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SANYS Comments on OMRDD's June 09, 507 Plan

1. Introductory comments--President David Liscomb
2. How can we support more employment?
-- Presented by Shameka Andrews
3. What steps can we take to make the system more person centered? -- Presented By David Liscomb
4. What is working? -- Presented by Marilyn Stata
5. Final Written Statement--From Me to We! Yes We Can! -- Presented by SANYS Executive Committee
6. Individualized Supports Think Tank 2009 Recommendations--June 09

OMRDD Comprehensive Plan Forums—June 2009
From Me to We—Some Final Thoughts on OMRDD 2009 507 Plan
Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS)
Comments on Behalf of SANYS Board by SANYS Executive Committee

Dear Commissioner Ritter:

Once again, thank you for this opportunity to share some comments about OMRDD’s 507 Comprehensive Plan.  We are going to focus our final comments (attached please find of copies of the statements presented at the forums) on some major system concerns we have for the coming years.  We believe a theme that we have developed will be more and more important as time goes on.  The theme is:

From Me to We: Yes We Can!

What we mean by this theme, and what we hope, is that everyone will come to the tables of discussions about budgets, system change and sustainability with a willingness to put their own personal interests and priorities to the side and focus on ideas, proposals and thoughts that may be the best for all people with developmental disabilities in the long run.  We are hopeful that a real sense of fairness and a real People First point of view will be in everyone’s minds.

We know that changing perspective is a hard to do but we think it is an important and necessary step towards finding solutions to the challenges the system of supports for people with developmental disabilities faces.  Our answer to the question, can we as field of people concerned with supporting people with developmental disabilities work together to get through these challenges is:  Yes We Can!

In our budget and policy statements (see attached) this year we emphasized some key areas we believe are critical at this time and all require the From Me to We approach: 

  • Safety
  • Competent and dedicated Direct Support Professionals
  • Provider financial stability
  • Fairness
  • Individualized supports are important in many ways and need to be an         expanding part of the choices people are offered,
  • People with developmental disabilities have a lot to offer and want to help with developing solutions to the challenges we all face.


We think these statements are still important to the discussion and ask that our policy statement be included as part of our forum response.

We really appreciated the way you asked people to answer some questions in their forum statements and SANYS did just that. We would like to pose some additional questions for discussion that we believe are important as we evolve OMRDD’s array of supports in the coming years.  Challenging times require that we ask hard questions.  Here are some we would like you to consider in your planning process:

How can we develop budgets that are truly reflective of a People First Agenda?

If we were starting now to develop a system of support, how would we spend all the money we are currently spending knowing all that we know now?

Do we have the will and courage to find a way to spend our current resources differently?

Should OMRDD continue to be both a service provider and provide adequate quality assurance and regulatory oversight?

How can we justify such different rates of pay in the provider and state operated systems, especially for direct support professional staff?


Can we as a system continue to afford two different systems of supports—state operated and voluntary providers?

Can a People First agenda be supported with the current Civil Service and Union practices?

We talk about being open and transparent as a system.  Would it help our planning if OMRDD would openly share the costs of all current services and supports provided?  We think it might help if everyone knew what things really cost.

We look forward to engaging in discussions about these questions with lots of people involved with this important work we all do.  For us, we have to do this as the quality of life of so many people with disabilities and their families depend on answering these and many other related questions.


SANYS Executive Committee

       David Liscomb, President
        LaRenz Pickens. Co-Vice President
       Ramon Aldecoa, Co-Vice President
       Roz Adler, Treasurer
       Marilyn Stata, Secretary
       Steve Holmes, Administrative Director


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