[nfbmi-talk] Fw: System 7 issues

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Wed Dec 15 20:02:30 CST 2010


God Bless Bernie!

Joe
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Larry Posont" <president.nfb.mi at gmail.com>
To: "nfbmi List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 8:46 PM
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Fw: System 7 issues


>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Kramer, Bernie (DELEG)" <kramerb at michigan.gov>
> To: "Larry Posont" <president.nfb.mi at gmail.com>
> Cc: "Silky, Karyn (DELEG)" <silkyk at michigan.gov>; "Kisiel, Lisa (DELEG)" 
> <kisiell at michigan.gov>
> Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 6:36 PM
> Subject: RE: System 7 issues
>
>
> Mr. Posont,
>
> Larry,
>
> I feel humbled  in thanking you for your kind remarks.  I am indeed 
> honored by your compliments and  feel I'm leaving before the job
> is done.  It is just Larry, that it's time to go.
>
> In terms of personal situations I am a first generation American German 
> Jew, born in NYC but faced tremendous prejudice as I grew up
> in rural New York State.  The community had many Nazi's living in the 
> area.  I know it's not the same issue; but that is why I have
> always fought for what is right.
>
> I have the highest professional respect for Karyn Silky.  I believe you 
> are right on target.  Her expertise in all facets of Blind
> and Low Vision qualifications are exemplary.  I think what we both are 
> frustrated with is the Politic that I wrote about.  We cannot
> as an organization get beyond those issues.  I would stand this Staff up 
> against any in State Government.  They are a special group
> of professionals willing to go to the edge to ensure services are offered.
>
> Until this Management team trusts it's staff, all the learning 
> opportunities I was offered by John Victory just will not allow this
> organization to move Forward.  The tragic part of all this is that my 
> friend and brother, Tony Van Staveren, and I to an extent,
> determined we could no longer "fight the fight".
>
> You may know I have faced many health  challenges the past two years.  In 
> the early 2000's Tony Van Staveren and I took a lot on by
> ourselves.  I thought we were making progress, but I take you back to my 
> remarks of yesterday's message.
>
> I would appreciate it if I can remain on the NFB of MI distribution list. 
> This address expires 29 Dec 10 and new address for you is
> bpkramer45 at gmail.com
>
> What I will look back on is the tremendous folks I was blessed to have 
> spent the best part of my day with; for 15 years.  I continue
> to learn about Blindness.
>
> God willing I hope to attend next year's state conference.
>
> All the Best.
>
> Regards,
>
> Bernie
> ________________________________________
> From: Larry Posont [president.nfb.mi at gmail.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 11:32 AM
> To: Gobert, Trendell (DELEG); Gonzales, Longino; GoodingS at michigan.gov; 
> Greenacre, Lee (DELEG); Greenwald, David; Griggs, Wylea
> (DELEG); Grover, Dan (DELEG); Haines, Ed (DELEG); Hall, Tom; Harrington, 
> Karen (DELEG); Haynes, Carla (DELEG);
> HeibeckS at michigan.gov; Henshaw, Connie (DELEG); Hoskins, Joanne; Hough, 
> Tami (DELEG); Hoy, Tina (DELEG); Hull, James (DELEG); Ippel,
> Mary (DELEG); Jones, Louise; Kisiel, Lisa (DELEG); Klimp, Hertha (DELEG); 
> Kramer, Bernie (DELEG); Lapekas, Nancy (DELEG);
> Laury-Johnson, Shawnese (DELEG); Love, Pat (MDE); Lujan-Roberts, Betty 
> (DELEG); Lukose, Aliyamma (DELEG); Lurry, Alicia (DELEG);
> Luzenski, Sue (DELEG); Mahony-Bierlein, Holly (DELEG); Marshall, Pattijo; 
> Martin, Carol; Masion, Shelley (DELEG); McCall, Roberta
> (DELEG); McClure, Morgan; McEntee, John (DELEG); McInnis, Janet (DELEG); 
> McNeal, Gwen (DELEG); McVoy, Shannon (DELEG); Meadows,
> Faith (DELEG); Merwin, Gayle  (DELEG); Moss, Corda (DELEG); Movalson, 
> Christine  (DELEG); Nelson, King (DELEG); Neubaum, Marla
> (DELEG)
> Cc: Larry Posont
> Subject: System 7 issues
>
> National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
>
> 20812 Ann Arbor Trail
>
> Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
>
>
>
> December 15, 2010
>
>
>
> Dear Jo Ann,
>
>
>
> Below are 2 emails from 2 of the most dedicated people in the MCB.  They 
> are speaking out about one more system within MCB that is
> broken.  As you are aware, much of the relationship with RSA is data 
> driven.  That is, the agency performance is measured and
> evaluated in quantitative measures.  There are few, if any qualitative 
> measures.
>
>
>
> The RSA recently completed a monitoring report which was a very poor 
> reflection on the agency.  As you read the comments from Karyn
> Silky, you can sense her frustration as she tries to do her work and 
> cannot do it efficiently and meet the demands of the
> administrative management information system (System 7).  As she points 
> out, even the accounting is broken.  She cannot charge costs
> to the proper accounts.  If these are not caught and manually corrected, 
> RSA will, again, find that MCB is misappropriating funds.
> The bottom line here is that System 7 is failing.
>
>
>
> If that were the only major administrative problem in MCB it would be very 
> serious and demand immediate and drastic action.
> Unfortunately, this is only one among at least 4 other systems that have 
> failed within the past year.  Or should I say, more
> correctly, which have been reported in the past year.  Certainly the 
> monitoring report covers a broader time span and shows ongoing
> mismanagement by the Director.
>
>
>
> Here is a brief recap of some of the failed and broken systems at MCB:
>
>
>
>  1.. 37 MCBTC staff are sitting idle and did so all last week at a cost of 
> more than $75000/week, because there was inadequate
> planning to anticipate issues that may arise in commencing a major 
> construction project.  This project has been in some stage of
> planning since around 2005; it did not sneak up on anyone.  This failure 
> alone ought to be enough to demand drastic action from the
> board.  It is easy to predict that Pat will blame Melody Lindsey, 
> Christine Boone or Sherri Heibeck.  He will not ever take
> responsibility for anything.  Who is accountable?
>
>
>  2.. The Business Enterprise Program is in meltdown.  With 15 facilities 
> on the bid line and not enough blind people trained to
> fill these positions it is just going to continue to cause major problems 
> for MCB.  Sooner or later, there will be a major incident
> someplace which will create public relations problems and possibly attract 
> negative legislature attention.
>
>
> The last BEP training class of only 8, had no one in charge.  Trainees 
> were left to sit unsupervised with no assignments and no
> oversight.  An interpreter at $40/hour was allowed to sit while the person 
> for whom they were to interpret had no activity.   Fred
> Wurtzel, the retired BEP administrator called James Hull and offered to 
> supervise the class during John McEntee's absence.  No
> teacher was apparently better than a 20 year veteran.  There have been 
> talks of early retirements for years.  It could be
> anticipated that such an event would occur, yet there was absolutely no 
> planning.  This is difficult to understand, since placements
> of blind clients are down and there allegedly very few jobs, except there 
> 15, today in the Business Enterprise Program.  Who will
> take the fall for this.  Will anyone take responsibility?  Will anyone be 
> held accountable?  Certainly not Pat Cannon, Heaven
> forbid.
>
>
>
>  3.. The RSA monitoring report showed a monumental lack of oversight and 
> numerous instances of violations of the law and rules.  It
> is alleged that RSA is wrong and MCB is not to blame.  It is doubtful if 
> this argument will hold water.  Consumers have brought many
> of these issues to the attention of the Commission Board, the MCB director 
> and various staff people over the years.  Some of these,
> consumers could not easily detect, like misappropriation of funds by 
> serving ineligible clients below the age of 14.  Pat alleged in
> a meeting with the NFB that he provided a copy of the preliminary 
> monitoring report to you, Jo Ann, more than a year ago.  You have
> denied having a copy.  I'm not sure of the truth, here.  It certainly 
> appears that Pat is, again, dumping responsibility on you and
> not taking his own responsibility.  Who will be blamed for this? Will it 
> be Leamon, the MCB Board, and the counselors or, as we
> heard, it is RSA's fault.  Amazing!
>
>
>  4.. Back to System 7.  This is the very heart of managing the MCB.  RSA 
> will use data from System 7 to evaluate the agency
> performance.
>
>
>  5..
>
>
>  6.. Yesterday, in the Services Delivery Design Team meeting staff 
> expressed much dissatisfaction with System 7 and MAIN. it was
> mentioned that blind staff, after how many years, now, still cannot  do 
> many of the administrative tasks which most state employees
> must do either as a regular part of their job or as incidental parts of 
> carrying out their duties.  For example blind staff in state
> government cannot even complete their own time sheets, let alone do a 
> large number of tasks required for state jobs.  The Commission
> may become the only place where blind people can work if they need to use 
> MAIN. The whole "MAIN" system is inaccessible and Pat
> cannon is the state ADA coordinator.  Michigan is at risk for a giant ADA 
> suit such as the ones in Arkansas and New york.  These
> states had exactly the same problem with their statewide accounting 
> systems.  Is the Governor aware of this threat?  Pat Cannon
> cannot even advocate for his agencies' constituency, himself or anyone 
> else it seems.  Who is at fault for this system failure?  It
> must be Connie Zanger, right?  She has been doing the job for the past few 
> months and did not fix it.  Or, could it be Sherri
> Heibeck?  She was in charge for several years.  Or is it Libera?  Did they 
> follow the MCB specifications incorrectly?  Or, is it
> DTMB for not monitoring the system progress.  Oh, how about Pat Cannon? 
> Could he, as administrator be accountable?  No, he is no
> computer guru, so it must be someone else.
>
>
> These are just 4, (did I say "just" 4?) items that, in most places of 
> employment just 1 problem of the magnitude of these would have
> caused major disciplinary action, that are plaguing MCB  Yet, given all 
> these, you just gave this man a satisfactory job rating.
> This seems inconceivable.
>
>
>
> How about some other items like the firing of Christine Boone on false 
> pretenses with no MCB Board oversight, though the board is
> the direct supervisor of the Director and P.A. 260 calls for such 
> oversight, 2 instances of breaking and entry into the MCB office
> where computers were stolen, allegations of misuse of travel by a staff 
> person, questions about BEP inventories, questions about bep
> judge shopping resulting in overturned administrative hearings?  How many 
> more do you need?
>
>
>
> Read both Bernie's and Karin's messages.  They are afraid of reprisals. 
> Pat Cannon has managed by bullying and intimidation.  Why
> should an employee be afraid to report problems with the software they are 
> depending on to do their jobs?  This is the very software
> the agency will depend on to report accurately to RSA to account for the 
> $20 million the agency is entrusted with each year to serve
> blind people.  Fear is the management style of preference and as you can 
> see from the list above it is not very effective as a
> strategy.  When will someone take responsibility?  Are blind people so 
> inconsequential that a person earning more than 120000 per
> year is allowed to behave in any manner they choose wit impunity?
>
>
>
> It is up to you.  We are depending on you as the legally appointed body to 
> oversee the Commission to take charge.  When will this
> madness stop and who will stop it?
>
>
>
> Sincerely
>
>
>
> Larry Posont, President
>
> National Federation of the Blind of Michigan
>
> 517-482-1800
>
> Email: president.nfb.mi at gmail.com
>
> Web page
>
> www.nfbmi.org
>
>
>
> Subject: RE: System 7 issues
>
> All,
>
> Good afternoon.
>
> Is this another case of Manager's making decisions WITHOUT ANY INPUT OF
>
> STAFF?
>
> I can't even count the number of times we have just shoved stuff down the 
> chain,
>
> (in our case the West Region) to Field
>
> Staff and
>
> Administrative Support
>
> .
>
> What affect does this have on the overall push down to us; to increase 
> Competitive
>
> Closures?
>
> There most surely is POLITIC with this latest decision to revamp System 7? 
> It must
>
> have to do with funding to LIBERA?  Appease RSA?
>
> Does anyone hear, or read of staff and
>
> administrative support
>
> input to the latest from Libera?  Does anyone care about this
>
> Staff
>
> ; BUT, particularly here in the West Region?  Kisiel and I do!  Some of 
> the West
>
> Staff may not agree with me; and that's OK.
>
> How much more can this agency from Commissioner's, right down thru the 
> "THE CHAIN
>
> OF COMMAND" ask of this
>
> Staff?
>
> For one time can we be straight and honest to the hardest worker's we 
> have?  OK;
>
> worker's may not be a good title but is this how MANAGEMENT sees it's
>
> front line employees
>
> ?   Sherry Gordon, Lisa Kisiel and the writer have always tried to put our
>
> STAFF first.  We tried
>
> but maybe never enough
>
> , to stand up to what we felt was right?   I always lived with FEAR, i.e., 
> what can
>
> "they" do to me?  And, I am a former Colonel in the United States Army.
>
> I have sat by for many days now; first thinking WHAT CAN THEY DO TO ME if 
> I respond?
>
>  In good
>
> conscience I have to
>
> !  I have the highest of respect for the professionalism that Karyn Silky 
> and ALL
>
> STAFF of this agency bring to the table.
>
> For so many years I supported the Director's approach which began upon 
> arrival in
>
> 1999.  As a Manager I became a learning person as was suggested to me, not 
> by my
>
> Boss then; but the Director.  Eleven years ago I honored that attempt.
>
> It pains me to see after these eleven years, that I have to ask;
>
> have we made any progress
>
> ?  THIS IS A BURNED OUT FIELD STAFF in the West Region.
>
> BERNIE P. KRAMER
>
> West Region Manager
>
> Michigan Commission For The Blind
>
> 350 Ottawa NW
>
> Grand Rapids, MI
>
> 616-356-0183
>
> Subject: System 7 issues
>
> Julia,
>
> First, thanks for being patient with all of us as we struggle through this 
> mess.
>
> My comments below are not directed toward you, please know that.
>
> My first question is why can't we be allowed to view all consumers who are 
> in the
>
> System?  I needed to check to see if someone from the other side of the 
> state was
>
> currently open etc. for a new referral that came in with the same first 
> and last
>
> name, and I was not able to view any case information because I wasn't 
> assigned to
>
> the case.
>
> If the response is that the counselor assigned to the case must change it, 
> then this
>
> is just not acceptable.  What if the counselor/teacher doesn't do it in a 
> timely
>
> fashion?  What if the person assigned to the case has retired?  Doesn't 
> Libra understand
>
> how this complicates service delivery for consumers?  Not everyone sits at 
> their
>
> desk 8-10 hours per day - most, if not all of us, are out in the field for 
> the majority
>
> of the week.
>
> Secondly - why can't our support staff be able to do IPE amendments for 
> counselors/teachers?
>
> Apparently the counselor/teacher assigned to the case must do the IPE 
> amendment,
>
> approve it then our support staff can follow through and do an 
> authorization.  Again,
>
> this is not allowing us to do our jobs in a timely manner.  It's not that 
> support
>
> staff are actually writing the auth - it's that some of us might 
> call/email in a
>
> request to have support staff input the information into system, with all 
> the particulars,
>
> when we can't access or get to the system for various reasons like being 
> on the road.
>
> If timely service delivery is being asked of staff, this problem does not 
> make it
>
> very feasible.  It's insane that all of the methods we used to have in the 
> old version
>
> aren't still there.  The new requirement to go into the IPE and Amendments 
> and date
>
> when services were rendered and the outcomes is also a huge issue.  How 
> are we supposed
>
> to know when this has been done if we didn't have the case when original 
> services
>
> were planned?  This process does not make our system "efficient" - it is 
> taking an
>
> incredible amount of time for staff to even do a simple IPE amendment. 
> Case note
>
> entries should document that services were rendered.  Sounds to me like 
> someone doesn't
>
> want to review case files to get this information and want a "quick fix".
>
> I'm concerned that management does not have a full grasp on how difficult 
> this "upgrade"
>
> has made our jobs.  I would suggest that those supervisors without case 
> loads sit
>
> down and try to muddle through this mess and get things done in a timely 
> fashion.
>
> I mean actually try to write an IPE amendment, try to print one out and 
> see what
>
> happens, try to do an authorization, add a new consumer, try to find an 
> existing
>
> consumer etc. . .   and do this without having all the rights that you 
> likely would
>
> have.  The upgrade is not acting like it did in training nor is it working 
> like it
>
> did during the testing phase.  I'm appalled that there doesn't seem to be 
> an upper
>
> management statement being made to Libra about the urgency of fixing these 
> issues
>
> if not taking us back to the old way of doing things.  If it is being done 
> on the
>
> Director or upper management level, it would be nice for staff to know 
> that this
>
> is happening - communicate with us on what is being asked to be fixed or 
> corrected,
>
> let us know that you are all supporting our concerns.  I know that I am 
> speaking
>
> for most if not all of my colleagues when I say that we are fed up, tired 
> and angry
>
> with what has been occurring.
>
> My last issue is huge and has been asked of Libera already, but is 
> creating a serious
>
> problem - staff (all staff) must be able to plan and do authorizations 
> from the appropriate
>
> accounting codes.  Can't anyone see that when authorizations are being 
> done, they
>
> are being pulled from AARA funds versus VR because it can't be changed? 
> What about
>
> YLV students - what if they are VR and we need to do both YLV 
> authorization as well
>
> as a VR service?  It won't let you do this.  Why are we being required to 
> do ILOB
>
> plans when only IL was supposed to have plans.  While I'm on it, what is 
> the definition
>
> of an IL consumer versus a homemaker?  When do we serve someone as IL and 
> not VR
>
> homemaker?   This question was asked during the testing phase of the 
> upgrade when
>
> we learned there would be a split in the funding for IL/ILOB.  That was 
> months ago.
>
> How can you implement a new approach to fund and serve IL/ILOB without 
> defining for
>
> us what that means?  Leamon, you must address this issue because there 
> will be and
>
> possibly are consumers out there not getting services through general IL 
> who have
>
> the right to services and/or are being put in the wrong program.
>
> This "upgrade" is not an upgrade - it is a completely new system. 
> Upgrades only
>
> fix minor issues - not create disasters.
>
> I feel sorry for whoever will be in charge of gathering financial data at 
> the end
>
> of Fiscal 2011 because the way things are going, nothing will be accurate.
>
> My appeal to all staff who are trying to use this system is this - if you 
> are struggling
>
> with all of these issues, let management know directly via email or phone 
> calls.
>
> Specific issues must be identified to them and how it is impacting your 
> job, how
>
> long it is taking to do tasks (literally track the time) is absolutely 
> necessary
>
> in order for users of the system to get our point across.
>
> I might be putting my neck on the line sending this, but frankly, I don't 
> care anymore.
>
> Karyn
>
>
> --
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