[nfbmi-talk] Fw: Yesterday's Public Comment

Larry Posont president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 03:19:29 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Mark Eagle 
To: president.nfb.mi at gmail.com 
Sent: Saturday, December 11, 2010 10:36 AM
Subject: Yesterday's Public Comment 


      Here is the public comment that I sent in yesterday.


      --- On Fri, 12/10/10, Mark Eagle <markaeagle at yahoo.com> wrote:

        From: Mark Eagle <markaeagle at yahoo.com>
        Subject: Public Comment
        To: mcbpubliccomments at gmail.com
        Date: Friday, December 10, 2010, 10:47 AM

                    Dear Jo Ann and those that have been mislead, 


                    I was very troubled to find an email last week in my inbox detailing misleading, unfound assumptions, attacks and out right lies against me from Jo Ann Pilarski, MCB Board Chair. I would like to take a few moments to set the record straight in defense of my victimization. 


                    I find it very bizarre that Ms. Pilarski finds it incomprehensible to verbally attack individuals at public MCB board meetings, but is willing to attack an individuals’ character behind their backs and spread grossly disturbing remarks about me. 


                    She begins her email by explaining to Mr. Larry Posont that I wasn’t dismissed from the board on the basis of my views pertaining to the MCB College Policy. Mrs. Pilarski continues on stating that she had concerns from the very beginning about me joining the Commission Board. She indirectly attests in her email that I didn’t fill out the appointment questionnaire correctly and honestly. She goes on leading you to believe based on her indirect attack of “I had to question that appointment, as Chair of a board whom I felt should be serving all without bias and should be following the law”. That I was actually biased and that I was unwilling to follow the law which is absolutely untrue. At no time during the appointment process or my term as Commissioner, did I ever break any state laws or the oath of office that I took. 


                    When filling out my appointment application, I did so truthfully and did in fact indicate that my aunt (Cheri Eagle) was a current BEP operator and my father (Terry Eagle) was a previous BEP operator. Not only did I list this on my application but I also made the Governor’s office verbally aware of my relationship to Terry and Cheri. I also find it hard to believe that there was an issue with this as the Director of the Commission, Mr. Patrick Cannon having had personal friendships with my mother and father prior to the time I was even born, would have been fully aware of these relationships and did not contest my appointment from the beginning. Furthermore, Mr. Cannon actually wrote a letter of recommendation to the Governor’s Office on my behalf for the appointment process. 


                    As for other statements made in the email, Mrs. Pilarski states that she had two commissioners writing to her throughout my term and expressing their concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Those two commissioners, Mrs. Velma Allen and Mrs. Geri Taekens were concerned on two occasions to my knowledge. The first occasion was when an ALJ decision concerning my aunt Cheri came before the Board. On this occasion, I recognized the potential conflict of interest and recused myself from the discussion and vote concerning that decision. On the second occasion, when my father represented Mr. Sam Tocco, I also recused myself from both the deliberation and voting based on recognition of a possible conflict of interest. These actions on each occasion resolved both Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Taeken’s concerns. These two occasions are the only ones that I am personally aware of unless Mrs. Pilarski is contending that she violated the Open Meetings Act by deliberating with other commissioners outside of the open meetings. Furthermore, if that in fact is the case, Mrs. Pilarski would be, as 
                    Chair of the board, NOT serving ALL WITHOUT BIAS and would NOT be following the law. Which I would hope is not her intention. Unfortunately, this does seem to be the case in the instance where she passed other commissioners’ and her own concerns on to Pat Cannon concerning my alleged conflicts of interest which she states in the email. By doing so, she is in clear violation of the Open Meetings Act as she deliberated with a quorum of commissioners and Pat Cannon outside of an open meeting. 


                    Although Joann seems to have questioned my appointment from the beginning, she states that “Apparently no one in the appointments office had an issue with that, nor did the Senate”. It is my question to her, why she initially never appeared before the senate to express her concern about the appointment, or before the ethics board to testify regarding her role on the issue of any conflict-of-interest. If she had so many concerns, why did she fail to show at what would have been two of the most critical and appropriate times? 


                    I find it funny that there were so many “concerns” however not a single person was willing to speak publically to those concerns. This is especially true in the instance of the ethics board meeting where the commission presented unreliable statements against me from unreliable sources such as Greg Keathly. Greg called the commission and a written statement was noted that I apparently had attended what is he alleges to be an “illegal meeting” at the Flap Jack restaurant in South Lansing with the member of the EOC. This is completely false as I had not even been to that Flap Jack restaurant in more than five years before the date that he alleges that I was there. Following my removal as a commissioner based on the ethics board decision, Mr. Keathly asserted that it was not his intention for those statements to be used against me in my position as a commissioner and that he would set the record straight at the next MCB Board meeting. Unfortunately, for some unexplained reason that never happened. The only other information that was received by the Ethics board was communication between my father, Terry Eagle and the commission administrative staff which not only had nothing to do with me but also proved NO misconduct on my part. 


                    Clearly the decision to seek the advisory opinion of the ethics board was motivated by one or both of the following two reasons. First, that I was an outspoken commissioner on many issues such as the violation of the Open Meeting Act on the part of both the College Policy committee and the MCB board; the illegal contract concerning the Phillip Brand ALJ decision; and the staff recommendations attached to the ALJ recommended decisions presented to the board. As a Board it is our duty to solely consider the recommended decision of the ALJ, however, the staff for whom the grievance was against, were clearly attempting to unfairly influence the outcome of our decisions in their favor, which is highly unethical conduct. I also questioned conflicts of interest such as Barbara Schmidt being a legal representative for the staff at the hearing and also advising the Board. This fact also demonstrates and unfair influence upon the board. 


                    The second motivation is based on contempt and despise for the advocacy performed on behalf of blind persons by my father, Terry Eagle, to enforce the rights of blind persons under the law, and to obtain compliance with lawful requirements in accordance with state and federal law and rules and regulations required of MCB staff. 



                    One can only ponder the likely answer; don’t ask me, I’m just the commissioner who refused to put a Pat Cannon stamp of approval on everything that came before the board which upset the director and other commissioners. 



                    If you Joann, want to be a beacon of moral and ethical values and truly believe that I have committed wrongful or unethical acts, it is my sincere hope that you reevaluate your time on the commission board in which you did not stand up to your own standards, follow the law or oath of office, and it is my opinion that, you tender your resignation. Just remember for each time you point a critical finger at me, you have three pointing back at yourself. 


                    Yours truly, 


                    Commissioner Mark Eagle 





                          > ----- Original Message ----- 
                          > From: "Jo Ann Pilarski" <pilarskij at charter.net>
                          > To: "Joe Sibley" <joe.sibley at comcast.net>;
                          > "Larry Posont" <president.nfb.mi at gmail.com>
                          > Cc: <geri.TAECKENS at ISAHEALTHFUND.ORG>;
                          > "JOHN SCOTT" <jcscot at sbcglobal.net>
                          > Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:10 PM
                          > Subject: 2011 Action Plan Objectives
                          > Good Morning,
                          > Was finally able to access audio streaming 
                          > Saturday afternoon, and heard some really 
                          > interesting sessions.  Could not get back on in 
                          > the evening to hear Dr. Schroeder; streaming just 
                          > wasn't working.  This morning I was at church so 
                          > didn't hear discussion or resolutions.
                          > One issue to which I would like to respond is that 
                          > of the assumption that Mark Eagle was dismissed 
                          > for his views on college policy.  In fact, I asked 
                          > Mark to participate on the college policy 
                          > committee, thinking that as a student he would 
                          > have much to add.  I am absolutely sure that from 
                          > the Board perspective, this was not an issue.
                          > Larry, I will tell you that I had concerns about 
                          > Mark joining our Board.  I had to fill out an 
                          > 8-page questionnaire in which I had to state that 
                          > I had no relatives or friends who had any kind of 
                          > tie with MCB, as it might compromise my role as 
                          > commissioner.  I stated my concerns to the 
                          > appointments office right from the beginning.  I 
                          > felt that I had to question that appointment, as 
                          > Chair of a board whom I felt should be serving all 
                          > without bias and should be following the law. 
                          > Apparently no one in the appointments office had 
                          > an issue with that, nor did the Senate.
                          > I had two commissioners writing to me throughout 
                          > Mark's term expressing specific concerns about 
                          > potential conflict issues.  I felt, again, as 
                          > Chair that I had to pass their concerns, as well 
                          > as my own,  on to Pat.  He, in turn,
                          > stated that he would question the Ethics committee 
                          > to see if there was potential for conflict. 
                          > Apparently, they felt that was the case.   I
                          > won't 
                          > speak for other Commissioners who were seated at 
                          > that time; they can speak to their issues if they 
                          > choose.  What I did want to clear up was that this 
                          > had nothing to do with the College Policy 
                          > committee.  I remember that Mark wanted to open it 
                          > up to more consumers; I was fine with that, asked 
                          > Administration about it,  and it was an 
                          > unequivocal "no".  In the end we did open it wide 
                          > up and made consumers a huge part of that writing. 
                          > As you will recall, there was much resistance, but 
                          > the Board and Consumers and Agency came to 
                          > agreement with most pieces of it.
                          > I also want to say that I think that Mark was and 
                          > is a fine young man. I so wanted to donate to his 
                          > campaign, but the whole thing about commissioners 
                          > dealing with lobbying and/or legislative stuff got 
                          > me
                          > in the end.  I could see potential for conflict.
                          > What I am really writing to you, as presidents of 
                          > your respective consumer groups, is this.  It is 
                          > time for our Board to write objectives for 
                          > Director Cannon. These go one of two places: in 
                          > his personal plan, or into our Action Plan.  Since 
                          > we are short two commissioners, I am pulling 
                          > myself off the Planning and quality team, so I 
                          > will ask for a full report from them on our goals 
                          > and objectives and the progress for each meeting. 
                          > In this way thee will be an accounting for what we 
                          > have asked for 2011.  I also know that there is a 
                          > built-in consumer factor on this team (the PAQ) 
                          > and that you all will have it covered.  You can 
                          > introduce policy ideas and objectives at any PAQ 
                          > meeting.
                          > Back to objectives.  If  you, Larry and Joe, can
                          > have a meeting to talk about issues on which you 
                          > might agree for action by the agency in 2011, I 
                          > would be interested in hearing them.  We may be 
                          > able to incorporate them into our objectives, if 
                          > the Board agrees.   We have learned that we
                          > are 
                          > limited by DELEG to 3-5 objectives for Pat's 
                          > personal goals, but we can incorporate ideas on 
                          > which we all agree into the action plan.
                          > I hope you receive this with the intent with which 
                          > it is sent - a spirit of mutual respect, 
                          > cooperation and progress toward the best 
                          > programming we can give blind folks in Michigan.\
                          > Again, Larry, really enjoyed yesterday's p.m. 
                          > speakers.  The streaming was great until it didn't 
                          > work anymore.  Gotta love technology.
                          > Still dealing with many issues with my dad, but am 
                          > home now and he is downstate with his wife and in 
                          > a hospice situation.   We have come to terms
                          > with 
                          > the fact that we are all in God's hands, and must 
                          > pray and trust him in this (and so many) 
                          > situations. I will be home in the evenings and am 
                          > free to take calls if you need to contact me.
                          > Sincerely,
                          > Jo Ann

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