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

  • From: "Nancy Folsom" <nfolsom@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 11:26:22 -0400

Hello All,
I know from personal knowledge that the Lighthouse of the Big Bend actually
pays their supervisors to check every note that is sent to the Division of
Blind Services. Often times the Specialists are told what to write, and to cut
parts out of notes such as the following, “xxxx was given some kitchen utensils
which were not part of Lighthouse inventory”. This indicates that the
Specialist donated items to the client and paid out of their own pocket. I
know of at least once where the Specialist was told to cut such a statement out
of notes. During my time at Division of Blind Services, none of the
Supervisors went over every note sent by the Counselors or Technicians. I’d
say this is an example of micromanagement to the max, and a waste of tax payers
money, since about 10 hours per week or more is spent on these activities at
the Lighthouse. Another waste of tax payer money is a person who insures that
all documents that should be in a file are accounted for. Often, that person
is responsible for editing notes for Specialists who only have a High School
education and so cannot write correctly.

I applied for, and went for a second interview for several positions at the
Lighthouse. However, each time I was told that a person with more experience
was chosen for the position. Each time I was denied a position, I later found
out the the person that was chosen over me did not have more qualifications and
experience. I found out that they only had a high school education and no
college education at all. Furthermore, they had very little or no experience
working with blind and visually impaired individuals compared to my over 10
years of experience working in the blindness field. I also learned after one
of my interviews that the Executive Director made a remark like “I guess we are
unanimous that we don’t want to have something like her here”.

An example of services provided by one of the Specialist with no education is.
One day the dishwasher needed to be started. The Specialist who had perfect
vision, did not read the directions on packaging for the detergent tablets, and
put one in without removing the paper. I also understand from someone in the
community that this same Specialist noted gas fumes in someone’s home but did
not take steps to assist the individual in evacuating, remarking that she
didn’t think it was unsafe. Our tax dollars at work!!!

I really feel that the hiring practices in general at the Lighthouse should be
another change that needs to take place.
-----Original Message-----
From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Owen Mccaul
Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 7:47 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

While I agree that a 'seperation of powers' between co-directors would be
desirable, I don't see the local Lighthouse doing that anytime soon.
That would, after all, require paying 2 salaries between $50,000 and
$70,000 per year. The Lighthouse, like many state agencies, is always trying to
do 'more with less,' not recognizing that the usual result is that you really
end up doing less with less.

I strongly suspect that you won't see significant changes at the Lighthouse
until you see significant changes on the Board of the Lighthouse. I applied for
a position on the Board a few years ago, thinking that my experience as a
member of the Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and the
Blind, and my experience as vice-chair of that Board, made me a good candidate.
After being interviewed, my application was rejected because they said that
they were looking for someone who could assist with fundraising efforts. I have
always suspected that the real reason was that Ms. Ross feared I would be too
confrontational. Perhaps now that Ms. Ross will be leaving the picture it would
be possible for the Lighthouse's Board to get some 'new blood.' I have far too
much on my plate to apply again anytime soon but perhaps someone else in the
local community (Chip?) could step up and try to make changes from within.

-----Original Message-----
From: Erica <ericamccaul@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tue, Sep 1, 2015 12:27 am
Subject: [tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

What Lynda suggests-- hiring 2 differently qualified but compatible
co-directors-- is exactly what C.I.T.E.-- the predecessor of Orlando's
Lighthouse-- did. This arrangement allows the proper caliber of services to be
provided, but in a scope that will be fiscally sustainable long-term.


-----Original Message-----
From: lynda jones &lt;lyndajones2414@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx&gt;
To: tabi &lt;tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx&gt;
Sent: Mon, Aug 31, 2015 9:53 pm
Subject: [tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide


I agree with much of what you have written. I too am puzzled as to why they
would close a job posting for an Executive Director in one week. Let me put a
bit of a different perspective to the situation.

I do know why Barbara resigned. It wasn’t her management skills that forced
a resignation; it is her lack of people skills as well as her lack of knowledge
of quality blindness services. For more than three years the Lighthouse Board
of Directors has ignored evidence that Barbara was mistreating some of her
staff. They were told several times by several people and chose to ignore the
evidence and stand behind Barbara. Recently, they were forced into

Executive Directors of many businesses are often managers rather than
experts on the service part of the business. It would be wonderful, if there is
someone who knows both sides of the picture—blindness and management. But you
can’t run a business without the management skills.

As I read the job announcement, I noticed that the Board is again giving
total power to a single individual. This new Director will oversee every aspect
of the Lighthouse. It is quite possible that they could hire someone else like
Barbara and again ignore all red flags.

It is my belief that the only way to avoid repeating the problem is to hire
two individuals with both of them answering directly to the Board. One person
would manage the business and fundraising part of the Lighthouse. The other
person, qualified in blindness services, would hire staff and manage client


From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Robert Miller
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2015 6:21 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

Apparently around August 17th Barbar Ross director of the Lighthouse
of the big bend resigned with no announcement or reason given to the blind
community it services. To add more insult to injury the job announcement has
already been posted and closed on August 24th. As far as we can tell the job
announcement wasn’t posted on any blindness organization web sites. I have
posted a copy of the job discription below, which to me is very disturbing
since blind or visually impaired is not mentioned once. In the discription
where disability is mentioned they are prefered and not requirements. From the
discription it is very apparent that the board is looking for a money maker not
someone who gives a damn about blind people or there needs. It is pretty scary
to have a director responsibal for the hiring and directing of employees that
has no idea what to look for in who they hire. Since The lighthouse of the Big
Bend is a FAASBY member, I am afraid this is the case with many other member
agencies and this is exactly why the state of Florida is doing a major
disservice to it’s blind citizans.

I urge all of you to contact the board and express your dismay and demand
that they re-write there job discription and repost the job announcement in
places that might give them a chance to find an aplicant that is qualified to
adequately provide quality services for our community.



The Lighthouse of the Big Bend, a local nonprofit in the Tallahassee area is
seeking an Executive Director. This salaried position will pay between $50,000
- $70,000 annually, depending upon experience, and comes with excellent
benefits such as annual, sick and holiday paid leave, health insurance, life
insurance, and retirement benefits.

The Executive Director shall be directed by the Board to include but not be
limited to the following:
a) To coordinate between the Board and staff respecting all business of
the nonprofit agency.
b) To administer and report on all fiscal matters as directed by the Board.
c) To monitor and report on trends respecting the mission of the nonprofit
agency and assist the Board in setting appropriate priorities.
d) To prepare and submit to the Board an annual operating budget for their
e) To develop fund raising activities locally, statewide and nationally
for the proper operation of the nonprofit agency.
f) To maintain a written personnel manual.
g) To recruit, employ and terminate, as may be necessary, the employees of
the nonprofit agency.
h) To coordinate the services of the nonprofit agency with other programs.
i) To provide leadership and promote professional growth by participation
on committees and in training conferences which are pertinent to the mission
and operation of the nonprofit agency, with the prior approval of the Board.

Duties of the Executive Director
• Supports operations and administration of Board by advising and informing
Board members, interfacing between Board and staff and supporting Boards
evaluation of Executive Director, upholding and adhering to the policies and
bylaws of the organization, entering into contracts on behalf of the
organization with the Board of Directors approval.
• Facilitates the development and implementation of the organization’s
strategic plan in collaboration with the Board of Directors.
• Oversees the effective design, marketing, promotion, delivery and quality
of programs, products and services through the recruitment and supervision of
the management team.
• Oversees creation and implementation of annual operational plan and
continuous quality improvement plan.
• Recommends yearly budget for Board approval and prudently manages
organization’s resources within those budget guidelines according to current
laws and regulations. Ensure timely and accurate reporting and invoicing on
all contracts and grants.
• Effectively manages the human resources of the organization according to
authorized personnel policies and procedures that fully conform to current laws
and regulations.
• Oversees fundraising planning and implementation, including identifying
resource requirements, researching funding sources, establishing strategies to
approach funders, submitting proposals and administrating fundraising records
and documentation.
• Assures the organization and its mission, programs, products and services
are consistently presented in strong, positive image to the general public,
media, other organizations and relevant stakeholders.
• Performs other duties as assigned.

Executive Director Requirements
• Preferred education level: Master’s Degree with emphasis in management,
social work, human service, psychology, education, or a related field;
• Minimum ten (10) years of management experience preferably in the field of
• Minimum five (5) years experience in social services, preferably with
children/adults with disabilities;
• Proven supervisory and leadership skills;
• Adept at budgeting and strategic planning;
• Knowledge of grant writing experience;
• Skilled in exercising sound judgement and possesses good analytical skills;
• Capable of working with a variety of diverse and multi-cultural
personalities and leadership styles;
• Excellent oral and written communication skills;
• Clear Level 2 background check.

To apply for this position, please submit a cover letter and resume to the
Board President at boardpresident1@xxxxxxxxx by August 24, 2015.
Thank you.

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