Michigan Commission for the Blind
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Board Organization – Authority, Structure and Policies
Section I: Definitions
1. ”MCB” means Michigan Commission for the Blind agency.
2. “Board” means the Board of Commissioners of the Michigan Commission for the Blind.
3. “Commissioners” means appointed members of the Board of Commissioners of the Michigan Commission for the Blind.
Section II: History and Purpose
Part A. Purpose
1. One purpose of this document is to summarize and clarify some, but not all, aspects of the function and role of the Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) Board of Commissioners (Board) as defined by Public Act 260 of 1978.
2. This document also informs appointed Commissioners and participants about standards governing the Board's authority and process in the orderly conduct of its policy making business.
Part B. History
The Board is the policy making board of the MCB agency. The Board was created as a result of P.A. 260 of 1978. In 1978, the MCB, under P.A. 260, was transferred from the Offices of Services to the Blind (OSB) under the Department of Social Services to the Michigan Department of Labor. As prescribed under law, all staff, equipment, responsibilities, duties, budgets and purposes of the OSB were transferred under P.A. 260. The intent of P.A. 260 was to create a strong and autonomous MCB governed by a Board of five members, three of which are to be blind or visually impaired meeting the definitions as prescribed in P.A. 260. Also taken into consideration were previous practices, the intent and analysis in the passing of P.A. 260, the Executive Order of 1965 dealing with Type 1 through Type 3 transfers within state departments, and other research in the establishment of policy.
Effective May 15, 1996, by Executive Order 1996-2, the MCB was moved as a Type II transfer with all the statutory authority, powers, duties, functions and responsibilities to the Family Independence Agency. Similarly, in 2003, the MCB was transferred to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth.
Section III. Commission Board and Authority
Part A: Authority Vested by P.A. 260:
1. P.A. 260 creates a five member Board of Commissioners, to establish authority, responsibility and accountability to the blind community.
2. Appointed Board members, hereafter referred to as Commissioners, are accountable and responsible to the Governor and to the citizenry of the State of Michigan.
3. The role and responsibility of the Board is to make policy for the operation of the MCB in its role of providing services to Michigan’s blind community.
4. The Board, in its policy making role, acts as an advocate for the blind community in the development, implementation and evaluation of the services that are provided by the MCB, including directing the MCB Director, but not in administrating directly.
5. The Board makes a recommendation as to who will serve as Director of the MCB from a list of eligible candidates submitted to the Board by the Department of Civil Service.
6. The Director of the department that houses the MCB may appoint or reject the person recommended for the position of MCB Director by the Board. If rejected, the Board shall repeat the process until a MCB Director is selected.
7. The Board and MCB work cooperatively with other State departments in specified areas.
8. The federal Randolph Sheppard Act places additional responsibility to the Board and the MCB for the overall management and accountability of the Business Enterprise Program (BEP).
9. The role of the MCB to the BEP is defined as participative management of the BEP through the Elected Operators Committee (EOC). Active participation is mandated under the Randolph Sheppard Act. The Board and the MCB require active participation of the EOC in the management of their organization, including analyzing problems, identifying root causes, evaluating solutions and helping to implement solutions within the limits of available resources.
10. The Board has the role and responsibility for the development of overall BEP policy and the creation of a positive environment in which the participative management process can take place.
11. The Board and the MCB encourage a cooperative, respectful and trustworthy working relationship on the part of the EOC as the management group of all operators of the BEP.
Section IV: Board Structure
Part A: Appointments
1. The Board is comprised of five members. Each Commissioner is appointed to a three year term by the Governor of the State of Michigan.
2. Commissioner appointments are staggered through a three year cycle so that no more than two Commissioners’ terms will expire at the same time.
3. The Governor appoints one of the five appointed Commissioners as Chairperson.
Part B: Vacancies
1. Should vacancies occur during the term of any one of the five Commissioners’ terms of service, an appointment of another Commissioner is made by the Governor to serve the remaining portion of the vacated Commissioner's term.
2. Commissioners appointed as a result of a vacancy by the Governor are eligible for reappointment to another three year term.
Part C: Membership and Committees
1. Not less than three members of the Board must be blind or visually impaired under the definitions as prescribed in P.A. 260.
2. The Board has no standing committees. Ad hoc committees are appointed on an as needed basis and are dissolved as projects are completed and reports made.
3. Commissioners can be appointed to MCB project committees or standing committees in their official capacity as a Board member.
4. At the first meeting of the Board in the fiscal year, the Chairperson appoints Commissioners to serve as liaisons to MCB committees.
Section V: Board Operations and Protocol
Part A: Officers and Meetings
1. The Chairperson is recognized as the Board spokesperson at all times. The Chairperson also represents the Board at all functions unless, in the Chairperson's absence, another Commissioner is asked by the Chairperson to represent the Board on his/her behalf.
2. All meetings of the Board and/or any special committees so appointed to act on behalf of the Board are subject to the Open Meetings Act of the State of Michigan of 1976.
3. Commissioners may participate at Board meetings in-person or by telephone.
4. A simple majority of participating Commissioners shall constitute a quorum. No official business can be transacted without a quorum present.
5. Times and locations for quarterly board meetings are set at the beginning of each fiscal year by the Chairperson and the Commission Board, with advice from the Director of the MCB. If a situation arises which requires prompt Board action which cannot wait until the next scheduled meeting, the Chairperson or any two of the five Commission Board members may call a special meeting for the purpose of such action.
6. At the first meeting of the Board of the fiscal year, or when the vice chair position is vacated, a vice chair person shall be selected by the Board to carry out all chair functions in the absence of the chair person.
7. Each Board meeting will be called to order and conducted by the Chairperson or the Vice Chairperson in his/her absence.
8. The Chairperson, or the Vice Chairperson in his/her absence, is responsible for maintaining order during meetings, including public comment, and conducting Board business according to Roberts Rules of Order.
9. Board meetings will be conducted in an efficient, effective and timely manner.
10. The Chairperson recognizes each presenter and on behalf of the Board expresses the Board's gratitude to the presenter for their presentation.
11. Debate will be allowed so that each Commissioner can express his/her opinion or question the presenter. The Chairperson may summarize or conclude discussion with relevant comments prior to conducting a voting poll of the other Commissioners. The Chairperson recognizes participants seeking the floor and calls for the votes of Commissioners in order to address issues and facilitate closure with a clear decision.
12. The Chairperson establishes the agenda for each Board meeting in coordination with the other Board members, also considering requests for Agenda items by the Director of the MCB. The Chairperson will notify the Director of the Agenda three weeks prior to the Commission Board meeting.
13. If Commissioners wish items to be placed on the Agenda, they shall communicate them to the Chairperson prior to the time and date that the Agenda is finalized. If the Director wishes items to be placed on the Agenda, he/she shall communicate them to the Chairperson prior to the time and date that the Agenda is finalized.
14. The agenda shall include scheduled time for public comment with a minimum of two per day.
15. Public comments can be made in-person or sent electronically and are to be limited to four minutes per comment as spoken or when read aloud.
16. All written and verbal comments shall be appropriate and respectful.
17. Commissioners shall listen to public comments but will not respond. However, the Chairperson or his/her designee may respond on behalf of the Board if public comment warrants clarification of issues raised. A board member may ask a question for clarification after seeking the floor from the Chairperson.
18. Minutes are recorded and distributed by a staff member designated by the Board under the Open Meetings Act of 1976 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended.
19. Minutes and other documents for consideration on the agenda shall be distributed to the Board in a format meeting the needs of each individual Commissioner according to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting. Prior to the meeting, if available, all agenda items will be supported by accessible documentation in advance so the Commissioners can be well informed and respond to issues as expeditiously as possible. Any item may be discussed at a Board Meeting whether or not prior documentation is available.
20. All matters of concern to Commissioners must be directed to the Chairperson of the Commission Board or, with the Chairperson’s approval, to others as appropriate. Any member of the Commission Board may include something on the agenda.
Part B: Voting
1. Each Commissioner is an eligible voting member of the Board.
2. The Chairperson may exercise his/her opportunity to vote without the requirement of a tie vote possible by the other four voting Commissioners.
3. The Chairperson casts the deciding vote when the votes of the other Commissioners are balanced in a tie. Any prevailing majority vote shall represent the Board’s decision in the recording of each vote.
Part C: Board Priorities
1. The Board is entrusted with the responsibilities under P.A. 260, for advocacy for the blind community;
2. Making recommendations to appoint the MCB director;
3. Evaluating the MCB Director;
4. Making policy recommendations for services to the blind;
5. Participating in the overall coordination and management of the BEP as specified under the Randolph Sheppard Act;
6. Recommending action on the MCB budget for operations and overall dispensing of services and equipment for the blind community as presented by the MCB Director;
7. Participating in and receiving evaluation reports for MCB programs; and
8. Obtaining information on current trends and improvements in overall services to the blind community of the State of Michigan.
Part D: Networking and Relationship
In order to accomplish the responsibilities as listed, it is necessary for the Board to respect the professionalism of all Commissioners in its debate and decision making process. The Board has the responsibility of developing and maintaining positive working relationships with other departments within the State of Michigan. Likewise, the MCB and the Board need to foster positive working relationships with other providers of services to the blind in order to maximize the amount of resources available in the provision of quality and effective services. Professionalism comes out of trust and respect for participants in meetings. While differences of debate and position can be noted, the overall intent of the Board and the MCB is to maintain a high standard of operations and reputation.
Section VI: Travel Expenses
Part A: Travel expenses may be authorized for Commissioners in travel status conducting official State business. The following are examples of official State business meetings for which travel expenses may be authorized:
1. Travel to and from regularly scheduled Board meetings.
2. Travel to and from meetings which Commissioners have been requested to attend by the Chairperson.
3. Travel to and from meetings which Commissioners have requested and been granted permission to attend.
Part B: Mileage reimbursement will be based on State approved rates.
Part C: No travel expenses shall be reimbursed unless prior authorization has been obtained for said member from the Chairperson or his/her designee.
Board.org: September 11, 1996
Revised: September 2004
Revised and approved: September 18, 2009
Revised and approved: September 16, 2011