Federal Communications Commission
Resolution 2015-03
 
Whereas, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) possesses significant professional staff resources to enable the Commission to implement and enforce a host of communications accessibility and other disability-related requirements of current law; and
 
Whereas, in particular, the preponderance of a deafness and hard of hearing career orientation, substantial professional background, and first-hand experience of staff, particularly within the Disability Rights Office of the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, has been of incalculable benefit to the successful carrying out of Commission responsibilities with respect to relay services, captioning, hearing aid compatibility, and related matters; and
 
Whereas, these invaluable staff resources are clearly insufficient without the addition of professional staff who have expertise and experience with a wider diversity of disability community needs; and
 
Whereas, the Communications Act, as amended, provides people who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind with a critical array of telecommunications and video programming accessibility guarantees necessitating a comparable investment in professional expertise; and
 
Whereas, the American Council of the Blind joined with nearly 30 major national and other prominent organizations of and for the blind in formal correspondence to the FCC dated January 14, 2011, urging the Commission to add personnel to its staff resources who possess expertise in blindness, visual impairment, and deaf-blindness; and
 
Whereas, in the more than four and a half years since the transmittal of such correspondence, the Commission has utterly failed to formally acknowledge and act upon it but has in fact continued to recruit and hire staff with a professional or personal association with the deafness and hard of hearing community;
 
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the American Council of the Blind in convention assembled on the 8th day of July, 2015, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas, that this organization demand that the FCC promptly and publicly commit to a plan to, within one year:

  1. At a minimum, recruit and hire, at the GS13 level or higher, at least three professional staff to serve in the Disability Rights Office of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau who possess a career orientation to, substantial professional background in, or first-hand experience with blindness and visual impairment;
  1. Similarly recruit and hire at least one staff member with experience or expertise in deaf-blindness; and
  1. Ensure that senior-level professional staff are recruited and hired to serve in policy formulation, implementation, technical and enforcement positions in each of the Commission's bureaus who possess a professional background and expertise that represents the full diversity of the disability community; and

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution, along with a copy of the January 14, 2011 correspondence, be delivered to the Chair and Commissioners of the FCC and to the co-chairs of the FCC's Disability Advisory Committee.
 
Adopted.
 
Ray Campbell, Secretary