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IDHHC Poor Service To Deaf Illinoisans: Critics

Deaf News: Agency accused of poor leadership, service to Deaf Illinoisans.

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The State Journal-Register: A tiny state agency says in a brochure that it exists to “decrease barriers” for Illinoisans with hearing loss.

But according to critics, the Springfield-based Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission is squandering its $800,000 to $850,000 in annual state funding through inept leadership and weak oversight.

“They are incompetent,” said Corey Axelrod, president of the Illinois Association of the Deaf, referring to commission director John Miller and assistant director Janet Lambert.

“They really shouldn’t be leading this particular agency,” said Axelrod, speaking on behalf of the 500-member, all-volunteer association.

Added Alan Thomas, Deaf services coordinator at the PACE Center for Independent Living in Urbana: “I don’t think they have enough expertise to run that agency. When I contact them for information, they don’t have much to share.”

Money that is going unused by the commission should be devoted to hiring more staff, Axelrod said, while Miller and Lambert should be replaced.

"They are underqualified and overpaid," Axelrod said.

Critics of the commission launched an online petition this summer that has been signed by 235 people and calls for the commission to “commit itself to make actual systematic changes and ensure that the state of Illinois, non-Deaf individuals and service providers, not only hear, but also listen to the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community the IDHHC is supposed to serve.”

Axelrod, 30, an Arlington Heights resident who works for a nonprofit group in the Chicago area, said he and others leveling criticism are "baffled" by the responses they have received from Miller and others at the commission the past several years... Read More at The State Journal-Register.

UPDATE: Deaf commission forming task force to address some complaints - Facing criticism from a statewide advocacy group for people with hearing loss, the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission voted Wednesday to form a task force to improve the quality of sign-language interpreters.

The commission, meeting at the Illinois State Library in Springfield, also decided to hold a “retreat” for commissioners the morning of their Nov. 10 meeting and use both public events to address concerns raised by the Illinois Association of the Deaf... Read More at The State Journal-Register.
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