|Issuer:||William F. Weld|
|Mass Register:||No. 738|
WHEREAS, the provision of comprehensive and coordinated state-of-the-art vocational rehabilitation services can enable individuals with disabilities to pursue meaningful careers by securing gainful employment commensurate with their abilities and capacities; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth provides comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities through the state-federal programs authorized by the federal Rehabilitation Act, as amended in 1992 by P.L. 102-569 (the "Rehabilitation Act"); and
WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is the general state agency designated to provide such vocational rehabilitation services; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to the Rehabilitation Act, individuals with disabilities and their advocates should be involved on a regular basis and in a meaningful manner with respect to policy development and implementation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, William F. Weld, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:
Section 1. A Rehabilitation Advisory Council ("Council") is hereby established to advise the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission on the provision of vocational rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities, in compliance with the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act.
Council Composition and Operations
Section 2. (A) The Council is established within the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.
(B) The Council shall consist of twenty-one members appointed by the Governor. Each member of the Council shall serve for a term of not more than three years and no member of the Council may serve more than two consecutive full terms. Members shall be appointed to staggered, renewable 3-year terms except that in making the original appointments the Governor shall appoint one third (1/3) of the members to serve for one year, and one third (1/3) of the members to serve for two years and the remaining members to serve for three years. Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Council shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
(C) A majority of the Council members shall be persons who are individuals with disabilities and who are not employed by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. The Council members shall include:
(1) one representative of the statewide Independent Living Council established under section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act;
(2) one representative of a parent training and information center established pursuant to section 631(c) (9) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 V.S.C. § 1431(c) (9);
(3) one representative of the Client Assistance Program established under section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act;
(4) one vocational rehabilitation counselor who has knowledge of and experience with vocational rehabilitation programs;
(5) one representative of community rehabilitation service providers;
(6) four representatives from business, labor, and industry;
(7) representatives of disability advocacy groups representing a cross section of individuals with physical, cognitive, sensory or mental disabilities; and parents, family members, guardians, advocates or authorized representatives of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty in representing themselves or are unable due to their disabilities to represent themselves;
(8) current or former applicants for, or recipients of vocational rehabilitation services;
(9) the Commissioner of Rehabilitation, who shall serve as an ex officio member of the Council.
Section 3. (A) The Council shall select a chairperson from among its members.
(B) The Council shall convene at least four meetings a year and conduct such forums or hearings as the Council considers appropriate. Meetings, hearings and forums shall be publicly announced and shall be open and accessible to the general public.
(C) Members of the Council shall abide by the provisions of the Massachusetts conflict of interest law, chapter 268A.
Section 4. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is authorized and directed to provide administrative support to the Council as necessary. Council members shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for their reasonable and necessary expenses as provided for in the Rehabilitation Act and subject to the annual appropriation and allocation of federal funds in conjunction with any annual contribution by the Commonwealth.
Section 5. The Council shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
(a) Advise the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission regarding the performance of its responsibilities for administering a vocational rehabilitation program under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, particularly with respect to its responsibilities relating to: eligibility and order of selection; and the extent, scope and effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services provided;
(b) Advise the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission concerning functions performed by state agencies that affect the ability of individuals with disabilities to achieve vocational rehabilitation goals and objectives;
(c) Advise the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission concerning the preparation of grant applications, the state plan for vocational rehabilitation services and the strategic plan and amendments thereto, and reports, needs assessments and evaluations required by Title I of the Rehabilitation Act;
(d) Conduct a review and analysis of consumer satisfaction with vocational rehabilitation services and the functions performed by state agencies and other public and private entities that serve persons with disabilities;
(e) Prepare and submit an annual report to the Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Governor on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within Massachusetts and make the report available to the public;
(f) Coordinate with other organizations within Massachusetts that plan or oversee the provision of services for persons with disabilities, including the Statewide Independent Living Council established under Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act, the advisory panel established under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Massachusetts Mental Health Planning Council;
(g) Advise the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission concerning coordination and establishment of working relationships between the Commission and the Statewide Independent Living Council and centers for independent living within Massachusetts.
Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 26th day of April in the year one thousand nine hundred and ninety-four.
William F. Weld, Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Michael Joseph Connolly
Secretary of the Commonwealth