Date originally adopted: April 27, 1996
Date current amendment: February 15, 2022
Date adopted: March 11, 2022
ARTICLE I: Purpose
The purpose of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind (SRCB) is to:
- Review, analyze, and advise Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) of its responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act;
- Partner with DSB in the development and review of the VR State Plan goals and priorities, the DSB Strategic Plan, reports, needs assessments, and program evaluation;
- Conduct a review and analysis of consumer satisfaction as it relates to the functions performed by DSB, the services delivered, and outcomes achieved;
- Prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor and the RSA Commissioner, and make the report available to the public;
- Coordinate with other councils, as specified by the Rehabilitation Act, including, the State Independent Living Council and Independent Living Centers;
- Advocate for people who are blind by making recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on issues related to the Department, other state agencies, or state laws which have a significant effect on the opportunities, services, or rights of blind persons;
- Advise and make recommendations to the Governor on the criteria and qualifications pertinent to the selection of the Director;
- Perform other functions consistent with the Rehabilitation Act, comparable to other functions performed by the SRCB, determined by the SRCB.
ARTICLE II: Membership Composition and Terms
Membership on the SRCB shall be in accordance with RCW 74.18.070, which follows:
- There is hereby created the rehabilitation council for the blind. The rehabilitation council shall consist of the minimum number of voting members to meet the requirements of the rehabilitation council required under the federal rehabilitation act of 1973 as now or hereafter amended. A majority of the voting members shall be blind persons. Rehabilitation councilmembers shall be residents of the state of Washington, and shall be appointed in accordance with the categories of membership specified in the federal rehabilitation act of 1973 as now or hereafter amended. The director of the department shall be an ex officio, nonvoting member.
- The governor shall appoint members of the rehabilitation council for terms of three years, except that the initial appointments shall be as follows: (a) Three members for terms of three years; (b) two members for terms of two years; and (c) other members for terms of one year. Vacancies in the membership of the rehabilitation council shall be filled by the governor for the remainder of the unexpired term.
- The governor may remove members of the rehabilitation council for cause.
- Congress mandates a formal mechanism for people with disabilities to have influence in shaping the Vocational Rehabilitation services they receive. The DSB State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind is that means of influence.
- Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor. To achieve a balanced membership, appointments are made considering geographic representation, gender, ethnicity and other unique characteristics. The SRCB is made up of 17 members. Individuals who are blind will constitute a majority of the Council.
The SRC for the Blind is made up of the following represented groups in order to best represent the unique, collective and diverse voices of individuals who are blind:
- A representative of a consumer organization of the blind;
- Current or former Recipients of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (2 members);
- Representatives of business, labor and industry (4 members);
- A representative of the State Workforce Investment Board;
- A representative of the Client Assistance Program (may be appointed to more than two terms);
- A representative of the Parent Information and Training Center;
- Current or former Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor -- non-voting member if currently employed by the Department;
- A representative of a Community Rehabilitation Program;
- A Director of a Tribal Vocational rehabilitation Program (may be appointed to more than two terms);
- A representative of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction;
- A representative of individuals who are blind who have difficulty representing themselves or are unable due to their disabilities to represent themselves;
- A representative of the Washington State Independent Living Council
- DSB Executive Director – non-voting member.
ARTICLE III: Committees and Committee Responsibilities
The following committees are standing committees of the Council. Additional standing committees or ad hoc work groups may be established as needed by the Executive Committee.
- Executive Committee
- Membership and Collaboration
- Customer Satisfaction
- Policy and Planning
The Executive Committee provides the overall leadership, vision, and guidance for the entire Council.
- Chairperson which shall be elected annually by the full Council.
- Vice-Chairperson elected annually.
- Chairs of all Standing Committees.
- Provide feedback regarding the performance of SRCB staff.
- Develop and negotiate a resource plan between the SRCB and DSB.
- Make decisions about the use of Council resources, including funds, staff time and general Council capacity.
- Develop and approve quarterly meeting agendas.
- Develop the SRCB’s mid-range and long-term goals by supporting strategic planning and work plan development.
- Ensure the SRCB meets federal and state mandates on time and within budget.
- Ensure that committee Chairs have access to information and support needed to advance the work of their committees.
- Submit an annual report to the Governor and RSA Commissioner by December 31 of each year.
- Write the SRCB portion (section 4.2c) of DSB’s State Plan.
Membership and Collaboration Committee
The Membership and Collaboration Committee recruits Council members and works to maintain a strong, active, and high-functioning Council.
- Develop and update recruitment materials.
- Ensure that all required positions of the Council are filled.
- Design and implement a recruitment plan for Council positions.
- Track Council member attendance.
- Assure Council practices advance an accessible Council culture.
- Assist members to identify support needed to fully participate in Council activities.
- Respond to sensitive member concerns and emerging issues.
- Coordinate new member orientation.
- Identify how members can develop and refine leadership skills and prepare for Council member opportunities.
Customer Satisfaction Committee
The Customer Satisfaction committee evaluates customer satisfaction and other factors related to the Department’s performance, and make suggestions for program improvement based on findings.
- Analyze Department performance data as compared to Rehabilitation Services Administration measures and other indicators of program effectiveness and efficiency.
- Request and review Fair Hearing information for trends or areas of concern.
- Sponsor opportunities for customer input, compile feedback and analyze over time to identify areas that indicate potential problems.
- Request additional data from DSB to assess whether issues that emerge are a one-time issue or a broader concern that may need to be addressed.
- Collaborate with DSB to document the results of customer needs assessment.
- Survey DSB customers to assess service satisfaction.
Policy and Planning Committee
Policy and Planning Committee members participate in activities related to DSB policies and practices, including process improvement efforts and work groups assembled to address state and federal program updates.
- Provide input to DSB’s internal policies and practices.
- Seek feedback from the Client Assistance Program related to proposed changes to internal policies and practices.
- Identify opportunities to engage in DSB internal workgroups.
- Provide input to DSB on policy changes affecting DSB customers, including proposed changes to the Rehabilitation Act, Revised Code of Washington and Washington Administrative Code.
- Support DSB’s State Plan forums and contribute to DSB priorities.
- Participate in RSA monitoring activities.
ARTICLE IV: Elections, Terms of Office, and Duties
Elections of SRCB officers will be held at the final meeting of each year. Any voting member of the SRCB may seek election as an officer of the SRCB.
Eligible members of the SRCB wishing to be elected to an officer position shall state their intention at the time elections are held. A member of the SRCB Executive Committee who is not seeking election to an office shall chair the election process, as appointed by the current SRCB Chairperson. Candidates shall have 2 minutes to state their reasons for seeking office. The chair of the election process shall ask three (3) times if any members wish to seek an officer position. Following the call for candidates, an election shall be held. If more than two (2) members are seeking election to the same position, a run-off vote shall first be held to narrow the field to two (2) candidates. The candidate receiving the majority of eligible votes shall prevail.
Officer terms last one calendar year. The offices of Chairperson and Vice Chair are limited to three one-year terms.
Council Chair Duties
- Preside at quarterly meetings of the Council.
- Preside at meetings of the Executive Committee.
- Oversee the appointment of members to committees.
- Assist Committee Chairs to understand the purpose of the committee and the responsibilities of the chair.
- Appoint a Council member to be liaison to other Councils, as needed.
- Attend committee meetings as needed as an ex-officio member.
- Act on issues requiring immediate attention which arise between meetings of the full Council and report actions taken at next full Council meeting.
- In partnership with the Executive Director and as authorized by the full SRCB, be a spokesperson for the Council.
Council Vice-chair Duties
- Preside at Council meetings in the absence of the Chair.
- Assist the Chair to carry out the other duties of the Chair as needed or requested.
Committee Chair Duties
- Facilitate the development of committee objectives and priorities.
- Facilitate completion of committee activities and responsibilities needed to meet objectives.
- Conduct committee meetings with support from Council staff.
- Provide reports to the Executive Committee regarding all meetings, activities and progress of the committee at each full Council meeting in achieving their SRCB responsibilities.
- Make presentations and/or motions to the full Council related to Committee work.
Council Member Duties
- Members will operate within state and federal laws and Council Bylaws.
- Council members may not make unilateral decisions or take action as a representative of the Council without the consent of the Council, Executive Committee, or Council Chair.
- Council members understand the mission of the Council and support the Council mission ahead of any personal opinions or beliefs.
- Council members will not accept or solicit anything of economic value as a gift, gratuity or favor if it could be reasonably expected that the gift, gratuity, or favor would influence the vote, action, or judgment of the Council member.
- Council members will direct questions or inquiries regarding DSB business or activities to the Executive Director or Council Chair.
- Details of Council actions taken in closed Executive Committee meetings will not be disclosed to others unless it is part of the public record.
- Council members will participate in at least one Standing Committee.
- Abide by the Code of Ethics as established by the Governor’s office;
- Attend all quarterly meetings of the SRCB. Should a member miss two (2) or more consecutive meeting, without cause or valid reason, the SRCB Chair, may upon consent of the Executive Committee, ask the Governor to terminate that member. Members should contact the SRCB Chair if they are to be absent from a Council meeting;
- Participation on at least one committee and attend all meetings thereof.
Council Staff Duties
- Council Staff act as a conduit of information to and from the Council and represents the Council to the public. The Executive Committee oversees and evaluates the position.
Termination of Member Appointment
- Any Council member’s appointment may be terminated at any time by the Governor.
ARTICLE V: CONFLICT OF INTEREST
No member of the Council may cast a vote on any matter that would provide direct financial benefit to the member or otherwise give the appearance of a conflict of interest.
ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS
Meetings, Quorum, and Voting
- The Council shall convene at least four meetings a year.
- A quorum for conducting Council meetings shall consist of a simple majority of the current voting membership.
- Council staff will record and maintain Minutes of all meetings. Minutes will be distributed to all Council members.
- The Chair will request formal approval of the Quarterly Meeting Minutes at the next Council meeting.
- Each voting member of the SRCB shall have one vote and must be present to cast his/her vote. Being present may be any alternative interactive participation such as conference call or other telecommunication device which has been arranged upon the member’s request.
- Meeting of the SRCB shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order.
Public Comment at Meetings
According to the Open Public Meetings Act (RCW 42.30.030), meetings of the Department of Services for the Blind State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind are open to the public. The time and place of Council meetings will be announced in advance and posted in the Register of Public Meetings. An opportunity for members of the public to make comments will be offered and made readily available during the Council meeting.
Council members may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses of attending Council meetings and performing Council duties following state laws and guidelines.
- Meetings are held in settings that adhere to accessibility standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- The Council is responsive to requests for reasonable accommodation from staff, Council members or the public.
- The Council staff works with Council members to identify and provide disability-related supports necessary to facilitate a member’s full participation.
ARTICLE VII: Amendments to the Bylaws
Amendments to the SRCB Bylaws may be recommended by any Council member or Standing Committee. Proposed changes must be presented to the Executive Committee at least two weeks prior to a quarterly meeting and will be included on the next quarterly Council meeting agenda. Adoptions of these amendments require approval by two-thirds of the voting members present at the Council meeting.
ARTICLE VIII: Conflict Resolution
In the event of conflict on the Council the Chair may extend debate so that everyone may be heard. If it appears that consensus cannot be reached in a timely manner, the Chair will end debate and call for a vote.