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FLORIDA REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR THE BLIND
PUBLIC FORUM


Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale
1100 SE 17th Street
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
February 6, 2018, 4:30 – 6:30

Chairman Robert Kelly called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. (ET) with the Pledge of Allegiance and opening comments.

Council Members Present:
Robert Kelly, Bruce Miles, Louise Peyton, Mikey Wiseman, Paul Edwards, Denise Valkema, Nicole Attong, Paul Kurtz, Howard Bell Robert Doyle

Council Members Absent:
Lenora Marten

Council Staff:
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff:
Bridget Giles, Michele Levy, Carolyn Eleby, Samantha Kelly, Linda Hernandez, Ana Saint Fort

Michelle Levy, DBS District Administrator Broward County presented a report on program services, outstanding leadership of staff and the partnership with organizations within the community.  A complete copy of the report is available upon request.

Samantha Kelly, Director of Programs with the Lighthouse of Broward presented a report. A complete copy of the report is available upon request.

Paul Strobis, Broward County Paratransit Manger presented a report.

Chairman Robert Kelly welcomed everyone to the forum.  He defined the job of the council and its function. Chairman Kelly asked for introductions from people on the phone and the audience.

Twenty Consumers Commented

First consumer chose not to speak.

Second consumer asked to speak with DBS after the meeting.

Third consumer asked about the transportation pilot program.

Fourth consumer stated her frustration with the amount of time that it took for her to receive her CCTV from DBS. Chairman Kelly stated that someone would follow up with her. Paul suggested contacting Learning Ally.

Fifth consumer asked about programs available for people with behavioral health challenges. Robert Kelly stated that the Conklin Center offered services in addition to blindness. Nicole suggested reaching out to Broward Coalition.

Sixth consumer asked if DBS could provide suits since he is opening up his own business. He expressed his appreciation for his IPAD.  Paul stated to get with his counselor to find out what the rules are when opening your own business.

Seventh consumer asked about a letter received after filing a complaint regarding TOPS transportation. Mr. Strobis stated that every complaint was addressed. Mr. Strobis stated he would follow up after the meeting.

Eighth consumer expressed concern about the unemployment rate in the state and the challenges facing clients with getting a job. Mikey stated to look beyond the numbers.

Ninth consumer stated that respect was key.

Robert Kelly took questions from attendees who were pressed for time due to transportation.

Tenth consumer expressed concern that she did not receive follow-up from DBS.
She is concerned that her employer is not satisfied with the pace she is progressing.

Eleventh consumer stated he received training from the Lighthouse. He stated he could not find a job. Chairman Kelly encouraged him to continue searching.

Twelve consumer asked about the TOPS program.

Thirteenth consumer thanked DBS and the Lighthouse for providing services for his wife.

Fourteenth consumer expressed frustration about not getting a job.  Paul suggested looking at Career Connect. Louise Peyton suggested getting in touch with Client Assistance Program.

Fifteenth consumer was not available for comment due to transportation.

Sixteenth consumer was not available for comment due to transportation.

First speaker on phone commented that she was not notified that her exception for full time students was being cancelled.  She stated that DBS was not visiting their clients in Brevard County.  Robert Doyle stated DBS would follow up.

Chairman Kelly thanked everyone for attending the forum.

The meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.