1. Members of the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) are not knowledgeable about America’s Independent Living Program as required by law.
The Governor is required to appoint people to the SILC who represent a broad range of disabilities from diverse backgrounds who are knowledgeable about Centers for Independent Living and Independent Living services, a majority of whom cannot be employed by a Center for Independent Living (CIL) or the state.
2. SILC Council Members are not given the information they need to carry out their responsibilities.
Information and training are being withheld from Council Members in order to keep control in the hands of Michigan’s corrupt Centers for Independent Living, which do not meet consumer control requirements.
3. Michigan SILC Council Members and staff have no idea what the purpose of a SILC is.
Blue Water CIL Executive Director and CIL Liaison to the SILC Jim Whalen recently stated, “I can help the council, or find people who can, discover a purpose and start having the behaviors that it takes to make progress toward those purpose—including those that are required to under federal law”.
A SILC that does not know its purpose is clearly unable to carry out its responsibilities.
4. Michigan Centers for Independent Living (CILs) use the SILC as a piggy bank.
CIL representatives do not disclose conflicts of interest or recuse themselves from votes that directly benefit themselves financially.
5. Michigan’s Association of Centers for Independent Living (Disability Network/Michigan) engages in activities on behalf of the SILC without Council approval.
At no time has support for the formal partnership between Michigan CILs, vocational rehabilitation, and sheltered workshops been discussed during any open meeting.
6. The Michigan SILC is not autonomous as required by law. Last year (2016), MiSILC was moved within the Governor’s Office through an illegal Executive Order.
Executive Order 2016-11 is illegal – plain and simple. The SILC is required to be autonomous and does not work for the Governor.
7. The Michigan SILC is not complaint with the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Meetings Act.
After refusing to comply with these state and federal laws for years, MiSILC declared itself exempt from FOIA and the OMA immediately after being illegally moved to the Governor’s Office. No legal arguments to support this change were provided, even after repeated requests. Consumers diligently provided legal arguments, with case studies, which went entirely ignored.
8. The Michigan SILC does not respond to consumer inquiries or input.
In violation of its own policies, the SILC does not respond to public comment, private inquiry, or direct requests for dialogue.
9. Michigan CILs and SILC have partnered directly with sheltered workshops and vocational rehabilitation.
In 2015, consumers overheard Sara Grivetti, who refers to herself as “the collective voice of Michigan’s Centers for Independent Living,” whisper into a hot mic. She was telling a representative from the state how pleased she is about the formal partnership between MRS, Michigan CILs, and sheltered workshops. This alliance has never been discussed or voted on during any public meeting. But behind closed doors, this partnership is very real.
In a recent letter to the Lieutenant Governor, MARO (an association of sheltered workshops) and the Michigan SILC outline and promote illegal uses of Medicaid and vocational rehabilitation funds to keep sheltered workshops in business. Ms. Grivetti, on behalf of the SILC, literally released a how-to guide for providers to continue illegally funneling consumers into sheltered workshops.
Why this obvious conflict of interest is being allowed to continue is unfathomable, but the CILs Ms. Grivetti represents have been rewarded handsomely.
10. The SILC’s main job is to develop and monitor the implementation of the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). In Michigan, the SPIL does not reflect consumer input; does not contain measurable objectives; and results in local work plans that are literally nonsensical.
Michigan’s SPIL is developed behind closed doors by the Executive Directors of Michigan’s worst CILs and is specifically designed to serve their interests – not the interests of consumers as required by law. MiSILC loves to brag that 100% of Michigan CIL Executive Directors approved the State Plan. Of course they did – they wrote it.
You can read the testimony of consumers opposed to the Michigan SPIL:
- Regressive Steps Take Power and Control from Consumers
- Michiganders with Disabilities Condemn State Plan for Independent Living
- Advocates Ignored as State Plans to Partner with Oppressors
- Consumers Declare Michigan SPIL the Opposite of What Independent Living Is Supposed to Be