Resolution Committee, to educate the operators on issues

they are having in locations and how to navigate through the grievance process.


            The EOC and the MCB are putting the final touches on the Vending Stand Training guidelines for out of state operators.  This will be going before

the EOC for a vote shortly.


            Operators are still having issues with Public Act 260 and Public Act 431 in regards to outside agencies bringing food into establishments for

sale.  Mr. Joe Pelle is drafting a position paper on this issue and the rough draft will be brought before the EOC in the near future.






            Leamon Jones, Consumer Services Division Manager reported on the anticipation of greater numbers of older blind in the near future. This has

resulted in collaborated efforts between MCB and Area Agency on Aging to create new programs and services to meet this future need.


             The Consumer Services report had a large focus on timeliness of services and meeting the demands of the Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998.

 The first step is eligibility which is determined by an eye doctor report that indicates legal blindness.  The next step is the Comprehensive Assessment

of Rehabilitation Needs (CARN) that provides the additional information needed to develop a proper Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) within 90 days.

 The IPE provides timelines and specific time periods when these particular objectives need to be reached.


          Mr. Jones continued that staff training begins with a nine week orientation process and continues on with individual consultations with managers,

staff meetings which include local community partner participation and random case reviews to ensure timeliness of services.  Training is provided on an

ongoing basis.


          In the event that a commission client is not pleased with MCB services in any way there are many steps that can be taken to address their concerns.

 The consumer can start the grievance process through the manager of the office of the counselor they are working with.  A client can request an administrative

review.  The next step is to contact the Client Assistance Program (CAP) where the consumer goes through their process.  The final step, if there is still

no resolution, is to contact the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (SOAHR) where a hearing date may be set and the case is presented to

an Administrative Law Judge.


          Mr. Jones also reported other activities that MCB is involved in include many summer programs that focus on independent living skills and employment

skills. The BEP Summer Work Opportunity Program (SWOP) is entering its third year and this summer is offering nine high school and college age students

an opportunity to gain summer work experience.


          A first time program that was very successful was a Transition Day that was held in conjunction with the Saginaw Mini Adjustment.  Ten individuals

participated in this program, it was very well received and talk of expansion has already begun.






            The action plan was developed several years ago as part of the agencies strategic visioning and planning process.  The action plan is a management

tool to track progress on numerous objectives identified under 4 overall goals for the Commission.  Bob Robertson, Rehabilitation Consultant for organizational

development, human resources, training and monitoring provided the overview of the action plan with comments stated by himself, Mr. Cannon, Ms. Boone,

Mr. Jones and Ms. Heibeck.




1.1    Create a questionnaire to gather information from various clients including VR, IL, Training Center students and YLV students and parents.

Status:       The survey is in the final stages of being developed, and information will be shared when it is complete.


1.2    MCB and the EOC will collaborate to collect and analyze training quality satisfaction of the BEP operators and trainees.

Status:       The survey was completed last year so the previous survey was used as a benchmark and MCDC is one-quarter of the way through calling all operators

with the latest survey.


  1.3    Assess skill development and satisfaction of clients completing a program at MCBTC.

Status:       Gathered old survey questions, and the questions need to be reviewed by staff.  Training center students will be able to take the survey and

it will be available in all accessible formats so the survey remains anonymous.


  1.4    Gather information regarding Information Packets, Training Center tours and phone calls in each office to determine effectiveness of service delivery

system and outreach.

Status:       The field gathers data regarding incoming phone calls and the Center gathers the information regarding tours.  The Training Center is scheduled

to give the information to Susan Turney on a monthly basis.


1.5   The Executive Management Team (EMT) is to develop assessment and tracking tools to measure client satisfaction.

Status:       The questions are almost done, second revisions were completed and MCB is currently working with Dr. Brenda Cavanaugh from Mississippi State

University to finalize the questions.  This will be a phone survey administered by MCDC that should commence in the next couple of weeks.


1.6    Training Center Director and staff are to develop a data gathering tool to track Braille statistics including textbooks used by each student, the

instructor name and beginning and ending reading level.

Status:       The data gathering survey is finished; the instructors have had several meetings and the developed instrument tracks the level of Braille

and the speed of reading contracted Braille.


1.7    Develop a Summer Youth Program that will operate at the Center for at least six weeks during the summer; this program will be targeted at students

in transition and assist them in gaining work experience.

Status:       The outline was presented in April and the decision was made to implement this program over the next two years.  This first year weekend and

evening programs are being added to the Training Center summer activities when summer staff is approved to be hired.


1.8    Develop the Summer Work Opportunity Program (SWOP) for BEP that will create guidelines for BEP operators employing clients for the summer.

Status:       Summer Work Opportunity Program (SWOP) had a goal of 9 operators and currently 11 are participating.  The current operators are praising the

4 students who have started; 5 more students are in the works and will be starting shortly.


1.9    Create a BEP operator point report that will provide on demand information at operator's request.

Status:       The report was completed and run but bugs and data issues were found.  The bugs have been fixed and the data issues are being fixed.  The

ultimate goal is to have the data accurate and   available so the operators could call up at any time and find their points.  This should be up and operational

in the telephony system in the next two months.


1.10  Collaborate with MRS and the Department of Corrections to develop and implement the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Program and Veteran's MOU.

Status:       Both programs have been signed and details are being worked out.  The MPRI is ready to be implemented and specific details are being addressed

for implementation.  The Veterans MOU is in the process of having some of the details refined and will be ready at the beginning of the next fiscal year.


  1.11  Develop MCB's Business Services Initiative to educate employers regarding MCB's job ready consumers and expand participation in CSAVR's National

Employment Network.

Status:       MCB continues to work with this program and continues to provide job opportunities.  We receive information and will attend a conference on

how to become more integrated into CSAVR's program.  One of the greatest successes with the program has been Walgreens.


  1.12  Complete four case reviews for 2008.

Status:       Two case reviews have been completed.  The other two will be done by the end of the calendar year.


1.13  Conduct training needs assessment and develop creative, low-cost (or no cost) means for in-service training for agency staff.

Status:       An email was sent to all staff asking for training priorities, the moratorium on training and budget restrictions have cut back on staff travel.

 Training priority will be MPRI, Veterans administration program and the diversity committee which has scheduled training for all staff to take place in



1.14  Continue working with the Future Ad Hoc Committee to develop strategies to address changing needs for VR services as the number of blind persons increases.

Status:       The Futuristic Ad Hoc Committee is continuing to look at those objectives and have identified some processes to take to meet those objectives

and have shared this information with the EMT as well as the Director.  The committee is taking a look at some of the technology companies and is finding

ways to work with these companies.  More seniors will be coming to MCB and the Commission is working closely with the Area Agency on Aging to develop programs

to meet those needs.


2.1    Develop a plan and timeline for use of federal government earmarked funds for Technology Center.

Status:       MCB's request for earmark funds has moved to DLEG, then to the Governor's Washington office and at this point is awaiting congressional action.


2.2    Partner with other agencies or groups for purposes of technology training, financial help with training and grant writing.

Status:       MCB is working with many of the rehab agencies to expand training opportunities.  MCB is also working with the agencies who have received

grants to develop vocational opportunities for MCB consumers.


3.1    Write, produce, print and post online a DeafBlind brochure and a MCB Training Center brochure.

Status:       The DeafBlind services brochure is in process to being finished. Ms. Turney is also working with Ms. Boone to produce a new Training Center



3.2    Produce an MCB Annual Report for both print and online format.

Status:       Ms. Turney is compiling data throughout the year and will produce the annual report at the end of the year.


3.3    Continue collaboration with professional organizations of eye doctors.

Status:       MCB continues working with optometrists and ophthalmologists observing blindness services awareness month and pursuing placement of brochures

in the offices of eyecare professionals.  Ferris State University invites commission staff to speak to their classes of optometry students about commission



3.4    Enhance the MCB website including adding audio files of agency brochures, videos and archived quarterly Commission meetings.

Status:       Future meetings will be archived when the space becomes available through DMB. Three of MCB's brochures are currently available on line.


4.1    Explore future collaboration with the Office of Aging and Area Agencies on Aging to more effectively serve older individuals with sight loss.

Status:       This is ongoing and contact has been made with several offices of Area Agencies on Agency so services can be obtained in all communities.


        Commissioners expressed appreciation for the action plan overview and indicated that this was very helpful.


         Mike Ellis advised Commissioners that there had not been audio streaming because there was equipment failure.  The Commission will have audio that

has been captured.




The meeting was adjourned at 3:02 p.m.  The next meeting will be held on Friday, September 19 at the Victor Center, Lansing.  The meeting will begin at

9:00 a.m.


Jo Ann Pilarski, Chairperson



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