[nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission

Larry D. Keeler lkeeler at comcast.net
Sat Feb 25 19:17:21 CST 2012


Aggreed!  At least, I've observed some commission board meetings, went to 
our state convention and talked with folks inside and outside of the 
commission.  Many of those who work for the commission are great folks! 
They try hard and they truely believe they're to help us blind folks!  The 
supervisors and director hoowever often have a different agenda.  A small 
example, about 10 years ago when the commission was going through changes, 
they hired at least one counsellor pretty much for cutting and closing 
cases.  She didn't stay long, but it was quite obvious.  My point really is 
that usually when something is being torn apart like the commission, the 
parts get absorbed by other agencies and don't work well anymore.  My fear 
is that we could lose most of the ground we have gained sence 1940.  That 
would be almost as bad as taking African-Americans back to the conditions of 
that time as well.  And noone would dream of doing that!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mary Ann Robinson" <brightsmile1953 at comcast.net>
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 7:19 PM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission


> Well said Larry, Dave, Fred W., Joe,
> and Elizabeth.
> I'd like to make three additional points:
> #1.  The decentralization of MCB was definitely not caused by the actions 
> of the NFB or the Commission Board.  It was caused by corrupt, 
> incompetent, discriminatory, and illegal activities and behavior of a few 
> individuals in key managereal positions within MCB over a long period of 
> time
> #2. As a result of these activities, many blind citizens in the state were 
> treated disgracefully and disrespectfully; and countless othersreceived no 
> services at worst or woefully inadequate services at best
> #3.  . A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.  Messages on this list 
> are a very small part of the total picture.  Often those who are not 
> involved and who don't know all the facts are the quickest to criticize, 
> place blame,   and to make inaccurate assumptions; and they themselves 
> have done nothing to contribute to a solution.
>
> Mary Ann Robinson
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Pauline Smith" <zim1993 at gmail.com>
> To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 6:11 PM
> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>
>
>> Good evening. Thank you very much for this very tall and understandable 
>> explanation of a chain of command, the roles and responsibility at each 
>> level and so forth. I am going to keep this message and if permitted pass 
>> it along on Monday to my co-worker and manager when I get near on actual 
>> computer. We are programmed that receives the grant from MCB so it will 
>> be interesting how all of this affect us. We'll keep our ears open.
>>
>> Pauline Smith sent you this voice-to-text generated email using Voice on 
>> the Go.
>> To listen, click on the voice message link or open the attachment.
>> http://vemail2.whitelabelapp.net:8080/enterprise/Recordings/PqNVTyTC-20120225-1801.wav
>>
>>
>>> Original Message:
>>> ---------------------------------
>>>
>>> From: Mark Smith <mark.smithyman60 at gmail.com>
>>> Sent: February 25, 2012 4:59:32 PM
>>> To: 'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List' <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
>>> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>>>
>>> Wonderful dialog Elizabeth thank you for the question,
>>>
>>> To start with every organization must have a clearly defined chain of
>>> command.  This would begin with the Governor and the executive branch 
>>> who
>>> ultimately set policy according to their political vent.  Next person in
>>> this over simplified chain is the agency director who is considered  the
>>> expert in the agencies scope of operation.  This has obviously not been 
>>> the
>>> case at MCB.  Finally the managers and supervisors provide feedback on 
>>> best
>>> practices along with administering the policies.  Agencies are not run 
>>> by
>>> boards, when I sit a board I do not have time or the necessary expertise 
>>> to
>>> make or set policy.  That is why the director typically has a master's
>>> degree in management, along with a cadre of people who back him or her 
>>> up,
>>> ho yea this is also where the six figure salary comes into play as well.
>>> The scope of the board may be to review the policies and practices of 
>>> the
>>> agency, if necessary to open a dialog with the director to gain
>>> clarification and report to the governor if things are too far out of
>>> balance.  However they do not have the authority to set policy in areas 
>>> that
>>> they have no education for, nor are they  paid enough for that job.
>>> This differs  from business in one very big respect.  A CEO in a
>>> company can be removed by a board of directors if they are unhappy with 
>>> his
>>> performance.  The only person who can remove an agency executive 
>>> director is
>>> the governor him or herself.  There again day to day operation and 
>>> policies
>>> are completely controlled by the CEO or executive director, not the 
>>> board of
>>> directors.
>>> Yes, the Governor appointed the director of DHS as the person who is
>>> in charge of setting policies for the new blindness agency.  He can 
>>> appoint
>>> someone to be a site supervisor just like Christine pointed out last 
>>> night.
>>> This person will  perhaps be from MCB's management pool.  This person 
>>> would
>>> be fitting because they are much more familiar with    current 
>>> operations of
>>> MCB.  The work that MCB does will and must continue, the doors are not
>>> closing nor is the work stopping.
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Mark
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org 
>>> [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>> On Behalf Of Elizabeth
>>> Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 3:03 PM
>>> To: NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List
>>> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>>>
>>> Hello Mark,
>>>
>>> In a previous email, I heard you say that if we are not providing 
>>> positive
>>> critically thought out solutions, then we are simply a part of the 
>>> problem.
>>> I am wondering, does this statement only apply to the rest of us, or 
>>> does it
>>>
>>> apply to you too?
>>>
>>> You are more than welcomed to disagree with me, but I believe one of the
>>> main problems within the Michigan Commission for the Blind is the 
>>> conflict
>>> over who is suppose to be responsible for setting and making  policy for 
>>> the
>>>
>>> agency. Unless I am mistaken, I do not see anywhere within the executive
>>> order where the Governor names any specific entity to make and set 
>>> policy
>>> for the Michigan Commission for the Blind. If this is the case, then how
>>> does this executive order solve the problem of who is suppose to be
>>> responsible for setting and making policy for the Michigan Commission 
>>> for
>>> the Blind? If the conflict of who is suppose to be responsible for 
>>> setting
>>> and making policy for the agency continues, then how are things ever 
>>> going
>>> to improve? Since it appears as though you have a dissenting opinion,
>>> perhaps you might be able to explain how this executive order actually
>>> solves the problem rather than making it worse.
>>>
>>> Respectfully,
>>> Elizabet
>>>
>>> --------------------------------------------------
>>> From: "Mark Smith" <mark.smithyman60 at gmail.com>
>>> Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:13 PM
>>> To: "'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List'" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
>>> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>>>
>>> > Hello Fred,
>>> > I am not gloating nor am I being smug, I apologize if this is how my
>>> > previous message came across.  I am seeing the forest for the trees,
>>> > calling
>>> > the cards as they have fallen.  Frankly as a advocate for persons with
>>> > disabilities and a person with a visual impairment myself it pains me
>>> > deeply
>>> > to see the mantel of authority for a esteemed agency be passed to a
>>> > department that is not solely vested to do the work for our community.
>>> > The
>>> > fact is that the group who is the most vocal in our state has not 
>>> > chosen
>>> > to
>>> > come to the table so to say like adults.
>>> > When someone who is not deeply vested or has immersed themselves in
>>> > Michigan blind  politics views the situation,  What they see is  a 
>>> > group
>>> > of
>>> > squabbling children. When an outside elected official views the 
>>> > situation
>>> > along with the  dialog from the consumer groups, finally mixing the 
>>> > recent
>>> > reports the facts do not mesh.  As with any good parent you fire the 
>>> > baby
>>> > sitter and hire a new one.  This is what is happening now.
>>> > The primary purpose of MCB is to empower persons who are blind or
>>> > have a visual impairment so that they can become taxpaying citizens.
>>> > Please
>>> > do not forget this fact,  do not cloak it in pretty words.  The old
>>> > analogy
>>> > is to, give a person a fish they eat for a day.  Teach a person to 
>>> > fish
>>> > and
>>> > they can eat for the rest of their life.  How many times do some 
>>> > people
>>> > need
>>> > to be re-taught to fish?  I had once heard a quote from  Einstein he 
>>> > said
>>> > that "to do the same experiment over and over, expecting a different
>>> > result
>>> > is insanity."  So things needed to be changed, with the lack of a
>>> > productive
>>> > plan our governor provided one.  I certainly do  not feel that this 
>>> > was a
>>> > proper course of action or positive development for our community.
>>> > However
>>> > I am capable of reading the table as it is set right now.
>>> > I choose to see this as an opportunity to make a break from the old
>>> > ways.  The castle building that you describe is always going to be in 
>>> > our
>>> > government, this will only change when the fundamental system is 
>>> > altered.
>>> > You are not keeping in mind though that the government is being shrunk 
>>> > and
>>> > only the strong nobles will remain standing after the hammer stops
>>> > swinging.
>>> > Consolidation and making the system as cost effective as possible is 
>>> > the
>>> > mantra today.  This move as I mentioned in my previous message is the 
>>> > most
>>> > logical for the government now.  The thought of your destruction of 
>>> > civil
>>> > liberties was never part of the decision process.  You are making it
>>> > personal when it is not so. Come to the table in the frame of mind to 
>>> > make
>>> > things work for the community, solidarity is the answer and the point 
>>> > of
>>> > power right now.
>>> > Mark
>>> > -----Original Message-----
>>> > From: nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org 
>>> > [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>> > On Behalf Of Fred Wurtzel
>>> > Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 11:52 AM
>>> > To: 'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List'
>>> > Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>>> >
>>> > Hello Mark,
>>> >
>>> > I do not know who you are.  You sure sound smug and a little gloating. 
>>> > I
>>> > guess we ought to expect this from people who do not understand the 
>>> > nature
>>> > of why there is an agency for the blind.  It is not simply a conduit 
>>> > to
>>> > spread federal money to self-interested bureaucrats for their
>>> > agrandizement
>>> > and empire building.  This money is to empower people who have little 
>>> > or
>>> > no
>>> > power.  It is exactly this lack of power that allows the faint
>>> > acknowledgement of people's goals for first-class citizenship to be so
>>> > casually disposed of.  This is 1 more insult and insult to blind 
>>> > people in
>>>
>>> > a
>>> > landscape of centuries of similar insults.  We have dignity and we 
>>> > will
>>> > not
>>> > accept this as our fate.  We have fought this fight before and we will
>>> > fight
>>> > it again.  We may suffer other setbacks, but we will not ever give up 
>>> > on
>>> > recognition of our right to first-class citizenship.
>>> >
>>> > Regards,
>>> >
>>> > Fred
>>> >
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > -----Original Message-----
>>> > From: nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org 
>>> > [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>> > On Behalf Of Mark Smith
>>> > Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 11:14 AM
>>> > To: 'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List'
>>> > Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>>> >
>>> > Hello Larry,
>>> > Both groups advocated this move by proxy.  If no one provides a
>>> > positive critically thought out solution, you are part of the problem. 
>>> > I
>>> > have more than 500 messages from this list from the past few months 
>>> > that
>>> > absolutely unequivocally call for the destruction of MCB in its 
>>> > current
>>> > incarnation.  I do not see one positive critically thought out 
>>> > solution.
>>> > I
>>> > see only the rare call by Christine boone providing a bit of well 
>>> > thought
>>> > out clarification or if necessary admonishment of a member in a gentle 
>>> > and
>>> > kind way.
>>> > Coming from the business world this move that the Governor is taking
>>> > appears to be a  solid one.  He is taking what appears publically to 
>>> > be
>>> > two
>>> > agencies that are not functioning in an efficient manor, moving them 
>>> > to
>>> > the
>>> > most logical place where they will leverage the assets of one another
>>> > along
>>> > with enhancing their own already established organizations.  In 
>>> > addition
>>> > the
>>> > removal of a program that has smelled of nepotism and insider trading 
>>> > is
>>> > being placed where it makes the most logical sense, the department who
>>> > handles the states ways and means.
>>> > Only a short sighted person would or could say that the MCB board is
>>> > NOT the most dysfunctional group that has ever existed.  One only has 
>>> > to
>>> > sit
>>> > in a meeting for about two minutes to realize that it is run by 
>>> > amateurs
>>> > and
>>> > attended by a group of circus clowns.  The lack of human dignity and
>>> > respect
>>> > alone calls for its destruction.  The most eloquent and efficient way 
>>> > to
>>> > do
>>> > this is to dismantle the entire organization.  Take what is working, 
>>> > give
>>> > it
>>> > to a different management team,, then eliminate the parts that are
>>> > disfunctioning , establish a new legally appointed board to satisfy 
>>> > the
>>> > law,
>>> > and move on.
>>> > So you got your wish, the change that you have been calling for is
>>> > here.  The bureaucrats in this state are currently hunkering under 
>>> > their
>>> > desks right now just wondering where the next hammer blow is going to 
>>> > come
>>> > from.  The word on the street is that no one has seen this many laws 
>>> > fly
>>> > through the legislature this fast  in a very long time.  Go lawyer up 
>>> > and
>>> > bring up a case.  Before it gets anywhere , you will see the law 
>>> > change.
>>> > The most interesting evidence for the promotion of that change  will 
>>> > be
>>> > your
>>> > own words and arguments that you have been lodging against MCB for oh
>>> > about
>>> > the last ten years or so.
>>> > The only question left is; is this going to be good for the blind
>>> > and persons with visual impairment community in our state?  This is a 
>>> > very
>>> > treacherous and mine field ridden question.  On one hand if it is 
>>> > business
>>> > as usual I think that it is going to be very bad for our community.  I
>>> > feel
>>> > that the credibility is in the toilet bowl and the voice is horse, 
>>> > people
>>> > are sick of hearing the bitching and griping without any real answers 
>>> > that
>>> > call for bringing the community together.  On the other hand it could 
>>> > be
>>> > something that rises like a phoenix from the fires of destruction 
>>> > welding
>>> > our community together in a positive way.  Power is in solidarity not 
>>> > in
>>> > division.  Stop the juvenile antics and come to the table like
>>> > professionals
>>> > with critically thought out questions and possible reasonable 
>>> > solutions,
>>> > ready to negotiate and give and take a little.  Sound a lot like what 
>>> > our
>>> > federal government should do as well. Lol Mark
>>> >
>>> > -----Original Message-----
>>> > From: nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org 
>>> > [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>> > On Behalf Of Larry D. Keeler
>>> > Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 8:01 AM
>>> > To: NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List
>>> > Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Decentralization of the Commission
>>> >
>>> > It is my oppinion that none of us from iether organization of blind
>>> > comsumers advocates this shocking move by our estemed Governor.  I 
>>> > didn't
>>> > nor will ever vote for him.  That aside, to my knowledge, NFB never
>>> > advocated the abolishment of the Commission.  We constantly called for
>>> > reform in order to serv its clients, blind folks the way it waas meant 
>>> > to.
>>> > I am stunned that this is happening!  I am not really sorry about its
>>> > director being out of a job but otherwise, I think this is appalling! 
>>> > How
>>> > can us blind folks fight for ourselves when our services will be 
>>> > devided
>>> > across the board?  If our Board of Commissioners is abolished, how can 
>>> > we
>>> > continue having a real say in how our tazx dollars get spent on 
>>> > blindness?
>>> > I also know many folks in the Commission who are decent folks and 
>>> > truely
>>> > want to better our lot.  Having dealt with DHS in a semiproffessional 
>>> > and
>>> > personal capacity, I truely don't have a clue how they plan to have 
>>> > access
>>> > to the services they are supposed to be providing.  And what of BEP? 
>>> > For
>>> > all its faults, it has provided many blind folks iether with a means 
>>> > to
>>> > make
>>> > a living or as a start to move up and really be able to contribute to 
>>> > the
>>> > tax pool.  Again, I want to make it clear that in my perception, us in 
>>> > NFB
>>> > never!! called for decentralization!!  I believe we will always fight
>>> > against coruption and abuse of the system whereever it occurs!  Dhis
>>> > decentralization is disastrous for all of us!
>>> > Intelligence is always claimed but rarely proven!
>>> > _______________________________________________
>>> > nfbmi-talk mailing list
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>>> >
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