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

  • From: "Robert Miller" <robertmiller2201@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2015 12:47:41 -0400

Hi Nancy,

Your experience is truly disturbing and as pointed out by Owen and Linda the fault is the board of directors for allowing this to happen. I know of at least 3 visually impaired past board members who tryed to bring the current issues and some others dealing with the boards current grievance process to their attention and basically get no where because the board is a yes board to the director, they are all friends and value that above what there responsibilities are. The current board doesn't even follow there own guide lines for selecting there members or honoring the term limits that a member can serve or hold office. Unfortunately DBS has decided to put all there eggs in one basket, mainly the FAASB basket so this is what we get from the state.

I urge all of you who have posted to this issue to please send your messages to the president of the Lighthouse board. His email is boardpresident1@xxxxxxxxx If he his truly dedicated to the cause of the lighthouse he will consider our concerns as valid and start the process for change and the betterment of services in the 7 counties they serve.


-----Original Message----- From: Nancy Folsom
Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2015 11:26 AM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Re: What is the lighthouse of the big bend trying to hide

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 accountability.

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 services.


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 approval.
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 disabilities;
• 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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