By Carla Hayes, Chair
A very important resolution was submitted by the Education and Employment Committee and passed at this year’s PCB Convention and Conference in Johnstown. The subject of Resolution 2014-01 is the accessibility of testing by the PA Civil Service Commission. Due to the complexity of this resolution and its subject matter, I shall print it in its entirety:
Pennsylvania Council of the Blind
Regarding Accessibility of Testing by the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission
WHEREAS, one of the greatest difficulties faced by blind and visually impaired people is securing employment; and,
WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission, (the Commission) should accommodate the needs of individuals who are visually impaired by assisting these individuals to find employment with government agencies; and,
WHEREAS, current practices and recent developments have clearly demonstrated that the Commission has adopted policies and procedures which prevent individuals who are visually impaired from being able to schedule civil service tests promptly; and,
WHEREAS, the commission has enforced policies which, for example, require job applicants who are disabled to submit to a pre-test eligibility determination, and deny applicants who are blind or visually impaired the opportunity to use appropriate assistive technologies during portions of the examination;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind in convention assembled at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on the eighteenth day of October, 2014, that the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind investigate all aspects of the Commission’s practices related to specialized testing procedures;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the leadership of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall request the Commission to provide our organization with all policies being used by the Commission concerning specialized testing procedures applicable to job applicants who are blind or visually impaired;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the leadership of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall seek a meeting with the Commission to discuss these concerns, as well as actions the Commission might take to increase the employment opportunities for applicants who are blind or visually impaired;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the leadership of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall be instructed to send a copy of this resolution to the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission and to the governor of Pennsylvania; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chair of the Education and Employment Committee of the Pennsylvania Council of the blind shall, on a periodic basis, provide a status report regarding communications with the Commission and any progress towards appropriate accessible testing policies and procedures.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the PCB Convention this year and consequently, I was not there to write the courtesy resolutions. Nevertheless, the Resolutions Committee was instructed to write three courtesy resolutions. The first of these, Resolution 2014-02, commended the well-trained staff of the Holiday Inn Downtown Johnstown for their superior service and attention to detail during our convention. Resolution 2014-03 commended the Convention Program and Planning Committee, and all of those who had a part in planning the 79th Annual Pennsylvania Council of the Blind Convention and Conference, for a well-planned and a very successfully executed convention and conference. Finally, in Resolution 2014-04, we expressed our gratitude to the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped for all of their assistance during the 79th Annual PCB Convention, as well as their continuous support to PCB. Here, it is important to note that they provided superior volunteer guide service to members and transportation to and from the convention tour venue.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Luttenberger, a veteran Resolutions Committee member from Philadelphia, for presenting Resolution 2014-01 and presiding over the Resolution presentation process at the convention in my absence. He did a fantastic job! I would also like to thank Al Pietrolungo, Tony Swartz, and Fran Sine for their help with Resolution 2014-01.
I would also like to remind you that you, too, can write a resolution. Is there any condition that you would like to see changed? Is there a problem that you would like to see resolved? Is there an individual, organization or company that should be commended for providing superior products, services or accessibility? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, perhaps it is time to write a resolution. It’s not as difficult as you think. If you need help crafting your resolution, contact me or any member of the Resolutions Committee. You can contact me by phone at 724-941-8184. Meanwhile, my wish for all of you is that whichever holidays you celebrate this season will be happy ones and that you have a blessed new year.