November 9, 2004 – Odem-Davis

To: Deputy Director Bettye Odem-Davis

From: John Gordon, Chairman ICBV

Date: November 9, 2004

Subject: Proposed spending plan


I hope you have received my recent correspondence to Director Kilbury regarding the proposed changes in the BEPB spending plan. I have been quiet troubled the past several weeks while trying to understand how proposed spending plan cuts amounting to approximately 25 % of our annual budget could not adversely affect our managers. You have stated on several occasions that there is no new money on the federal side and we need to look at adjusting our spending. I completely understand when you say there is no additional money and you could have said this for the past 10 years because it has been that long since our money was increased. If in fact there is no additional money that is what you should tell us. However, by stating that we should hypothetically trim our spending over the next two years by approximately $500,000.00 says something quite contrary. What it tells me and the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors is that we have too much money designated to our program and it could be used better in other places. We have demonstrated quite clearly on many occasions what the economic impact of this program means to the state of Illinois . However, I wouldn’t think this would mean a whole lot to people inside the agency. We should be demonstrating this economic impact statement to legislators in the state of Illinois who would be much more concerned with this matter. As you can tell in my letter to Mr. Kilbury I am seeking the people responsible for these drastic measures leveled at our program.


On the subject of trimming spending and saving money please consider this. Currently the BEPB annual budget ranges from 2.1 million to 2.4 million dollars and Illinois general funds pay for staff which is approximately 1.1 million dollars per year. Please understand now that if someone outside the program and our agency were looking at this because they are in deed aware of the 1.1 million dollars that come out of general revenue, they would say that this program annually costs between 3.2 million and 3.5 million dollars per year. Quite possibly a way to rid the agency of this program once and for all would be to sit down and over the next 36 months make plans for a nominee agency. Although with that understand that your agency would probably loose that head count. However, just think of the cost savings you could demonstrate to our great Governor.


Mr. Bernie Wiseman notified me yesterday as a courtesy that he would be retiring as of the end of the current calendar year. You of all people understand that he has great responsibility as far as the fiscal disposition of our program. I and the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors also realize the importance that this position holds and we would like an answer on whether you will make sure this position is filled immediately or if this head count is removed causing one more nail in the coffin to the success of the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind. No blood has been shed so far over these matters but as you know we are always prepared for the battles in front of us. I would appreciate some answers to these questions and we appreciate your continued support.
Cc Rob Kilbury, Director

Chris Smith, Associate Director

Paul Drake, Assistant Bureau Chief

Pat Trueblood, ICBV liaison

Robert Humphreys, Legal Council

ICBV members