February 23, 2004 – Managers

From: John Gordon, Chairman and Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors


To: All licensed managers, replacement managers, and recent graduates

February 23, 2004

Subject: Corporate Sponsorship/Concessions Audit


Several weeks ago it was brought to my attention that business consultants were contacting various managers and requesting information pertaining to their cold drink sales that they have on state properties. Through my own inquiries I have found out there was a correspondence sent from the Governor’s office to DHS requesting this information. Mr. Seth Webb special projects coordinator for the Governor’s office referred to this as a concessions audit. I had placed several phone calls to Mr. Webb’s office to inquire to the action taken and had received no return calls. A similar request for information I believe came out about one week later requesting more detailed information on cold drink vending such as monthly sales, opportunity for expansion, and etc. I and my committee started to contact all managers and instructed them not to give any of this information away freely. However, their consultant has every right to come out to the facility and retrieve this information themselves. We also informed managers that they should contact the Governor’s office and voice their opposition to corporate sponsorship and leave blind vendors and their businesses alone. After the Governor’s office received hundreds of phone calls and found out there was the potential for media attention, I received a phone call from Mr. Webb. He informed me that I was over reacting and assured me that we would have a meeting immediately to discuss this matter. I stated to Mr. Webb that when myself and our managers are not given full disclosure on issues it only opens a wide door for speculation and assumptions. On February 19, 2004 at 9:30 am I attended a meeting at the Governor’s office with Vice Chairman Janet Schuler also at this meeting was Mr. Webb and Governor’s legal council Mr. Tom Londrigan. At this meeting Mr. Webb assured us that he was doing research on all state properties and was not intending to take anything away from blind managers. Much to the contrary he spoke about ways to possibly enhance monies to blind managers. We made it very clear that this corporate sponsorship initiative would not be successful without us and he agreed to keep us informed on new developments. We also discussed our administrative order that we have been negotiating back and forth on with our lobbyist Mr. Tom Cullen and Mr. Londrigan. While discussing this matter Mr. Londrigan seemed to tie our administrative order to the corporate sponsorship program. Through your phone calls and your support in this matter the Governor’s office must be sure that your are indeed a force to be reckoned with. I have been a manager for 20 years and an advocate for managers for many of those and I can truly say that I am reenergized and tremendously encouraged over what all of you, your family members, employees, and friends have displayed over the past couple of weeks. A grand thank you from me, the Illinois Committee, and from each of you who felt your employment was being threatened. You can stop calling the Governor’s office for now and I will keep you abreast of any new developments. For additional information please contact myself or your Constituency Group Leader.