Council Members

Council members and guests at meeting

The Rehabilitation Act greatly expanded the role and responsibilities of the statewide independent living councils, in effect making them full partners with vocational rehabilitation in the independent living process. Primary among the new responsibilities of the councils is collaborating with the state vocational rehabilitation agency to develop the state independent living plan—including determining use of the independent living funds and monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating implementation of this state plan.

These responsibilities provide councils with very significant authority in statewide independent living program administration—an authority that was lacking prior to passage of the 1992 Rehab Act Amendments.

Therefore, it is very important that people who are appointed to the councils not just be knowledgeable about, but also have a real commitment to disability rights and the independent living philosophy—and their translation into the kinds of service programs and advocacy activities that are genuinely appropriate for independent living centers.

COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP

Appointment.

Members of the independent living council are appointed by the Governor. The Act requires the Governor to solicit recommendations from organizations representing a broad range of people with disabilities prior to selecting individuals to serve as members of the council.

Composition of the Council.

The council membership must include:

Other potential council members include staff members of independent living centers (in addition to the center director selected by his or her peers), parents and guardians of people with disabilities, advocates of and for people with disabilities, representatives from private business, representatives from organizations providing services to people with disabilities, and the catch-all, ‘other appropriate individuals.’

Consumer Control. It is important to note that the Rehab Act requires that the majority of the members of the council be comprised of people who are not employed by a state agency or independent living center.

Membership Qualifications. Individuals selected to serve as members of the council must:

Because of the role that councils play in planning and overseeing independent living service delivery in the State, there will likely be a number of organizations that will wish to participate in the appointment process set up by ILCW and the governor’s office. As a result, persons may be recommended for appointment to the council who have insufficient understanding of independent living services and conducting advocacy activities.

It is of critical importance that people involved in independent living—those who know best about the independent living philosophy, and what it means in terms of service delivery and advocacy—establish a procedure whereby their recommendations can be conveyed effectively to their governors.

If you have questions about serving on the council, click “Join Us in Our Work” from the menu in the left margin.

Rev. Mar. 2012