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FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
PUBLIC FORUM

LEXINGTON HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER JACKSONVILLE RIVERWALK
1515 PRUDENTIAL DRIVE
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32207

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Meeting called to order at 5:00 PM.

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT: 9

Robert Kelly, Donte Mickens, Gloria Mills, Patricia Lipovsky, Mikey Wiseman, Jesus Garcia, Charles Brooks, Sandra Burke, Robert Doyle

COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE: 1

Lenora Marten

COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT:

Vicky Magliocchino, Ben Grezesik, Bruce Miles, Leanne Grillot, Sylvia Perez

COUNCIL STAFF: 1

Sharon Scurry

DBS STAFF: 14

Tom Austin, Wayne Jennings, Beth Crain, Bryan Michaels, Walter Blackmon, Robert Lewis, Madeline Davidson, Dan O’Connor, April Ogden, Ana Saint-Fort, Lynn Ritter, Mireya Hernandez, Nancy Brown, Tony Pileggi

ATTENDEES: 2

Paul Edwards, Howard Bell

10 Consumers were in attendance:

First and second Consumer comments:

  • What services are available at DBS?

DBS Response:

DBS staff member will meet with the prospective clients and explain the available services and how to access them.

Third Consumer comments:

  • Expressed concerns about not receiving a computer for test taking.

DBS Response:

DBS staff are working to properly review and resolve any concerns. The Client has been made aware of appropriate processes for addressing their request for additional equipment.
 
Fourth Consumer Comments:

  • People are looking for jobs on their own. Need help in taking assessment for positive employment. Partner with some of the facilities to help with getting employment. Currently, trying to get everything together so that I can go into the IRS program. As big of a city as Jacksonville, something could be done to help put people back to work.

DBS Response:

FRCB commented it is a concern of ours.  We are aware that there is not enough blind people employed.  Blind people have lots to offer in the employment world.  We need to provide outreach through the City of Jacksonville to other employers.  Some training that is design to highlight the potential. There is a great deal of work in that regard. I think it comes from the realization of that there is plenty of blind people who could and rather be working.

Fifth Consumer Comments:

  • No Comments.

Sixth Consumer Comments:

  • No comment – just wanted to sit in to see if there was something new.  DBS has done a lot for me and I am satisfied.

Seventh Consumer Comments:

  •  If you are newly blind, why does it take so long to get a response?
  •  If you have not received services in one year, why do you have to reapply?

DBS Response:

DBS has worked and consistently exceeds the allotted period of determining eligibility and getting signed plans.

Unfortunately, it is necessary for an individual to reapply for services after a period of inactivity. DBS is working on a process to expedite services to clients who have received services in the past.

Eighth Consumer Comments:

  • No comments.

Ninth Consumer Comments:

  • If a person has a braille note that needs servicing, why does it take so long to get it repaired?
  • A suggestion was made to consider having a backup to help with the repairing of equipment.
  • Concerns expressed about the capacity of a single contractor providing services to the entire state for rehabilitation engineering services.

DBS Response

If an individual is employed and needs his equipment repaired to maintain employment, the Division of Blind Services can provide assistance assuming that the client meets eligibility requirements. In reference to the Rehabilitation Engineering Contract, DBS did a competitive procurement and Tampa Lighthouse won the bid for the contract to be a statewide provider for Rehab Engineering services. If there are capacity issues, and the contractor is unable to meet a need or is falling behind, we do have the option to go to another provider and ask them for services.

Tenth Consumer Comments:

  • Consumer would like to receive information in the mail regarding DBS services.

DBS Response:

DBS staff member will meet with the client and explain the available services.

No other consumers gave comments.

Robert Doyle

I would like to thank everyone for coming out this evening. We are committed to providing quality excellent services across the division. We have our team here from Jacksonville, as well as others from around the state. The DBS team provides good services and we find it to be a privilege to offer these services as a state agency. If you did not get your issue resolved, please get with one of our staff and we will take your information and follow-up. This is an opportunity for us to hear as well about challenges and figure out where we might improve in terms of processes and communication.  We strive for a 100 percent satisfaction, but we will not always get it in some areas, and we do have those gaps, and we would like to try to fill them.

Robert Kelly

Thank you for coming and for your input. This Public Forum is now adjourned.

Public Forum adjourned at 6:15 PM