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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008 - 9:20am

sed seal







Rebecca H. Cort


Appointments to the New York State Independent Living Council, Inc.



November 26, 2008





Goal 4








Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)


Vacancies have occurred on the New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC). Should the Regents approve the proposed appointments and reappointments of members to the NYSILC?


Reason for Consideration


The 1992 Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act require the Board of Regents to appoint members to the New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC).


Proposed Handling


This item will come before the VESID Committee at its December 2008 meeting.


Procedural History


Each year, as vacancies occur, the Board of Regents approves recommendations to fill such vacancies.

Background Information


              Information on the proposed appointees is noted on Attachment 1 and a list of the entire NYSILC is noted on Attachment 2.






VOTED: that Denise Figueroa, Kenneth Stewart, Anthony Richardson, Wendy Strobel, Don Dreyer, Ralph Giordano, Melanie Shaw and Peter Kahrmann be appointed for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2009 and ending December 31, 2011, and four reappointments be made to second three-year terms for the following individuals: Bruce Darling, Lauren LeFebvre, Rain Rippel and Douglas Usiak beginning January 1, 2009 and ending December 31, 2011. 


Timetable for Implementation


Upon approval by the Regents of the recommended candidates, appointments and reappointments will go into effect January 1, 2009.




                                                                                                                              Attachment 1


New York State Independent Living Council, Inc.

(New Appointments)


VESID is recommending six new appointments resulting from expiring terms of existing members.  In addition, two members (Pratik Patel and Paige Pierce) resigned creating two additional vacancies.  As required every three years, an election was held to replace the Center for Independent Living (CIL) Director chosen by all CIL Directors in the State.  Overall, there will be eight new appointees along with a change in category for two existing members.  Four existing council members are up for reappointment.  Lastly, ex officio members from VESID and the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) need to be formally appointed to NYSILC.  The following new appointments are recommended:


2011 Expiration Date – CIL Director chosen by CIL Directors

Denise A. Figueroa

1064 New Loudon Road

Cohoes, New York 12047

(518) 785-8295


  • Executive Director, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley, Inc. Responsible for administration and establishment of a consumer controlled, consumer directed, not-for-profit organization providing advocacy and services to people with disabilities.  (3/87 to present)
  • Chairperson of the Board of Directors, New York Association on Independent Living.   Responsibilities included management of program development in a not-for-profit corporation directed and staffed primarily by people with disabilities. (2002 to present)
  • Manager of Programs and Services, Capital District Center for Independence. (6/85 to 3/86)
  • Associate Advocate, Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association.  Responsibilities included writing and presenting testimony, researching and developing legislative initiatives, monitoring laws related to the disabled, development of community liaisons, lobbying, and community education.  (1/82 to 1/85)


2011 Expiration Date

– Advocate
for Individuals with Disabilities

Kenneth L. Stewart

34 Points of View

Warwick, NY  10990

(845) 986-2955


  • Paid and volunteer work as the following:  an impartial hearing officer for VESID; arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; and arbitrator/mediator for the Dispute Resolution Center of Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Putnam counties. (1989 to present)
  • Honored as “Volunteer of the Year” by the New York County Lawyers Association as arbitrator for the Ninth Judicial District.  (2007)
  • Retired New York State employee. (1989)
  • President, Metropolitan Council of Low Vision Individuals.


2011 Expiration Date

– Advocate
for Individuals with Disabilities

Anthony W. Richardson

87 Hamilton Place, Apt. 2F

New York, NY 10031

(212) 283-5969


  • Co-founder and Executive Director of Perceptions for People with Disabilities, a non-profit community-based organization which is an information and referral clearinghouse for people who are disabled due to HIV/AIDS disease.   (12/03 to present)
  • Peer educator/Administrative Assistant, Brookdale Hospital’s Treatment for Life Center. (5/00 to 5/02)
  • Awarded several commendations for his work in the community including:  Certificate of Special Recognition from the United States Congress; Community Service Award from the New York City Council; Certificate of Merit from Brookdale Hospital; and Distinguished Service Award from New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute.


2011 Expiration Date

Organizations Serving Individuals with Disabilities

Wendy Strobel, MS, CRC, ATP                  

Faculty, DBTAC Northeast ADA Center

203 ILR Extension Bldg

Ithaca, NY 14853

(716) 713-6038


  • Faculty/ADA Program Associate, Cornell University, Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC).  (2/08 to present)
  • Director of Training/Demand Pull Project Manager/Industry Profile Project Manager, University at Buffalo.  (5/03 to 12/07)
  • Education Consultant/Assistive Technology Specialist, George Mason University, Kellar Institute, Region IV Training and Technical Assistance Center. (2/02 to 4/03)


2011 Expiration Date

Organizations Serving Individuals with Disabilities

Don Dreyer

Director, Nassau County Office

      for the Physically Challenged

60 Charles Lindberg Blvd.

Uniondale, NY  11553

(516) 227-8983


  • For the past 30 years, served as Director of the Nassau County Office for the Physically Challenged where he has gained regional and national recognition for his leadership and involvement in advocacy, disability rights, legislative initiatives, and major public policy development.
  • Extensive background as a teacher and lecturer; most recently as Adjunct Faculty at Hofstra University’s School of  Communication  where he teaches evening undergraduate courses on the “History and Development of Mass Media.” 
  • Honors and awards including: 2007 David Award from Networking Magazine in recognition of Renaissance achievements in public policy, advocacy and leadership on behalf of people with disabilities and the business community; the 2004 United States Department of Health and Human Services Highest Recognition Award; and 2003 New York State Senate Achiever’s Award.


2011 Expiration Date

Other Appropriate Individuals

Ralph Giordano

51 Creekside Circle

Castleton on Hudson, NY 12033-3206

(518) 477-7235


SED-VESID Lifelong Services Team Associate, Training of Special Educators, New York State Education Department, Albany, NY.   (1977 to 2008)

K-8, Special Education Teacher-Camp Counselor, New York City and New Jersey Public Schools. (1973 to1977)

Advisory Board Member, NYS Interagency Partnership on Assistive Technology.

Chairman, League in Aid of Disabled Workers.  (1968 to 1977)


2011 Expiration Date

Other Appropriate Individuals

Melanie Shaw

Executive Director

New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL)

Albany, NY

(518) 465-4650


Executive Director, New York Association on Independent Living, Inc., Albany, NY.  Responsible for financial and program oversight for statewide membership association of 34 Independent Living Centers operated by and for people with disabilities of all ages.  (3/05 to present)

Project Associate, Policy Research Associates, Inc., Delmar, NY.  Provided guidance to mental health jail diversion programs nationwide on building community coalitions, developing interventions, and program evaluation.  Developed training for professionals serving individuals with mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system.   (10/02 to 2/05)

Director of Program Services, Resource Center, Inc., Albany, NY.  Directed and/or supervised statewide programs providing education and support to people receiving services at NYS Office of Mental Health-operated outpatient clinics.  (1/02 to 10/02)

Director, Advance Directive Training Project, Resource Center, Inc., Albany, NY.  Developed and directed statewide program funded by the NYS Office of Mental Health that provided education and assistance to individuals and organizations regarding the legal rights of people diagnosed with mental illness to create advance directives for mental and physical healthcare.   (1/00 to 12/01)

Senior Attorney, Disability Advocates, Inc., Albany, NY. Conducted individual and systemic litigation and advocacy on behalf of people with mental and physical disabilities as a staff member of a not-for-profit public interest law firm funded through the federal Protection and Advocacy program.  (7/91 to 12/99) 


2011 Expiration Date

Other Appropriate Individuals

Peter S. Kahrmann

723 County Route 1

Berne, New York 12023

(518) 797-3777 


Co-founder and former board member of the New York City Chapter of Victims for Victims.

Founder of Life Growth, a unique and empowering life management strategy. (2004 to present)

Writer of numerous news and feature articles along with Op-Ed pieces primarily for publications of the Ottaway News Service as well as other publications since 1987. He is working on a memoir and two novels. Prior to 1987, Mr. Kahrmann primarily wrote stage plays, film scripts and poetry. (1978 to present)

A powerful and charismatic public speaker, he has given numerous speeches at a wide array of conferences and settings.




The following council members are reappointed to a second three-year term for their designated category:


  • Bruce Darling (CIL).
  • Lauren LeFebvre (Advocate).
  • Rain Rippel (Organization Serving).
  • Douglas Usiak (CIL).


Ex Officio


The non-voting agency representatives for VESID and CBVH have served their six-year term limit. As a result, VESID is appointing Michael Peluso and CBVH is appointing Debra Lomma to fill the ex officio appointments.

                                                                                                                              Attachment 2


New York State Independent Living Council, Inc.

(Term Expirations)


Center for Independent Living Director


2011     Denise A. Figueroa, 1064 New Loudon Road, Cohoes, NY  12047, Phone:  (518) 785-8295, E-mail:


Representatives from Centers for Independent Living


2010     Christina Curry, Executive Director, Harlem Independent Living Center, 289 St. Nicholas Avenue, Lower Level, New York, NY 10027, Phone: (212) 222-7122,TTY: (212) 222-7198, Fax: (212) 222-7199, E-mail:


2009     Agnes McCray, ARISE Independent Living Center c/o, 311 North Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13206, Phone: (315) 473-5006


2011     Bruce Darling, (NYSILC Vice Chair), Center for Disability Rights, 497 State Street Rochester, NY 14608, Phone: (585) 546-7510, TTY: (585) 546-7510, E-mail:


2011     Douglas J Usiak, Executive Director, Western New York Independent Living Project, 3108 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214, Phone: (V and TTY) (716) 836-0822, E-mail:


Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities


2011     Kenneth L. Stewart, 34 Points of View, Warwick, NY  10990, Phone:  (845) 986-2955, E-mail:


2011     Anthony W. Richardson, 87 Hamilton Place, Apt. 2F, New York, NY  10031, Phone:  (212) 283-5969, E-mail:


2010     Courtney Totter, Coordinator Program and Services, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 1650 South Avenue, Suite 100, Rochester, NY 14620, Voice: 1 (800) 344-4867, Fax: 1 (585) 442-2817, E-mail:


2010     Ramon Rodriguez, District Director, Resource Center for Independent Living, Amsterdam, 347 West Main Street, Amsterdam, NY 12010, Voice: (518) 842-4029 , TDD: (518) 842-3593, Fax: (518) 842-0905, E-mail:


2010     Christine Zachmeyer, Executive Director (NYSILC Chair), Catskill Center for Independence, P. O. Box 1247, RT. 23 Southside, Oneonta, NY 13820, Phone & TTY: (607) 432-8000, Fax: (607) 432-6907, E-mail:


2009     Eugene Hughes, Resource Center for Independent Living, P.O. Box 210, 409 Columbia Street, Utica, NY 13503-0210, Phone: (315) 797-4642, Fax: (315) 797-4747, E-mail:


2011     Lauren LeFebvre, Project Director, Tri Lakes Center for Independence, PO Box 280, Ray Brook, NY 12977, Phone: (V) (518) 891-5295, TTY: (518) 891-5293, Fax: (518) 891-5293, E-mail:


Representatives of Service Organizations for Individuals with Disabilities 


2010     Edith M. Prentiss, 739 West 186th Street, 4E, New York, NY 10033-8527, Phone: (212) 781-8309, E-mail:


2011     Wendy Strobel, MS, CRC, ATP, Faculty, DBTAC Northeast ADA Center, 203 ILR Extension Bldg., Ithaca, NY  14853, Phone:  (716) 713-6038, E-mail:


2011     Don Dreyer, Director, Nassau County Office for the Physically Challenged, 60 Charles Lindberg Blvd., Uniondale, NY  11553, Phone:  (516) 227-8983, E-mail:


2011     Rain Rippel, 33 Saratoga Rd, Apt Z-10, Scotia, NY 12302, E-mail:


Parent/Guardian of an Individual with a Disability


2009     Sally J. Colletti, 333 Birch Street, Vestal, NY 13850, Phone: (607) 754-9694, E-mail:


Native American Section 121 Project Representative


2010     Monica Redeye, Program Manager, Seneca Nation of Indians Tribal Voc. Rehab., 12885 Route 438, Irving, NY 14081, Phone: (716) 532-1033 ext. 5415, Fax: (716) 532-1033, E-mail:


Youth Representative


2010     Kieran McGovern, Self-Initiated Living Options, Inc., 3680 Rt. 112 Suite 4, Coram, NY 11727, Voice: (631) 880-7929 TDD: (631) 654-8076, Fax: (631) 654-8077, E-mail:


Other appropriate individuals


2010     Sharon Fong, Chief Operating Officer, Barrier Free Living, 270 East Second Street, New York, NY 10009-7815, Voice: (212) 677-6668 x124, E-mail:


2011     Ralph Giordano, 51 Creekside Circle, Castleton-on-Hudson, NY  12033-3206, Phone:  (518) 477-7235, E-mail:


2011     Melanie Shaw, Executive Director, New York Association for Independent Living, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Suite 806A, Albany, NY  12210, Phone:  (518) 465-4650, E-mail:


2011     Peter Kahrmann, 723 County Route 1, Berne, NY  12023, Phone:  (518) 797-3777, E-mail: