Thoughts from Keith and Ramona

JODY,
(PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL TO ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS)

AFTER MUCH THOUGHT I HAVE DECIDED TO SHARE SOME THOUGHTS WITH THE COUNCIL WHICH MAY LEAD TO MY TERMINATION, BUT MY CONSCIENCE DEMANDS MY HONESTY. UPON RETURNING HOME FROM A FOURTEEN HR DAY ON WEDNESDAY WITH AN EMPTY FEELING, I BEGAN TO REFLECT ON MY THIRTY YEARS OF MEETINGS WITH THE STATE, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE TABLE RESPECTIVELY, TRYING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IT IS CLEAR TO ME THAT THE STATE USES FED MONEY TO HAVE MEETINGS, FLY UNDER THE RADAR, BUT ONLY CARES ABOUT THE MR/DD AND THE BLIND POPULATIONS BECAUSE OF THERE WELL DEVELOPED POLITICAL POWER. WHEN WE MEET, WE SEEM TO SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT WE ARE DISORGANIZED BY THE WAY WE ARGUE AMONG OURSELVES AT PUBLIC MEETINGS, WHICH SEEMS TO PLAY INTO THE DSU'S HIDDEN AGENDA OF DIVIDING AND CONQUERING OPPOSITION OF PROVIDING PARITY AMONG THE ENTIRE DISABILITY POPULATION. WITH NO REAL CHECKS AND BALANCES, AND CIL DIRECTOR'S BEING AFRAID TO PRESS ANY WRONG BUTTONS, WE ARE DEAD IN THE WATER.

WITH RESPECT TO TERESA'S QUESTIONS, I DISLIKE HER STYLE IMMENSELY, BUT SHE HAS A RIGHT TO PUSH FOR ANSWERS WHICH THE COUNCIL NEEDS TO HELP HER GET. THE COUNSEL NEEDS TO PRESS FOR ANSWERS, PERHAPS WITH THE HELP OF AN INDEPENDENT COUNSEL, AND SHE NEEDS TO ACCEPT THE OUTCOME AS BEING THE PRODUCT OF THE COUNCIL 'S BEST EFFORTS. THE COUNCIL WILL NEVER BE EFFECTIVE UNLESS IT PULLS TOGETHER AS A TEAM. MAYBE TERESA'S STYLE MIGHT BE MODIFIED IF WE TRY TO SEPARATE HER STYLE FROM THE SUBSTANTIVE REALITIES OF HER FRUSTRATIONS.

MIKE HEDDEN IS A TOTALLY NICE GUY, BUT AS LONG AS HE FOLLOWS INDIANA'S AGENDA, WHICH DOES NOT INVOLVE THE CIL MOVEMENT, WITH NO CHECKS AND BALANCES, HE HAS BEEN GIVEN THE STATUS OF A TIN GOD. A TIN GOD NEVER CHANGES WITHOUT WELL PLACED PRESSURE.

WITH RESPECT TO THE BYLAWS, IT SEEMS TO BE A TOTAL LACK OF RESPECT FOR THE TAX PAYER TO ADMIT, AND ARGUE OVER THE TEN DIFFERENT COPIES OF THE BYLAWS. THEY CERTAINLY HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW, BUT TO DEVOTE MORE TIME TO ARGUING, INSTEAD OF FIXING WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE DURING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE COUNSEL, IS A BIT RIDICULOUS.

IN CLOSING, I'D LIKE TO SAY THAT I HAVE THE UTMOST RESPECT FOR ALL THE COUNCIL MEMBERS, I WILL REMAIN LOYAL TO THE CIL MOVEMENT FOREVER, CONTINUE TO TRY TO BUILD A CENTER IN MY AREA, AND HOPE TO CONTINUE ON THE COUNCIL IF I DON'T HEAR OTHERWISE BEFORE THE NEXT MEETING. I AM JUST TIRED OF PLAYING GAMES WITH INDIANA. THANKS FOR LETTING ME AIRE SOME OF MY FRUSTRATIONS. HOPE THIS ISN'T MY SWAN SONG.........KEITH COROS


My Reply Saturday May 13th:

I like Keith's honesty with his letter, and I just have to say that if that letter is enough to lead to his termination as he suggests at the front of his letter then we are in much worse shape than I had thought.

I know that I've come into something that has a lot of negative history behind it. Keith is right we should not be working on bylaws, they should already have been in place...but the fact of the matter is the bylaws are not in place, and there are none of the checks and balances that I learned about in grade school in place either. But their needs to be.

Because council members should be able to feel free to express their opinions, their frustrations, and be able to vote with their conscience without being afraid of termination from the council or other reprocussions.

I am new to the council, but I am not new to the IL movement. I have been involved with it in one way shape or form all of my life. I know how important it is and the kinds of wonderful positive things the counsel could be involved in. We have the power to insure things get done in the state of Indiana and we CAN move forward in a positive direction...if we would work together and address any issues that still need to be addressed from the past and get past this bylaw issue. Whatever we do we need bylaws with checks and balances that will protect us from ourselves and be as fair as possible to everyone.

I liked the idea of having a two day meeting where on the first day everyone gets together and we all work on the bylaws - line by line if we have too. I think taking a day to go over the bylaws would be a good thing, and I think we should invite anyone who may be knowledgable about the bylaws (for example: that deaf lady in the audience at the last meeting who said she used to be on the bylaw committee. She seemed to be more knowledgeable then I). Then once we work out bylaws that have built in checks and balances and are compliant with anything that we need to be compliant with we need to agree not to modify them for at least a year so that we can spend our time on real issues.

The second day could be used to learn about other things we need to know...perhaps by bringing in people from other states that have been most successful to tell us what has worked for them, but whatever we do we got to find a way to move forward.

Whatever we do we have got to try and move forward. There are people in Indiana who really need us to get past this bylaw thing and any differences we may have. We really need to get our act together because we aren't talking about consumers we are talking about real people....people like me....and people like you. Right now we are pretty lucky, because most of us have jobs and we are able to go to council meetings once a month and make choices that impact people across the state.

But what happens tommorrow when our situations change....when we are no longer center directors or council members....what happens when we get older and it gets increasingly more difficult for us to do the things we take for granted now....are we going to look at our time on the council and think "Gosh, I wish I had done things differently so that maybe services were in place for me" or are we going to say "You know, it was a rough beginning, and I would not have thought it possible, but I am glad we were able to get past the bylaws and start moving the council in the right direction, because although in the short term it was hard, in the long run I think people like me in the state of Indiana really did benefit."

We need to put the past behind us without ignoring it and move forward. We cannot change the past, but we do have the power to make sure our mistakes are not repeated and the power to positively effect the future. But we have got to work together.

I am willing to commit to that and I hope you all are too, because there are people not just in Evansville, but across the state that really need us to start working together and doing the right thing.

I want to thank Keith for his honesty and say that I for one am willing to work with everyone to start doing things right.

Ramona


March 10th, 2007 update: Much has changed since we wrote these letters less then a year ago. Keith has decided to endorse the system he objected to for his own personal gain, and I fell victim of the very thing Keith feared when he wrote this letter.

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