[nfbmi-talk] Fw: CIC agenda for April 12, 2012, meeting and draft notes from January 12, 2012, meeting

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Mon Feb 6 15:33:16 CST 2012

Wish we'd get MCB meeting minutes etc. in a timely manner....

Still haven't received the last two draft meeting minutes and associated materials for the last two MCB meetings and still haven't seen an agenda for tomorrow's meeting.

Just an fyi here...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Turney, Susan (LARA) 
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 4:06 PM
Subject: CIC agenda for April 12, 2012, meeting and draft notes from January 12, 2012, meeting

Attached and pasted below are the agenda for the April 12, 2012, MCB Consumer Involvement Council meeting and the draft meeting notes from the January 12, 2012, meeting.  These documents are also posted on the MCB website (www.michigan.gov/mcb) in the Events Calendar under April 12, 2012.


Susan Turney

Communications & Outreach Coordinator, Michigan Commission for the Blind

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs 

desk:  517-241-8631; cell: 517-243-3858; fax:  517-335-5140

MCB toll-free: 1-800-292-4200

201 N. Washington Square, Second Floor, 

P.O. Box 30652; Lansing, MI 48909




Michigan Commission for the Blind Consumer Involvement Council

Thursday,  April 12, 2012, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

MCB Large Conference Room, Victor Building, 201 N. Washington Square, Lansing

Telephone Conference Call-In Number: 877-873-8017, Passcode 7085546

1.    Meeting call to order by Chair Phyllis Magbanua (9:00 a.m.)

a.     Roll call and determination of quorum

b.    Review and approval of agenda

c.     Review and approval of January 12, 2012, meeting minutes

2.    Old/New business

a.     Opening comments by CIC Chair

b.    MCB Liaison Report by Susan Turney

c.     Update for Veteran to serve on the CIC

d.    Guest: Mr. Richard Bernstein

3.    Roundtable

a.     Reports: Individual CIC members

b.    Questions, concerns, and comments from CIC members

4.    Public comment/dialogue ( 11:30 a.m.)

5.    Adjourn


Michigan Commission for the Blind

Consumer Involvement Council


Thursday, January 12, 2012, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

MCB Large Conference Room, Victor Building, 201 N. Washington Square, Lansing

Telephone Conference Call-In Number: 877-873-8017, Passcode 7085546

In Attendance

·     In person: Carrie Martin, Susan Turney, Cheryl Wade

·     On the phone: Phyllis Magbanua - Chairperson, Mary Davis, Terry Eagle, Marianne Dunn, Joe Harcz, Wayne LePoirs, Jim Moore, Sarah Norwood, Geer Wilcox, Fred Wurtzel

Joe Harcz moved that the agenda be approved and Jim Moore seconded it.  The agenda was approved.  

Jim moved for approval of the minutes, and Fred Wurtzel seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved. 

Old Business

Joe asked about the status of funding for Newsline.  Fred wrote a letter to the Commissioners after the last meeting regarding this issue, but Fred hadn't heard any updates on the topic.  Susan Turney explained that Pat would be joining the meeting and would be the person to answer the question.  Joe stated that there had been no financial information posted to the website since June.  Susan confirmed that everything she has been given to post to the website has been posted.  

Phyllis Magbanua asked about whether anyone had had any luck finding a veteran to serve on the CIC.  Wayne LePoirs has made a few phone calls trying to locate a vet and hasn't had any response, but he will continue working on it.  Marianne Dunn offered to try and locate a vet.  Fred stated that it should be someone from a veteran's organization rather than an individual vet.  

Susan reviewed the CIC Roster, made updates, and confirmed terms.  Susan shared that there are vacancies on the roster.  Positions on the CIC currently vacant are the Michigan Association of Centers for Independent Living (MACIL) representative, a current MCB client representative, and a representative from the Michigan Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired.  There are two positions that are designated in the bylaws for parent representatives - one from the National Federation of the Blind Parents Division and one from the Michigan Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired.  Susan asked to clarify if Marianne was the NFB parent representative.  Marianne stated that she's affiliated with several organizations but would like to be an independent parent representative.  It was decided that the bylaws would have to be changed in order to include an independent parent representative.  Fred suggested that the organizations would need to appoint their representative.  Fred suggested that Marianne serve as an ex-officio member.  Joe made a motion to have Marianne act as an ex-officio member. Fred seconded the motion.  The motion passed.  Marianne thanked everyone for that vote and suggested the bylaws should be changed.  Susan volunteered to contact Joe Sibley to find out who they wanted as their MCBVI representative.  [Correction to the minutes by Susan Turney: The current bylaws call for a parent representatives from the National Federation of the Blind Parents Division and a parent representative from the Michigan Association of Parents of the Visually Impaired, which is not affiliated with MCBVI.  Susan will contact MPVI.]

Susan also gave an MCB update from items in the December 2011 MCB Report.  MCB completed the client internship program this September.  A number of clients from that program are now employed full time. Several of them were hired by the people they were interning for including the Department of Community Health.  There was a mini adjustment program in Gaylord October 9-14 with 20 MCB consumers participating.  There was also an employment readiness seminar on October 13 that had a good response.  A number of MCB staff attended the Michigan Rehabilitation Conference this past fall.  A number of staff also attended the MCBVI and NFB Michigan state conventions.  MCB had a number of summer youth programs during 2011 with a total of 115 participants.  The Braille and Talking Book Library reported circulation statistics of about 18,000 items in circulation for November.  They have an ever-increasing number of patrons using electronic formats and downloading the BARD books.  The training center renovations are coming along and staff are excited about the new improvements.  Susan stated that she does not believe staff have started moving back in yet but that it was originally scheduled to begin later this month.  There have been a few construction issues.  Marianne stated that she spoke with Christine Boone recently, and Christine felt that things were progressing nicely and that the next Commission meeting would be able to be held there in March. The new BTBL brochure has been distributed to MCB offices.  It is on the MCB website in multiple formats, and it is available in alternative formats upon request. 

Fred expressed his gratitude for the information shared about the BTBL.  He asked if it was possible to have statistical information about the library listed on our website.  Susan stated that there are regular reports on that information contained in the patron newsletter titled In Focus, which is online.  She said she could post a link to the In Focus newsletters in the MCB documents and Reports section.    

New Business

Joe made a motion that information relevant to the state plan including financials, intakes, and closures be sent to the CIC members in their preferred format.  Fred seconded the motion for discussion purposes.  Fred wanted to clarify with Joe that he meant that all the information that was sent to the board members also be sent to all of the CIC members.  Joe agreed that Fred's understanding was correct.  Cheryl Wade asked Susan if there was some kind of deterrent keeping the information from being available. Susan asked for clarification regarding what information they were referring to. Cheryl clarified that she was talking about the state plan.  Joe stated he was referring to all the intakes, all the closures, all the financials, everything that the MCB board approved as part of the director's objective for this year.  Susan stated that she hadn't seen the commission board packet, and therefore couldn't state that all of the commission board packet documents could be posted to the website.  Discussion ensued to clarify what information was being discussed.  Susan stated that the commission board packet is not currently posted on the website.  Joe amended his motion adding that he wants the information posted to the website as well as the listserv.  Fred seconded the original motion and is favor of sharing information far and wide.  Fred called for a vote.  The motion passed.  Joe made another motion to require the director and MCB to follow the effective communications requirements of the ADA including timely delivery of information related to all activities of the commission board.  Phyllis stated that if a person were to call in and request the information, it would be made available.  Joe argued that this wasn't the case. Fred seconded the motion.  Cheryl felt that the members needed to differentiate what kind of things are allowable for members to know and what conflicts with confidentiality requirements.  She said she felt  strongly that the boundaries should be clearly identified and said that it may be more of a communication issue than a procedural issue.  Fred stated that the motion doesn't include the sharing of any confidential information. Fred also felt that there was a lot of commentary that was included in the motion that was off the point but he would like to think that the basis of the motion is something he would support.  Phyllis asked Pat Cannon to comment on the motion.  Pat asked for clarification since he had just joined the meeting in the middle of the discussion.  Joe stated that he had moved that all public information related to MCB meetings be routinely sent to members of the public in their most effective modes of communication.  Pat commented regarding Joe's statement about sending everything to the public and pointed out that we don't have email addresses for every person and asked if he was talking about posting on websites.  Pat stated that we are increasing the amount of information that we post to our website and adding additional information, and that we do send out information upon request with the exception of draft minutes.  We do not routinely send out or distribute draft minutes.  In checking with the LARA director's office, they too believe that it's not appropriate to distribute draft minutes until they are approved as final minutes, and then they are broadly distributed.  Joe stated that it went against the Open Meetings Act.  Pat explained that the Attorney General's office disagreed with Joe's opinions on the issue.  Pat stated that the draft minutes are completed within eight days and available for inspection as required by the Open Meetings Act.  They are not required to be posted, distributed or otherwise sent to lists and so forth.  Joe restated that he felt draft minutes should be posted.  Pat advised him that the Deputy Director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs says no, we are not going to send out or post draft minutes.  Joe stated that Pat was standing in defiance to the law, to which Pat replied "not at all."  Phyllis restated what Pat had said previously, that a lot of the information has been posted on the website, which is easily accessible, and that whenever she had called the office for various things she hasn't had any problem getting the information she has requested, with few exceptions.  Fred proposed a motion about finding out what the facts are regarding this topic by seeking advice from an open meetings law specialist with the AG's office. Pat said that the facts are not in dispute - under the open meetings act, draft minutes are to be completed and available for inspection within eight working days following the meeting.  There's another threshold for finalized minutes.  Joe asked about the accessibility of the printed draft minutes.  Fred stated that he felt if one document is appropriate to be published then all documents should be published.  Pat explained that Tom Quasarano of the AG's office said that there is a difference between draft proposed minutes and final approved minutes.  Joe refuted Pat's statement as untrue and said he would pull out the tapes to prove it.  Fred addressed the chairperson to point out that the discussion had pulled the meeting off track.  Fred reiterated that the motion on the floor was to make documents available upon request and for them to be posted to the commission's webpage.  The motion was called and passed.  Fred made a motion that the CIC write a letter to the Attorney General who deals with the Open Meeting laws and ask if there's any kind of restriction on posting or publicizing draft meeting minutes.  The motion was called and passed.  Fred stated that if there's a dispute about a certain document, then he will seek something in writing from the Attorney General's office that helps us to understand the appropriateness of posting whatever document it is.  Fred then asked for the meeting to move forward.  Phyllis agreed to move the meeting forward.  Cheryl asked if the CIC had ever looked into a mediation process to iron out these issues. Joe responded by saying that there are a lot of entities but that they don't listen.  


Sarah Norwood brought up the issue of transportation in Detroit again.  Joe moved to have the ADA coordinator and department of transportation director invited to the next meeting. Fred suggested that the commission board should be the one to address the issue.  Wayne seconded the motion.  The motion was voted on and passed.  Joe moved that the chair of the CIC send a letter to the commissioners to address this issue.  Fred explained there wasn't a motion needed and that Phyllis could just write the letter.  

Mary Davis asked what the best way is to access services from MCB.  She has heard people complain that they've had a hard time receiving services from MCB.  Fred stated that this issue has been addressed at nearly every CIC meeting for the past five years.  Fred feels that there is a lack of concern from the MCB administration concerning this issue.  Marianne commented that her children's counselors have been very good about responding to phone calls and she has never experienced such difficulties.  She asked Pat to comment on the issue.  Pat responded by stating that he is very concerned about this issue.  Pat suggested that when members hear of these types of situations they can feel free to give them his name and number and call him directly and provided his contact information.  Fred stated that he could explain the discrepancies in the services Marianne had received versus the experience of other consumers.  He stated that he knew who Marianne's children's counselor is, and that the counselor was very responsive and responsible about the way they do their business.  He stated that this counselor, among others in the agency, is exemplary.  However, there's no emphasis to make sure a similar standard is upheld by other counselors.  He felt that there were difference response rates in different areas of the state.  Jim stated that when he was an employee of MCB his supervisor would require them to return calls before they left the office.  He feels that if someone calls on a Tuesday, they should receive a call back by Wednesday morning.  Cheryl stated that she has heard that some MSU students have been having a hard time receiving reimbursements for their classes and that the disability office at MSU has stated that they would advocate on behalf of these students.  The issue of customer satisfaction surveys was raised.  Pat stated that the most recent survey was conducted by MSU and that Bob Robertson could address the CIC at the next meeting about the survey.  Fred asked if the results of the survey would be posted.  Pat said he was unsure of the timeline but would look into it.  Marianne asked if the survey was the one that Bob had developed related to training.  Pat said no, that the survey she referred to was for staff.  The survey Pat was referring to was a customer satisfaction and needs assessment survey.  Joe moved that the CIC recommend to the board that they explore a mystery shopper program like the one that was conducted by MRS in the past.  The motion was seconded.  The motion was called and passed.  Mary asked if there were any opportunity to learn Braille locally.  She was informed about Hadley School for the Blind.  A comment was also made that depending on a person's status - whether the person is an IL client or VR client - a consumer can receive Braille training from the Association for the Blind in Grand Rapids or someone can come to your home and do instruction in your home.  It can be included in the consumers IPE.  Cheryl asked Pat Cannon if there are any opportunities for peer counseling through MCB.  For instance, a person could be paired with another person who needs to learn Braille.  Pat stated that there could be, but that it is not currently formally done.  There are MCB offices statewide that work with local support groups, and usually those groups are the ones who coordinate such things.  MCB also had rehab teachers who can provide Braille instruction in various parts of the state.  In addition to our training center there's also Visually Handicapped Services in Detroit and local centers in Grand Rapids and maybe Flint.  Sarah commented that she has heard people complain about the Braille program offered in Detroit, that they don't get enough time in their classes - they no longer have the three-month training program that they once had, and that it's hard to learn Braille in five weeks.  

Joe brought up the issue of subminimum wage waivers.  He stated that the NFB and ACB along with 80 other organizations representing people with disabilities are opposed to the subminimum wage waivers of programs like New Horizons or Peckham or Goodwill or the ARC.  Joe made a motion that since all of the organizations oppose subminimum wage and promote section 504 and all its applications that we recommend to the board that they direct the director not to contract with any of these services.  Fred seconded the motion.  Marianne shared with the members that there is currently a bill being discussed in the House of Representatives, 3086, which is intended to do away with subminimum wage clauses.  She encouraged members to disseminate the information and contact their representatives to support that bill.  Susan mentioned that information on the bill is in the December MCB Report, which is online on the MCB website. The motion was called but several people abstained due to lack of information on the topic.  Joe restated that the CIC recommend to the board that they demand from the director that we do not contract for services with any agency that offers subminimum wage and does not follow section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  Joe stated that it's really a simply motion.  Cheryl commented that there are lots of blind people who have other disabilities and are very limited as to what they can do.  By voting for this bill to pass they would be essentially taking away opportunities from people who would not otherwise have them.  Fred felt that there's no way to rationalize the subminimum wage waivers.  He shared that NFB has worked with sheltered workshops for blind people all across the country to get everyone up to minimum wage and has been successful in doing so.  He stated that it's been shown that when you pay minimum wage you increase the number of people who can be served and improve the productivity of those facilities because you get equipment in there that helps people be productive.  He feels the subminimum wage idea is an archaic concept that is a civil rights issue and cannot be supported factually.  Cheryl wanted to go on record saying that as a rehabilitation counselor in training she does support competitive wages and withdrew her discussion.  Joe stated that one of the commissioners shared that her daughter has not received Braille or talking technology at a Peckham program.  He stated that the Passport program has refused accommodations to make those programs accessible to the blind.  Cheryl stated that Peckham does have an embosser and she has seen the documents they have produced.  Joe responded by letting Cheryl know that there will be a lawsuit pending because people were refused accommodations on the job and that was at noncompetitive wages.  The motion was called again and passed.  

Fred shared that the NFB passed a resolution at their fall convention regarding the fact that Gwen McNeal sits on the board of New Horizons.  NFB considers this to be inappropriate since she has signed an agreement with New Horizons to contract with them and she oversees people who send people there.  It's NFBs opinion that that constitutes an inappropriate relationship. After the resolution was passed, NFB received a letter from the attorney of New Horizons threatening NFB to withdraw their resolution.  Fred stated that it's inappropriate for the attorney from New Horizons to be attacking the NFB.  He's not asking for any action from the council but wants to make everyone aware of what's going on.  

Public Comment

Terry Eagle commented on the transportation issue.  Raymond Roberson (313-581-0888) is a person that attends transportation meetings and may be a resource to discuss what they're working on in regards to transportation issues.  He also commented on the lack of response from emails from commission staff.  He wants to recommend that people who do not perform their duties be subjected to sub-minimum wage.  

Schedule of upcoming meetings

Fred suggested that the July meeting be held toward the end of the month due to conventions being held.  The remaining 2012 meetings will be April 12, July 19, and October 11, followed by a meeting on January 24, 2013. 

Marianne asked how the information discussed today will be communicated to the board.  Pat stated it will be sent via email from the central office.  Phyllis plans to be at the commission meeting in March, but Pat isn't certain that there will be a spot on the agenda for her at that time.  He pointed out that it's the chairperson's decision regarding what goes on the agenda.  

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