[nfbmi-talk] Fw: FOIA Response to Your Email of April 25, 2014 on Wilson-Elster Info, Affirmative Action Plan & RSA Reports

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Wed Apr 30 21:09:21 UTC 2014


----- Original Message ----- 
From: joe harcz Comcast 
To: Haynes, Carla (LARA) 
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 5:08 PM
Subject: Re: FOIA Response to Your Email of April 25, 2014 on Wilson-Elster Info, Affirmative Action Plan & RSA Reports


You are building in an illegal surcharge under the ADA/504 to make your 911 report accessable to me.

Moreover I asked for your RSA 15 report in accessable format and still do. The request is made of and from BSBP nnot RSA.

Send it to me as submitted.

Moreover, BSBP has the bulk of its federal funds from RSA in excess of $10,000 and must apply Section 503 to itself.

The fact is that BSBP is a federally funded program which would not exist without the Rehab Act which you and the agency routinely violate.

Moreover, the "20 percent figure" constantly referenced herein is way lower than in the past and not supported by documentation.

Again I'm requesting the RSA 15 as submitted and it costs nothing, nada, nothing.

This will also be sent to several state representatives, my congressman and RSA.

It is long since time that you ffollow the very federal laws that fund you.

Sincerely,

Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Haynes, Carla (LARA) 
  To: joe harcz Comcast 
  Cc: Rodgers, Edward (LARA) ; Luzenski, Sue (LARA) ; Pemble, Mike (LARA) ; Belknap, Katie (LARA) 
  Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 4:48 PM
  Subject: FOIA Response to Your Email of April 25, 2014 on Wilson-Elster Info, Affirmative Action Plan & RSA Reports


  April 30, 2014

   

  Mr. Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.

  E-mail: joeharcz at comcast.net

  1365 E. Mt. Morris Rd.

  Mt. Morris, MI 48458

   

  Re:  FOIA Response to Request for Information on L. Wilson & L. Elster, Affirmative Action Plan and RSA Reports

   

  Dear Mr. Harcz, Jr.:

   

  Previously on March 11, 2014, you requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), information described in your email as:  "Regardless I'm requesting the federal funds expended for the hiring of Ms. Lindsey Wilson and Ms. Lauren Elster you have expended for their jobs sir and what V.R. tasks they do on behalf of V.R. of the blind in Michigan."  You do not ask for the salaries of Ms. Elster and Ms. Wilson.

   

  Please be advised that Ms. Wilson no longer is employed by the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP).  At the time of her employment she received $15.03 per hour only for the hours she worked.  She received no benefits.  Student Assistants are not full-time employees entitled to benefits.

   

  Presently Ms. Elster is currently earning $15.03 per hour for the hours she works.  She does not receive benefits.

   

  Previously, you requested information described as: "Moreover, I am requesting your (BSBPs/LARAs) affirmative action plan under Section 503 as required by the above referenced, legal and regulatory requirements."  

   

  Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, states, "Any contract in excess of $10,000 entered into by any Federal department or 

   

  FOIA Response - P.J. Harcz, Jr.

  April 30, 2014

  Page 2 of 3

   

   

   

   

  agency for the procurement of personal property and nonpersonal services for the United States shall contain a provision requiring that the party contracting with the United States shall take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals." 29 USC § 793 (1993). This section was incorrectly cited. It does not apply to the Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, as the Bureau is not a Federal department or agency.  Furthermore, it does not require an affirmative action plan.  Rather, it mandates that contracts for personal or nonpersonal property in excess of $10,000 entered into by Federal departments or agencies, which this Bureau is not, include a provision requiring the contractor to take affirmative action.  It does not require the installation of a Bureau sponsored affirmative action program, as the FOIA request suggests.

   

  You did not previously request our "affirmative action program".  BSBP has worked diligently to provide employment for members of the blind community.  Presently 20% of BSBP's employees are legally blind.  In summary, we previously did answer your questions on the student assistant and affirmative action plan, however, your April 25 (Friday), 2014, email sent at 10:28 PM is incorrect.  We did respond to your two requests as indicated above.

   

  You have requested information in your April 25, 2014, email which you describe as: "Moreover when it comes to the RSA 15 and 911 reports I did not ask for an out of date RSA web site but, rather for BSBP's submission in my most accessible format and in a timely manner, without surcharge in compliance with the ADA and 504."

   

  Please be advised that the RSA 911 report is a "text file" which contains only numbers.  This file is transmitted to RSA based on closures.  If you wish to have us to attempt to produce this file, we estimate the cost for this will be $104.70 (see attached invoice) to process this request.  This will require a deposit of $52.35 in advance of this project being completed.

   

  FOIA Response - P.J. Harcz, Jr.

  April 30, 2014

  Page 3 of 3

   

   

   

   

  Upon receipt of your deposit, we will transfer this data into a complete document.  Then we will send you a readable document.

   

  Please be advised that the RSA 15 is submitted to RSA in their format.  Once they approve the report, it will be placed on the RSA webpage.  Therefore, your request is granted and the information will be available on the RSA webpage.

   

  Please note that nothing within the federal American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA), as amended, or the state's FOIA (MCL 15.231 et seq.) requires a public body to process FOIA requests free of charge.  Further, while the ADA and Section 504 of the RA may mandate that, upon request, material be produced in an accessible format without charge, neither the ADA or Section 504 of the RA preclude a public body from charging costs under the state's FOIA. Thusly, please note that no labor fee charges have been, or will be, assessed to convert existing, nonexempt public records responsive to your requests into an accessible format to forward to you.

   

  Sincerely,

   

  Carla Miller Haynes, FOIA Coordinator

  Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

   

  Attachment:  Email Request for Information

   

  cc:     Edward F. Rodgers II

  Sue Luzenski

  Mike Pemble

  Katie Belknap



  DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS

  BUREAU OF SERVICES FOR BLIND PERSONS

  FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT INVOICE

   

   

  NAME AND ADDRESS OF REQUESTER:

  Mr. Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.

  E-mail: joeharcz at comcast.net

  1365 E. Mt. Morris Rd.

  Mt. Morris, MI 48458

   

  REQUEST RECEIVED:  March 11, 2014

  TYPE OF REQUEST:  Email

  REQUEST PARTIALLY DENIED:  Yes

  EXEMPT INFORMATION WITHHELD/REDACTED:  To be determined

  EXTENDED RESPONSE NOTICE ISSUED:  No

  REQUESTED INFORMATION WILL BE:  Emailed/Invoiced For Payment

  ACCOUNT CODE:  Index:     36200         PCA: 11343

   

  DLARA CONTACT:  Melvin Farmer, Central FOIA Coordinator

  (517) 373-0194, Ottawa Building, 4th Floor, 611 W. Ottawa, Lansing, MI  48909

   

  The FOIA provides that the department may charge a fee to comply with requests for public records.  The processing fee is composed of hourly wages and benefit costs of the lowest paid employee(s) capable of processing the request; the duplication of records at assessed costs per page; mailing costs; and other related special costs.  Prior to searching and copying requested records, the department may request full payment or 50% of the estimated costs exceeding $50.00 with the balance required before mailing the records.  Assessed costs are related to your request for:

   

  "Moreover when it comes to the RSA 15 and 911 reports I did not ask for an out of date RSA web site but, rather for BSBP's submission in my most accessible format and in a timely manner, without surcharge in compliance with the ADA and 504."

   

   

  INVOICE CALCULATIONS

   

  LABOR 

            Locating and Duplicating Cost:  

  Number of Hours:  1 hrs. x Hourly Rate (of the Departmental Analyst required to retrieve the report): $54.37 = Amount:  $54.37

            Examining and Extracting Cost:  

  Number of Hours: 1 hrs. x Hourly Rate (of the Departmental Analyst required to retrieve the report):  $50.33 = Amount: $50.33

  TOTAL LABOR:  $104.70

  POSTAGE (estimate):    To be determined based on the amount of information

  DUPLICATING:  Number of Pages (0) times Copying Rate of $0

  OTHER (overtime, audio tapes, discs, photos, security, etc.):       $0

   

  SUBTOTAL:  $104.70

  Less waived indigency fee under FOIA Act MCL 15.234 Section 4(1):  

   

  INVOICE TOTAL:          $104.70

   

  DEPOSIT*  $52.35

   

  TO BE PAID*:      $52.35

   

  Make check or money order payable to:  STATE OF MICHIGAN

  Remit to:               Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

  Office Services Mailroom

  7150 Harris Drive, PO Box 30015

  Lansing, MI  48909

   

  RETURN ORIGINAL COPY OF THIS INVOICE WITH YOUR PAYMENT

   

  *Please note that if a deposit is requested, the indicated amount is an estimate of the cost of complying with your request.  The actual cost may vary somewhat from this amount.

   



   

  From:          joe harcz Comcast <joeharcz at comcast.net>

  Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014 10:28 PM

  To:     Haynes, Carla (LARA)

  Cc:    Rodgers, Edward (LARA); Christyne.Cavataio at ed.gov; BRIAN 

  SABOURIN; Marlene Malloy MCRS Dir.; nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org; 

  MARK MCWILLIAMS MPAS; Elmer Cerano MPAS; MARK CODY; Joe 

  Sibley MCBVI Pres.; commissioner-hudson at outlook.com; 

  BSBPcommissioners

  Subject:      non responsive

   

  This is non-responsive.

   

  I requested the salaries of Ms. Elster and Ms. Wilson respectively. These were not forthcoming or answered.

   

  Moreover I requested the Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act affirmative action program which is federally required and not the ersatz, state rights, bogus affirmative action program.

   

  Moreover when it comes to the RSA 15 and 911 reports I did not ask for an out of date RSA web site but, rather for BSBP's submission in my most accessible format and in a timely manner, without surcharge in compliance with the ADA and 504.

   

  To wit send me these things once again without obfuscation or without invocation of state rights over federally prescribed  civil rights laws as 

  you've been notified of over and  over again.

   

  And send them to me as plain text attachments and/or Word attachments to my e-mail address.

   

  This isn't difficult for a federally funded organization supposedly for the blind by all the RSA millions is it?

   

   

  April 14, 2014

   

  Mr. Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.

  E-mail: joeharcz at comcast.net

  1365 E. Mt. Morris Rd.

  Mt. Morris, MI 48458

   

  Re:  FOIA Response to Request for Information on L. Wilson & L. Elster, Affirmative Action Plan and RSA Reports

   

  Dear Mr. Harcz, Jr.:

   

  This email is in response to your March 25, 2014, email request for information, received by this office on March 26, 2014, of which an extension was taken to April 11, 2014.  Please be advised that the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) is processing this request under the state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), MCL 15.231 et seq.

   

  You have requested information as described in your email which also is included below.

   

  "Regardless I'm requesting the federal funds expended for the hiring of Ms. Lindsay Wilson and Ms. Lauren Elster you have expended for their jobs sir and just what V.R. tasks they do on behalf of V.R. of the blind in Michigan.

   

  Moreover, I am requesting your (BSBps/LARAs) affirmative action plan under Section 503 as required by the above referenced, legal and 

  regulatory requirements.

   

  Also, I am requesting in accessible format and also to be posted forthwith to the BSBP web site all financial and other reports that are required to be sent to RSA. That includes in part all RSA 15 reports, all RSA (CSR 911) reports, and all reports relative to the implementation of the State Plan including all standards and indicators."

  FOIA Response - P.J. Harcz, Jr.

  April 14, 2014

  Page 2 of 2

   

   

  In regards to your request for information regarding Ms. Lindsay Wilson and Ms. Lauren Elster, your request is partially granted and partially denied.  As to the granted portion, the job specifications and pay range for the State of Michigan Student Assistant classification is available online at www.michigan.gov/mdcs, then Job Specifications/Pay, Student Assistant.  I have also attached a copy of the LARA General Policy, Student Assistant Program.  In regards to the denied portion of your request, under the FOIA, MCL 15.233, Section 3(5), does not require a public body to create a new record.  To the best of my knowledge, information or belief, we do not have documents in our possession responsive to your request.

   

  In regards to your request for information regarding "your (BSBps/LARAs) affirmative action plan under Section 503 as required by the above referenced, legal and regulatory requirements", your request is granted as to documents pertaining to this request.  I have attached the LARA General Policy, Equal Employment Opportunity.

   

  In regards to your request for "all financial and other reports that are required to be sent to RSA. That includes in part all RSA 15 reports, all RSA (CSR 911) reports, and all reports relative to the implementation of the State Plan including all standards and indicators", these reports are available on the web at www.rsa.ed.gov/, then select Michigan, then Reports and More RSA Programs (note that depending on which fiscal year you are searching for, the report may be either under Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (MLRA) or Michigan Commission for the Blind).

   

  Under the provisions of MCL 15.240, Section 10(1) of the state's FOIA, you may (1) submit a written appeal regarding the disclosure denial of any portion of your FOIA request to Steve Arwood, Director, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Michael Zimmer, Chief Deputy Director, P.O. Box 30004, Lansing, MI 48909. Your appeal must include the word "appeal" and identify the reason(s) for reversal of any disclosure denials; or (2) you may file an action in an appropriate court within 180 days after this notice. If you prevail in court action, the court may award you reasonable attorney fees, costs, and

   

  FOIA Response - P.J. Harcz, Jr.

  April 14, 2014

  Page 2 of 2

   

   

   

   

  disbursements. If the court finds the Department's actions to be arbitrary and capricious, the court shall award you, in addition to any actual or compensatory damages, punitive damages in the amount of $500.00.

   

  Sincerely,

   

  Carla Miller Haynes, FOIA Coordinator

  Bureau of Services for Blind Persons

   

  Attachment:  Email Request for Information

   

  cc:     Edward F. Rodgers II

       Sue Luzenski

       Mike Pemble

       Katie Belknap

   

   

  From: joe harcz Comcast [mailto:joeharcz at comcast.net]  

  Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:28 PM 

  To: Rodgers, Edward (LARA) 

  Cc: Elmer Cerano MPAS; MARK MCWILLIAMS MPAS; 

  Christyne.Cavataio at ed.gov 

  Subject: Fw: section 503 and more

   

      I've not recieved even a response to this request for information let alone 

  the information which is a violation of the ADA and Section 504 of 

  theRehabilitation Act in and of itself.


  Sincerely,


  Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.

  ----- Original Message ----- 

  From: joe harcz Comcast 

  To: Ed Rodgers BSBP Dir. 

  Cc: nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org ; Zimmer, Mike (LARA) ; Steve Arwood LARA 

  Dep ; 

  Christyne.Cavataio at ed.gov ; Marlene Malloy MCRS Dir. ; valarie Barnum 

  Yarger MISILC ; BRIAN SABOURIN ; Elmer Cerano MPAS ; MARK CODY 

  ; MARK MCWILLIAMS MPAS ; Sally Conway USDOJ 

  Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:44 PM

  Subject: section 503 and more

   

  March 11 2014 to Rodgers vis a vis Section 503 and More

   

  Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.

  1365 E. Mt. Morris Rd.

  Mt. Morris, MI 48458

  joeharcz at comcast.net

  810-516-5262

   

  To:

   

  Edward Rodgers,. LARA, Bureau of Services to Blind Persons (BSBP)

   

  Via e-mail..

   

  Sir,

   

  Let me point your attention to the following requirement for affirmative action in the hiring of people with disabilities under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended:  "From Title I (VR) regulations....individuals with disabilities.

   

  The State plan must assure that the State agency takes affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities covered under and on the same terms and conditions as stated in section 503 of the Act.

   

  (Authority: Section 101(a)(6)(B) of the Act; 29 U.S.C. 721(a)(6)(B))

  "

   

  Let me also note for the record that you and BSBP have not followed this in the hiring, of people who are blind or otherwise disabled in its own practices sir. To wit: you and your minions in LARA have hired dozens upon dozens of "student assistants" and others since you took over BSBP and not one. I repeat not one is a person with significant disabilities let alone others hired for various projects that are not V.R. related like those non-disabled, non-blind law clerks you've hired with federal V.R. funds to do Lord knows what?

   

  Regardless I'm requesting the federal funds expended for the hiring of Ms. Lindsay Wilson and Ms. Lauren Elster you have expended for their jobs sir and just what V.R. tasks they do on behalf of V.R. of the blind in Michigan.

   

  Moreover, I am requesting your (BSBps/LARAs) affirmative action plan under Section 503 as required by the above referenced, legal and 

  regulatory requirements.

   

  In short you sir are running a V.R. entity to employ the blind and you must have under Federal law (again citation above) the affirmative action requirements for doing so within your own entity.

   

  Furthermore I'm requesting this information in accessible format pursuant to obligations under Section 504, the ADA and other federal civil rights laws in my most accessible format and without surcharge, and without you continually abusing state law (FOIA) to exact a surcharge or illegally and in demonstrable discriminatory fashion otherwise, obfuscate obligations under the ruse of the FOIA. Sir, these documents and information requested are already required to be made public, for free and in accessible format to me and thee and the proverbial man behind the tree. I simply again request that all requested information is posted to LARA's/BSBP's web site and sent to me as either plain text/and/or Word attachments to my e-mail adress as you know.Or better all of the above..

   

   

   

  These are clearly federalism issues. But state laws or their abuse never trump federal law and most especially in federally funded programs for people with disabilities which wouldn't exist without the laws or the funding to begin with.

   

  You and the legal obfuscators and abusers within this state can obfuscate 

  and in Orwellian fashion abuse all you wish. But if you don't remit 

  accessible documents related to these activities there will be a legal 

  reckoning.

   

  Better to remit them now than to face Section 1983 actions including those against you personally for your documented civil rights abuses with knoledge and forethought don't you think?

   

  Also, I am requesting in accessable format and also to be posted forthwith to the BSBP web site all financial and other reports that are required to be sent to RSA. That includes in part all RSA 15 reports, all RSA (CSR 911) reports, and all reports relative to the implementation of the State Plan including all standards and indicators.

   

  Do it sir. Now, if not yesterday.

   

  Sincerely,

   

  Paul Joseph Harcz, Jr.

   

  Cc: RSA

  Cc: MCRS

  Cc: NFB MI

  Cc: several media

  Cc: State Rep. Pam Faris

  Cc: DSA J. Michael Zimmer, Steve Arwood

  Cc: Sharon Ellis, State of Michigan ADA Compliance Officer?

   

   


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