January 30, 2003 – Schuler

To: Janet Schuler / Facility Development Committee


From: John Gordon, Chairman ICBV

Date:January 30, 2003

Subject: facility development issues


After receiving your agenda I had many thoughts that I wanted to share. Mr. Jim Kesteloot at Chicago Lighthouse for the blind has extended an opportunity to the BEPB by offering us their cafeteria and vending. Ace Coffee Bar currently has this contract and they are subsidized by the Lighthouse somewhere between $3,000 and $4,000 per month.


My first concern would be to not embarrass ourselves in any way if we do indeed pursue this opportunity. I would also like to make it very clear that I agree with Mr. Drake in that if we do procure this account we should use it as a showcase. I know there is differing opinions on whether or not this should be a BEP facility or training site so let me give you some reasons on why it could be both.


1.Bid this facility out as a facility used for training,


2.It would be understood that the successful bidder would work in a training partnership with the agency,


3.The successful bidder would be paid from profits and Lighthouse subsidies with an additional nominal fee being paid to him / her from training dollars,


4.It would be very questionable if this facility was to be a total training facility operated by the BEPB in a time where there is a hiring freeze and we already don’t have the training staff needed to accomplish both downstate training and computer training that is badly needed.


5.I am afraid there would be a conflict of interest if the Lighthouse paid a subsidy to the agency with the knowledge that the agency pumps tremendous monies back into the Lighthouse on an annual basis. This would be what some people would consider “News Worthy” if they ever got their hands on it,


6.Although some of you may feel that there is not an incentive for a vendor to work hard when subsidies are being paid. I would remind you that prior to 1993 we had many facilities in this program that were subsidized and vendors did a good job at operating them and ,


7.Although I think that we would need to screen people properly, my feelings are that we could accomplish the ultimate objective of both the BEP and the ICBV that being procuring a self-employment opportunity to a blind person.


Thank you,


John Gordon