[tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

  • From: ROBIN.MCDOUGALL@xxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 19:56:34 +0000 (UTC)

Hi Folks

I don't get a chance to be on e mail very often, just every few days. I've just
had the chance to read the e mails that have arrived in the past 24 hours or

Norine, I respect your decision to remain in a role of supportive counseling to
blind people, particularly those at the Lighthouse. There is always a risk of
liability when serving on a Board, and your decision reduced that risk.

I understand fundraising is not the mission of the Lighthouse. However, the
State does not provide all of the funding necessary for the delivery of
services to the Blind, and fundraising is a key component to longevity in the
not for profit world. Another function a board provides is long term planning.
The article I attached cautions against taking a board arbitrating personnel
issues and recommends it serve only as a court of appeal in the rarest of
circumstances. If there are good policies and procedures and grievance
protocols, hiring, developing and releasing staff is left to the director.
Rarely, about one or two times a year, I do read about directors who embezzle
(mentioned by Robert in a query to me). I joined this thread because I
understood you to be debating the role of a board in governing an agency. I
don't believe there has been any accusation of embezzlement, so I am puzzled by
that question.

Robert made a statement that the services provided by the Lighthouse used to be
provided without the non profit agencies and were provided better is
interesting. If that's a scenario that can be documented, maybe that's a model
that could be adopted. How were services delivered at that time? Were they
still funded by the State? Were the funds available then more or less what is
available now? I asked that because I wonder what happened when there wasn't
enough money for the blind folks who needed services.What do you feel would be
a better model for delivering services? When I worked at the We Care Network,
we filled a gap where services were disorganized and rarely effectively
delivered to our clients. Without our agency, thousands of people would not
have received services at all.

At our agency, our director did not need to know about being ill or uninsured
to run a good organization. She needed to know how to provide administration,
represent our organization to the larger community, fund raise, work with
contracts, hire and fire people, maintain the physical plant, and negotiate
with vendors. It was important that she hire good staff. It sounds like you are
saying the Lighthouse here in Tallahassee is not staffed well and that the
people who work there are not qualified. Does that mean, the people who are
delivering the services to the blind community are not trained and qualified to
provide those services?

When I was at the We Care Network, we served visually impaired people who could
not access the medical care they needed. In private practice, I provide
counseling to a number of individuals who are visually impaired, although their
blindness is often only one of the issues with which they are dealing.

Lynda, you stated what the Lighthouse needs is a Director with good
administrative skills and a knowledge of blindness. To me, that is one of the
most sensible things I have read in this thread. I believe one of the earlier
emails indicates the position was advertised for only one week. Actually, it
was advertised for a full month, from July 24th through August 24th. That's a
very good thing; it means a wide variety of candidates have had a chance to

Robert asked if Barbara and I are friends. Yes, we are both friends and
colleagues. I did not and will not be applying for the job. I believe I
explained I am a psychotherapist in private practice. In fact, I agreed with
you that it makes sense for the position to be widely listed in some of the
forums you mentioned. In my earlier e mail, I suggested you might approach the
Board at the Lighthouse about re-advertising the position in case likely
candidates were overlooked.

I am not writing in defense of Barbara. I saw the subject line in this set of e
mails, and it caught my interest. The statement: "What is the Lighthouse of the
Big Bend trying to hide" is inflammatory, and I was curious about WHAT they ARE
trying to hide. But, when I read the string of e mails, I realized the
conversation seems to indicate a lack of understanding about the boundaries
1. a board and an agency
2. a board and the staff
3. the director and the staff and
4. the boundaries between any employee and the community at large.

I am writing in hopes that, with my experience, I can help the group better
understand the functions and boundaries of each of these components. I joined
the list serve yesterday because someone I know in the blind community was
talking about it in a private dialogue. That person was concerned about the
inflammatory nature of the comments what sort of impact that could have on
services to the blind community as a whole. Our state government continues to
cut funding for human services of all kinds, and education and health are
greatly affected. I hope you will consider how you can best support the
organization which delivers services to make it the very best one we can have,
strong and diverse and long lived, with or without state funding.

Thanks all, for listening. I hope the attached article is useful.


Attachment: Responsibilities of a NonProfit Board.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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