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July 14, 2005 – Adams

Date: July 14, 2005

To: Carol Adams, Secretary Department of Human Services

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

Subject: Murray Developmental Center

 

I am respectfully requesting your immediate action to assist in making our blind manager Mr. Dave Crawford at Murray Developmental Center financially whole. In approximately 2000 the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind (BEPB) “Mr. Paul Drake” program Administrator entered into negotiations with Murray Developmental Center . Under state law 2420 “Blind Persons Operating a Vending Facility Act” we attempted to insert our preference under the law in procuring a vending facility for a blind manager. Mr. Drake, in good faith, used approximately $30,000 in program money to purchase vending equipment for this property located in southern Illinois . In the middle of this process Murray Developmental Center “Ron Eversgerd” Business Administrator entered into a vending contract separate from the arrangement he had with us. Ron Eversgerd entered into an arrangement with Marion Pepsi Cola in which they would fully service the beverage vending machines and pay a commission back to Murray . BEPB Administrator Mr. Paul Drake would have never entered into a vending agreement with Murray Developmental Center had he known that the cold drink vending machines would be contracted out to a separate entity. Although we were invited to bid on the soft drink contract, Mr. Eversgerd fully understood that we could not be competitive against a bottler like Pepsi Cola.

 

Mr. John Danny Schroeder was the blind manager selected to operate this vending facility with the hope he would eventually receive the commission money paid by Pepsi Cola to Murray Developmental Center . After approximately one year of Mr. Schroeder operating this facility, while still receiving no monies in the way of commissions paid by Pepsi Cola to the Murray Developmental Center , he decided he had enough. Mr. Schroeder filed a grievance against the Department of Human Services for their failure to comply with state law 2420 and their failure to make him financially whole for vending revenue collected at this facility. Impartial Hearing Officer Mr. William Jordan ruled in favor of Mr. Schroeder and ordered Murray Developmental Center pay to him 50% of the commission collected from Pepsi Cola since the inception of the contract. As you know blind managers in the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind often switch accounts as new opportunities become available. Mr. Dave Crawford, a blind manager, was awarded the vending opportunity at Murray Developmental Center in February of 2004 and has had nothing but problems.

 

Ron Eversgerd motivated by his own vindictive feelings, seized the opportunity by becoming judge and jury over the new blind manager who was awarded this opportunity. His apparent loop hole in the law was the fact that he decided the judgment handed down previously did not apply to the new blind manager Mr. Dave Crawford. Yes, it is correct that Murray Developmental Center has once again, for the last seventeen months, impeded Mr. Crawford’s ability to reap the financial benefits afforded to him under the law. Over this time period Mr. Crawford should have received approximately $17,000.

 

I am requesting that you immediately take control of Mr. Ron Eversgerd and make the blind manager Mr. Dave Crawford financially whole. I am sure Mr. Eversgerd after the original judgment had his ego bruised. However, taking these types of negative actions against the disability community should not be his reprieve.

Mental Health Business Administrators should realize that their business is mental health an

d not operating retail businesses which are in direct competition with blind managers who are afforded this preference under the law. Mr. Eversgerd and other Mental Health Administrators seem to continually put your office in a situation that opens you to liability. I have enclosed a copy of the original judgment handed down in this case.

 

Cc. Governor Rob Blagojevich
Rob Kilbury, Director, Rehabilitation Services
Bettye Odem-Davis, Bureau of Blind Services, Bureau Chief
Paul Drake, BEPB Administrator
Dave Crawford, BEPB Manager
Robert Humphreys, Legal Council
Tom Cullen, Legislative Consultant