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Free Press Article

ISCi continues plunge toward wreck

For Warrensburg Free Press August 14, 2003

In the issue before last, a commentary in the Free Press compared the situation involving services to the developmentally disabled to a potential train wreck, with neither party willing to change its course of action to avert the crash. The commentary also laid the responsibility for taking the next step on the board of one of the participants, Advancement for the Developmentally Disabled (ADD). The ADD board is essentially the same as the board of Industrial Service Contractors, Inc (ISCi), which has indeed taken the next step; it voted to dissolve ISCi.

It is doubtful if the self-styled advocates for the developmentally disabled could have done anything more threatening to the unfortunates they claim to represent. The ISCi board of, rather than work with the Johnson County Board of Services (JCBS), has jeopardized the future of the workshop when they voted to dissolve the corporation. This action is a disservice to the whole community.

ISCi spokespersons have tried to lay the entire blame on the JCBS. This is disingenuous, to say the least. Dissolving the corporation because it may possibly face competition sometime in the indeterminate future is an overreaction. The JCBS has three new members since some members resigned in opposition the majority’s efforts to gain proper oversight of tax money dedicated to the sheltered workshop project. Surely, an effort could have been made to meet with the JCBS to work out current problems, especially since JCBS members have publicly stated satisfaction with most aspects of the sheltered workshop management.

It is interesting to speculate on the real reasons for disbanding ISCi. It could boil down to a question of power. This may be an attempt to place JCBS in a position in which services to the developmentally disabled will be disrupted. Then, public blame will be directed toward the JCBS rather than toward the organizations that caused the problems by refusing to continue existing relationships of various sorts. Advocates may hope the County Commission will come crawling back to them to pick up the pieces; then they will be able to resume their “blank check” unsupervised spending. It is also likely that an attempt will be made to pin any failures on the two County Commissioners, both Republicans, up for reelection next year.

Isn’t it time for the ISCi/ADD people to quit their brinkmanship and start trying to work with the JCBS, who are charged by statute with protecting the taxpayers’ dollar as well as with providing for the developmentally disabled?

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