[nfbmi-talk] Fw: cannon evaluation w comments

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Thu Feb 9 09:32:14 CST 2012

Why isn't this on the MCB web site?

Commissioners moved that it should be so. Yet, it is not to this very date.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "joe harcz Comcast" <joeharcz at comcast.net>
To: <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2012 7:22 PM
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] cannon evaluation w comments

2011 Michigan Commission for the Blind Board

Performance Evaluation of Director

based on

Objectives and Competencies Approved December 2010

The Commissioners of the Michigan Commission for the Blind have evaluated 
the agency director and found that he is performing below expectations in 
almost every area.  Our overall average of ratings for objectives and 
competencies is 1.35.

This low rating continues a downward trend over the past 4 years.  In 2008, 
the director received a performance evaluation rating of 2.8.  In 2009, the 
rating was 2.55.  Last year, the rating was 2.1, and this year the trend has 

Order of commissioner comments is rotated randomly throughout document.


The commissioners’ average rating for the director’s objectives is 1.38, 
below expectations.

Objective 1:  The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) conducted its 
monitoring review of the Commission in 2009 and submitted its final report 
to MCB November 5, 2010.  The final RSA report included eight findings which 
require corrective actions by the agency and MCB staff will be working with 
RSA’s designated liaison on a regular basis to provide technical assistance 
in the development of these actions and monitor progress.  The agency 
director will provide monthly updates to commissioners on interactions with 
RSA and resulting compliance, beginning January 29, 2011 and post final 
corrective action plans on the website.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        The RSA report stated what actions of MCB were required.  There was 
no need to wait months for approval of a plan, in my opinion.

·        I believe there is not enough detail given to Commissioners on a 
monthly basis through email to evaluate that this progress has been made 
between RSA and the Commission staff.

·        Monthly emails give no information about efforts toward compliance.

Objective 2:  Develop a comprehensive board orientation packet and program 
that insures that a new board member understands their role clearly.

§                                            Solicit information from the 
board, consumers, staff, and administrators as to what elements should be 
included in a comprehensive board orientation packet-program by March, 2011.

§                                            Propose a comprehensive board 
orientation packet-program to the board for approval by the June 2011 

§                                            Implement the board orientation 
packet-program when ever a new board member is appointed to the board prior 
to their first board meeting.

§                                            Work with DELEG and DTMB to 
ensure that each new board member receives a state e-mail address for board 
correspondence only within 10 days of a commissioner being sworn in.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        I believe this has been done partially. Packets really do not 
explain clearly that the Board is a policy making Board and not an advisory 
Board.  The Attorney General’s Office has told the Board that we are a 
policy making Board under Public Act 260. The management team of the Agency 
perpetuates the notion to staff that we are merely advisory rather than 
policy making. I believe that email addresses were provided, but not within 
the ten day criteria.

·        There has been a year long struggle for Commissioners to get 
information.  It would be even worse for a new Commissioner.

·        There is no evidence that the director sought consumer input. 
Email accounts took 5 months to set up.

Objective 3:  Plan and conduct up to three in-service workshops for 
commissioners on subjects chosen by commissioners, such as the 
Randolph-Sheppard Act, the range of transition services provided to 
consumers and/or agency interactions and collaborations with senior 
organizations and agencies, Veterans organizations, etc. Presentations would 
be conducted by MCB staff and, in some instances, as appropriate, external 
partners may be utilized as warranted.  The workshops could be scheduled 
adjacent to commission meetings in March, June, September or December to 
help minimize costs

Commissioners’ average rating: 2


·   This has not been followed. An ignorant Board is an ineffective Board.

·   The workshops were done, but not as effectively as they

could have been.

Objective 4:  Work with DELEG to secure a facilitator to continue the work 
of the BEP/EOC Ad HOC Committee and facilitate the MCB Planning and Quality 
(PAQ) Team through September, 2011.  The facilitator will help plan and 
conduct six meetings of the Ad Hoc Committee and four PAQ Team Meetings, 
beginning in January, 2011.  Progress reports on the efforts of these two 
committees will be provided to commissioners quarterly.

Commissioners’ average rating: 2.33


·        These were met. I do not believe this was met as much with

the PAQ Committee as with other committees.

·        This Commissioner has not been involved, however, comments from 
involved Commissioners seem to indicate movement in this area.

Objective 5:  Continue the work of the agency’s committee to review and 
improve staff training, particularly training of new agency staff.  The 
committee also includes representation from the MCB Consumer Involvement 
Council (CIC), the Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired 
(MCBVI) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Michigan.  The 
committee’s works includes a focus on enhancing the understanding of 
blindness and issues facing blind persons, which is intended to assist staff 
in serving clients most effectively.  The progress on the committee’s 
recommendations will be reported to Commissioners quarterly, with its final 
report to Commissioners in December, 2011.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        Action in this area is too slow.  A major concern is Newsline, 
which can serve to greatly enhance access to current events and employment 

·        I believe that the internal committee on training staff has failed 
totally because of the attitudes and beliefs of those representing the 
Agency in these meetings. Individuals attend the meetings and agree on 
items, but make trouble later via email. They will not speak out in the 
meeting. Staff Training is one of our most crucial long term items to 

·        Director did not embrace consumer intent for this committee.  While 
survey produced may be helpful, much more work is needed.

Objective 6: Demonstrate strong commitment to performance appraisal and 
feedback through the development of goals and objectives and performance 
expectations; provide fair and objective performance evaluations; ensure 
timely submission of evaluations for subordinate staff and/or self 

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        The courts have shown that the director has made unfair decisions 
in firing staff.  Uneven services and unclear policies statewide show that 
performance expectations are not clearly communicated to staff.  Firing and 
subsequent rehiring of training center director has had a chilling effect on 
staff.  We were given no information on other areas of this objective before 

·        The continuous flow of complaints regarding phone calls, advocacy 
by CAP, and negative attitudes of staff members, particularly in the 
Southeast Michigan area is troubling.

·        Hiring and firing practices have been unequal in the last year. It 
is obvious that individuals are evaluated differently due to political 
affiliations.  Firing and subsequent rehiring of training center director 
has had a chilling effect on staff.  We were given no information on other 
areas of this objective before evaluation

Objective 7:  Provide positive direction in the implementation of EEO 
programs, such as EEO, Diversity, Discriminatory Harassment, and ADA, 
through training and monitoring, in order to ensure compliance with all 
federal and state civil rights statutes.  Also ensure that equitable 
practices are adhered to in the areas of selection, hiring, assignments, 
discipline, and training.  Demonstrate commitment to workplace safety 
through the establishment of safety policies, procedures, and safe working 
conditions.  Respond timely to reporting requirements for information on 
these practices.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        The disparity in services between the East and West sides of the 
state, misrepresenting the Law, Promulgated Rules, and other Civil rights 
violation by certain staff is intolerable.  The responsibility for such 
falls on the Director.

·        Training center director was unfairly fired.  Patterns of 
inequitable practices are evident.

·        The Director has totally failed in complying with ADA standards. 
Examples include: meeting rooms and accessibility of information in a timely 
manner and a lack of information being sent in the preferred medium of each 
client. There is a lack of equity in hiring, discipline, promoting, and 
firing and training of Agency staff. This is found in all aspects of the 
Agency, not selectively in one branch.


Commissioner’s average rating on 16 competencies = 1.31, below expectations

1.          ADAPTABILITY: Maintaining effectiveness when experiencing major 
changes in personal work tasks or the work environment; adjusting 
effectively to work within new work structures, processes, requirements, or 

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        The chaos in the BEP program and the misadventures surrounding the 
MCBTC are strong indicators of systemic problems.  The fact that they 
continue shows indifference at best and only personal malice can be 
considered worse.

·        When adversity occurs the director strikes out to look good and 
everyone else must take the blame.

·        There are major problems in BEP and with budgets, and with RSA 
monitoring and CAP, and no evidence of anything other than a wait and see 

2.          ALIGN PERFORMANCE FOR SUCCESS: Focusing and guiding others in 
accomplishing work objectives.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        The RSA report of 2009 clearly shows a lack of direction.  Waiting 
all year to move forward in a positive way means basically no change has 

·        I do not see the Director performing this task.

·        We have heard from staff that the simple issue of returning phone 
calls is an intractable problem.  Leadership is lacking, so others cannot 
follow and achieve work objectives.

3.          BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS: Identifying opportunities and taking 
action to build strategic relationships between one's area and other areas, 
teams, departments, units, or organizations to help achieve business goals.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.66


·        There are serious partnership issues with consumer groups, 
increasingly adversarial tone of the agency, lacking referrals to youth 
programs, catering issues ignored.  The director is not forming partnerships 
desired by the agency’s customers, blind consumers.

·        The Director works well in this area when the individuals involved 
have good, long term relationships. However, individuals who have criticism 
for the Agency or clients who are meant to be served by the Agency do not 
receive exemplary service. The Director does this well when it benefits him.

·        There has been a showing of skill in this area.  Perhaps a bit too 
much.  I believe the presence of a MCB manager on the board of an agency 
ordered severed from partnership with MCB by the RSA is impolitic and 

4.                BUILDING TRUST: Interacting with others in a way that 
gives them confidence in one's intentions and those of the organization.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·   The issue of trust in the State Agency for the Blind is questioned by 
many people. Actions of the Director affect all individuals concerned, from 
staff to clients.  The Director bullies his staff to make him look good and 
the staff not so good.  The trust in the Agency is at the lowest level since 
I have been around the Agency.  This is a close knit community.  Everyone 
knows that what happens in the Commission for the Blind affects all blind 
citizens of Michigan.

·   In every area that we can measure, trust is eroding.  Closed and 
cancelled meetings are a concern.  Illegal aspects of the college policy 
ended only through consumer pressure and board action.

·   The reversals of decisions on the appeal level and the rumor of an 
atmosphere of fear shows much need for improvement.

5.          COMMUNICATION: Clearly conveying and receiving information and 
ideas through a variety of media to individuals or groups in a manner that 
engages the audience, helps them understand and retain the message, and 
permits response and feedback from the listener.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        The Director presents well and has an excellent Public Relations 
person, but does not respond well to negative feedback.

·        The Director’s skill in discourse is impressive, but the endless 
complaints abut the same problems, clearly indicates there is little 
substance in his words.

·        The director suggests that consumers call him when they have a 
problem, but does not return calls.  Manager indicates that there is no 
solution to intractable phone call problems.  Leadership is needed here.

6.          CUSTOMER FOCUS: Making customers and their needs a primary focus 
of one's actions; developing and sustaining productive customer 

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        There have been successes, but those who succeed too often seem to 
succeed in spite of some counselors.  The letter from one customer calling 
MCB the “Michigan Commission Against the Blind” clearly shows a need for 

·        The correct words are spoken but there is no follow through.

·        The agency has reduced its goal for competitive case closures by 
15% since 2000.  The director has not embraced consumer input.

7.          DECISION MAKING: Identifying and understanding issues, problems, 
and opportunities; comparing data from different sources to draw 
conclusions; using effective approaches for choosing a course of action or 
developing appropriate solutions; taking action that is consistent with 
available facts, constraints, and probable consequences.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        Director did not provide examples of success in this area, and 
decisions we have seen indicate eroding trust between agency and consumers.

·        I believe the Director does this well to get by in a given 
situation but does not do well in situations where he is not comfortable. 
For example, the Director does not show competency in some skills of 

8.          DELEGATING RESPONSIBILITY: Allocating decision-making authority 
and/or task responsibility to appropriate others to maximize the 
organization's and individual's effectiveness.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        Delegation gives the director someone else to blame when lack of 
leadership is really the issue.

·        When there are constant complaints about a delegatee, it is 
incumbent upon the delegator to investigate and take corrective action when 

·        Authority is only given to staff if that authority will allow them 
to take the blame and the Director to appear faultless.  For example, many 
problems in the Business Enterprise Program over the last three to five 
years exhibit this trend.

9.          DEVELOPING A SUCCESSFUL TEAM: Using appropriate methods and 
flexible interpersonal style to help develop a cohesive team; facilitating 
the completion of team goals.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.66


·        As long as the team building goes his way.

·        The present teams seem to be operating efficiently.  The year end 
results of “real” customer successful closure is yet to be seen.

10.     FACILITATING CHANGE: Encouraging others to seek opportunities for 
different and innovative approaches to addressing problems and 
opportunities, facilitating the implementation and acceptance of change 
within the workplace.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        As long as the Director can take credit for the change, it is 
encouraged. An example of this is using stimulus money for internships. This 
was a good program. Another example involves two separate training 
committees for staff. One is internal and the other is the Ad Hoc committee 
through the Commission Board. Many times the staff will not supply input 
during meetings but will write up concerns in emails that question what the 
Committee is doing between meetings.  There is a lack of sincerity because 
of fear of intimidation from the Director. The Director may or may not like 
the direction of either training Committee.

·        As stated earlier, there seems to be no appreciable change as 
demanded by RSA.

·        The agency has more federal money to spend than ever before, yet we 
have reduced our goal for closing cases competitively.  Field manager 
remains on board of agency cited for questionable practices with regard to 
federal money spent.

11.     INNOVATION: Generating innovative solutions; trying different and 
novel ways to deal with work problems and opportunities.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.66


·        I believe that the Director does have a tendency to do these 

·        We had no new ideas to fund in RSA category of innovative 
practices.  Illegal firing and subsequent rehiring of training center 
director has had a chilling effect on new ideas in the agency.

12.     LEADING THROUGH VISION/VALUES: Keeping the organization's vision and 
values at the forefront of associate decision-making and action.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1


·        There does not appear to be a goal change, at least in the BEP 
program.  It is worsening.

·        Agency should be both consumer and public-oriented.  Instead the 
agency is staff-focused in its outlook.

·        The director does not present clear enough agency direction.  Many 
people perceive that skills of blindness should be provided by the agency so 
that blind individuals can become employed tax paying citizens. Currently, 
the agency gives just enough blindness skills to allow a person enough 
independence to collect Supplemental Security Income instead of being an 
employed tax paying citizen.

13.     PLANNING AND ORGANIZING WORK:  Establishing courses of action for 
self and staff to ensure that work is completed efficiently.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        The staff generally seems to do, what it does, well.  In some 
respects, it is quite impressive.  On the other hand, it is overwhelmingly 
clear that a course change is necessary.  This is obviously the 
responsibility of the director.

·        Many projects are started without much follow through and 
eventually the new project gets dropped altogether. This is extremely common 
in the BEP program.

·        Catering issue seems to have been dropped.  It is not clear that 
change in college policy has been adopted.  Field staff apply policies 
unevenly across the state, a leadership and training issue for all staff.

14.     STRATEGIC PLANNING: Obtaining information and identifying key issues 
and relationships relevant to achieving a long-range goal or vision; 
committing to a course of action to accomplish a long-range goal or vision 
after developing alternatives based on logical assumptions, facts, available 
resources, constraints, and organizational values.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.66


·        Strategic plan objectives 8 (pay equities), 11 (transition age 
youth), and 13 (Vision 2020) initiative have not been adequately addressed. 
Agency displays lack of enthusiasm to use 2020 listserv constructively. 
Agency is reactive rather than proactive in most areas.

·        Vision 2020 in principle has lofty goals.  I believe the right 
attitude on the part of customers, staff, stakeholders, can make a 
difference in societal attitudes, but there are miles to go within MCB.

·        Most if not all of the 2020 objectives regarding improving the 
operation of the agency were ignored.  Some of the ideas were brought up a 
second time and ignored again.  There are no long term goals for the agency.

15.     TECHNICAL/PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE/SKILL: Possessing, acquiring, and 
maintaining the technical/professional expertise required to do the job 
effectively and to create customer solutions.  Technical/professional 
expertise is demonstrated through problem solving, applying technical 
knowledge, and product and service management for the functional area in 
which one operates.

Commissioners’ average rating: 1.33


·        Director does not appear to have some of the basic skills of 
blindness that a leader of his position should have.  Director is not a role 
model with low or high tech.

·        The Director has impressed me with his general knowledge of rehab, 
however, he lacks a lot of technical knowledge.  I believe he could make a 
big difference, if he relied on the talented, gifted, dedicated, people with 
knowledge for guidance, rather than surround himself with those who will 
tell him what they think he wants to hear.

16.  VALUING DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: Actively appreciating and including the 
diverse capabilities, insights, and ideas of others and working effectively 
and respectfully with individuals and groups of diverse backgrounds, styles, 
abilities, and motivations.

Commissioners’ average rating:  1.33


·   Disrespectful attitude toward consumers is pervasive.  Uneven delivery 
of services statewide indicates inclusion is not practiced.  See objective 7 

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