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By-Laws of the Wisconsin Rehabilitation Council

Relating to Individuals with Disabilities Rehabilitation Program, Pursuant to Executive Order #196

Article I

The name of this organization shall be the Wisconsin Rehabilitation Council (hereinafter "the Council").

Article II - Purpose

On October 29, 1992, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended through the Amendments of 1992 (Public Law 93-112), ("the Act") was signed into law.

To be eligible to receive federal financial assistance under the Act, title I, Section 105 required the Governor of the State of Wisconsin to establish a state rehabilitation advisory Council with responsibility to review, analyze, and advise the designated State Agency which administers the public rehabilitation program on its performance.

On July 1, 1993, the Governor of the State of Wisconsin issued Executive Order #196 creating the Council to administer the vocational rehabilitation services under the State plan.

The duties, composition, procedures, and terms of the Council are as provided in these bylaws, in 1993 Executive Order #196, section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as codified at 29 USC § 725, and state law.

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation ("DVR") is the designated State unit and the Department of Workforce Development ("DWD"), where DVR is now housed, is the designated State agency under the program.

Article III - The Council

  1. The Council consists of twenty-four appointed members. The Council shall also consist of ex officio members.
  2. The Council shall elect Officers from among its members.
  3. The Council shall be composed of:
    1. At least one representative of the Statewide Independent Living Council (chairperson or other designee of SILC);
    2. At least one representative of a parent training and information center established under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
    3. At least one representative of the Client Assistance Program established under the section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended;
    4. At least one vocational rehabilitation counselor with knowledge of and experience with vocational programs (who shall serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the State Council if the counselor is an employee of DWD);
    5. At least one representative of community rehabilitation program service providers.
    6. Four representatives of business, industry, and labor;
    7. Representatives of disability advocacy groups representing a cross section of:
      1. Individuals with physical, cognitive, sensory and mental disabilities; and,
      2. Individuals' representatives of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty in representing themselves or unable, due to their disabilities, to represent themselves.
    8. Current or former applicants for, or recipients of, vocational rehabilitation services.
    9. At least one representative of Department of Public Instruction.
    10. At least one representative of the Governor's Council on Workforce Investment (who shall serve as an ex officio non-voting member of the State Council if the representative is an employee of the DWD).
    11. The Administrator of DVR as an ex officio, non-voting member.
  4. Appointment
    Members of the Council shall be appointed by the Governor. The Council will forward recommendations to the Governor after soliciting recommendations from the representatives of organizations representing the broad range of individuals with disabilities. In selecting members, the Governor shall consider, to the greatest extent practicable, the extent to which minority populations are represented on the Council.
  5. Qualifications
    A majority of Council members shall be persons who are:
    1. Individuals with disabilities; and
    2. Not employed by the DWD.
  6. Terms of Appointments
    1. Each member of the Council shall be appointed for a term of no more than three (3) years and may serve for no more than two consecutive full terms.
    2. A member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the end of the term for which a predecessor was appointed shall be appointed for the remainder of the predecessor's term.
    3. The terms of service of the members initially appointed must be for varied numbers of years to ensure that terms expire on a staggered basis.
  7. Vacancies
    Any vacancy occurring in the membership of the Council shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. No vacancy shall affect the power of the remaining members to execute the duties of the Council.
  8. Functions of Council
    The Council shall, after consulting with the Governor's Council on Workforce Investment:
    1. Review, analyze, and advise DVR regarding the performance of the responsibilities of the Unit under this title, particularly responsibilities relating to:
      1. Eligibility (including order of selection);
      2. The extent, scope, and effectiveness of services provided; and
      3. Functions performed by State agencies that affect or that potentially affect the ability of individuals with disabilities in achieving employment outcomes under the Act.
    2. In partnership with DVR:
      1. Develop, agree to and review State goals and priorities in accordance with section 101(a)(15)(C) of the Act; and
      2. Evaluate the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program and submit reports of progress to the Commissioner in accordance with section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Act.
    3. Advise DWD and DVR regarding activities authorized to be carried out under the Act and assist in the preparation of the State plan and amendments to the plan, applications, reports, needs assessments and evaluations required by the Act.
    4. To the extent feasible, conduct a review and analysis of the effectiveness of, and consumer satisfaction with:
      1. The functions performed by DWD;
      2. Vocational rehabilitation services provided by State agencies and other public or private entities responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under this Act; and,
      3. Employment outcomes achieved by eligible individuals receiving services under this title, including the availability of health and other employment benefits in connection with such other employment outcomes.
    5. Prepare and submit an annual report to the Governor and the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within the State and make the report available to the public.
    6. Coordinate activities with the activities of other Councils within the State, including the Statewide Independent Living Council, the advisory panel of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the State Developmental Disabilities Council described in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, the State Mental Health Planning Council established under the Public Health Service Act, and Council on Workforce Investment.
    7. Provide for coordination and the establishment of working relationships between the State Agency and the Statewide Independent Living Council and centers for independent living within the State.
    8. Perform such other functions, consistent with the purpose of the Act, as the Wisconsin Rehabilitation Council determines to be appropriate, that are comparable to the other functions performed by the Council.
    9. Review, revise and direct DWD in its selection, operation and procedure of the Impartial Hearing Officer program.
  9. Resources
    1. Plan: The Council shall prepare, in conjunction with DVR, a plan for the provision of such resources, including such staff and other personnel, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Council under the Act.
    2. Supervision and Evaluation: The Council shall, consistent with State law, supervise and evaluate such staff and other personnel as may be necessary to carry out its functions under this section.
  10. Conflict of Interest
    No Member of the Council shall cast a vote on any matter that would provide direct financial benefit to the member or otherwise give the appearance of a conflict of interest under State law.

    Whenever a Council member has cause to believe that a matter to be voted upon would involve him or her in a conflict of interest, he or she shall announce same and refrain from voting on such matters.
  11. Meetings
    The Council shall convene at least four meetings a year in such places as it determines to be necessary to conduct Council business and conduct such forums or hearings as the Council considers appropriate. The meetings, hearings, and forums shall be publicly announced. The meetings shall be open and accessible to the general public unless there is a valid reason for an executive session. The meetings shall comply with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law.
  12. Compensation and Expenses
    The Council may use funds allocated to the Council by DVR under the Act (except for funds appropriated to carry out the client assistance program under section 732 of this title and funds reserved pursuant to section 730(c) of the Act to carry out part C) to reimburse members of the Council for reasonable and necessary expenses of attending Council meetings and performing Council duties (including child care and personal assistance services), and to pay compensation to a member of the Council, if such member is not employed or must forfeit wages from other employment, for each day the member is engaged in performing the duties of the Council.

Article IV - Offices

  1. Annual Meeting The annual meeting of the Council shall be held in the second quarter of each year, beginning with the year 1993, for the purpose of electing Officers and transacting other business that may come before the Council. At every second annual meeting, beginning with the year 2001, an election of Officers shall be held. If the election of the Officers shall not be held at the annual meeting, or at any adjourned meeting hereof, the Executive Committee shall cause the election to be held at any meeting of the Council as soon thereafter as convenient and lawfully noticed.
  2. Special Meetings Special meetings of the Council may be called by the chair, by the Executive Committee, or by not less than 51% of all of the appointed Council members.
  3. Place of Meetings The Council may designate any physical place within the State of Wisconsin as a place of meeting for any annual meeting or for any special meeting called by the Council. If no designation is made, the meeting shall be held in Madison, Wisconsin.
  4. Notice of Meetings Written, printed, taped or electronic notice in accessible format of any meetings shall be delivered to each member in accordance with State of Wisconsin Open Meetings laws. When possible, notice shall occur not less than ten days, nor more than forty days, before the date of such meeting. The notice shall state the place, day, and hour and the purpose of the meeting. If mailed, such notices shall be deemed to be delivered when deposited in the United States mail addressed to the Council member at the address that appears on its records with postage there prepaid.
  5. Lists The Officer or Agent having charge of the minutes and records of the Council shall make, at least ten days before each meeting of the Council members, a complete list of the Council members entitled to vote at such meeting. Furthermore, the minutes of the prior meeting shall be contained therein. All minutes of all other prior meetings from the date of the inception of this Council shall be subject to inspection by any Council member during the whole time of the meeting. The original ledger of Council members, or duplicate thereof, shall be prima facie evidence as to who are the Council members of the WRC and who are entitled to vote. The public may examine such lists or such ledger to any meeting of the Council.
  6. Quorum A majority of the Council Members attending the meeting in person or need and have requested a reasonable accommodation to attend the meeting remotely, excluding ex officio members, shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Council. If less than a majority of the Council members are represented at any said meeting, a majority of the Council members represented may adjourn the meeting from time to time with notice. If a quorum is present, the affirmative vote of the majority of the Council members represented at the meeting shall be the act of all the Council members.
  7. Proxies At all meetings of the Council, a Council Member may not vote by proxy.
  8. Voting by Executive Committee
    Subject to the provisions of this Article, each member of the Executive Committee shall be entitled to one vote upon each matter submitted to vote at a meeting of the Executive Committee except ex officio members may not vote.
  9. Voting by Ballot
    Voting on any question or in any election may be by voice unless the presiding officer shall order, or any Council member shall demand, that voting be by ballot.
  10. Attendance Requirement
    Council members shall attend all Council meetings on a regular basis. Any member missing two consecutive meetings without due cause shall be contacted by the Executive Committee to determine his/her continued interest in serving on the Council. The missing of three (3) consecutive meetings without due cause will result in the Executive Committee forwarding a recommendation for removal to the Governor.
  11. Committees
    The Council shall have four standing committees. They shall be: the Executive Committee, the WIOA Committee, the State Plan/Performance Measures Committee, and the Services to Business Committee. The WIOA Committee shall develop youth outreach strategies and strategies for increasing capacity to provide the services to youth required under WIOA, and shall, in conjunction with the State Unit, develop a plan to implement the requirements of section 511 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regarding outreach to individuals in a sub-minimum wage environment and providing services to youth prior to youth entering a sheltered workshop. The State Plan/Performance Measures Committee shall devise methods for ensuring DVR's delivery of services and data collection are compliant with WIOA and federal reporting standards. The Services to Business Committee shall focus on ensuring DVR's services to business are delivered in a way that assists job seekers with disabilities to connect to employment.

Article V - Executive Committee

  1. General Powers
    The business and affairs of the Council shall be managed by its Executive Committee.
  2. Number, Tenure and Qualifications
    Members of the Executive Committee shall hold office until the next election at every second annual meeting of the Council or until his successor shall have been elected and qualified. Members of the Executive Committee must be residents of the State of Wisconsin. The members of the Executive Committee shall be the Officers of the Council and chair of each standing committee.
  3. Regular Meetings
    Regular meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held.
  4. Special Meetings
    Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by or at the request of the Chair or by at least 50% of the Executive Committee members. The person authorized to call special meetings of the Executive Committee may fix any place, either within or without Dane County or a designated virtual site, as the place for holding any special meeting called by the Executive Committee.
  5. Notice
    Written, printed, taped or electronic notice in accessible format of any meetings shall be delivered to each member in accordance with State of Wisconsin Open Meetings laws. When possible, notice shall occur not less than ten days, nor more than forty days, before the date of such meeting. The notice shall state the place, day, and hour and the purpose of the meeting. If mailed, such notices shall be deemed to be delivered when deposited in the United States mail addressed to the Council member at the address that appears on its records with postage there prepaid. Any members of the Executive Committee may waive notice of any meeting. The attendance of any Executive Member at any meeting shall constitute waiver of notice of such meeting, except where an Executive member attends a meeting for the express purpose of objecting to the transaction of any business because the meeting is not lawfully called or convened. Neither the business to be transacted at, nor the purpose of, any regular or special meeting of the Executive Committee need be specified in the notice or waiver of notice of such meeting.
  6. Quorum
    A majority of the members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business at any meeting of the Executive Committee, provided that if less than a majority of such number of the Executive Committee are present at said meeting, a majority of the members present may adjourn the meeting from time to time without further notice.
  7. Manner of Acting
    The act of the majority of the Executive Committee present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Executive Committee.
  8. Compensation Expense
    The Executive Committee may use funds appropriated under this title to reimburse members of the Executive Committee for reasonable and necessary expenses of attending Executive Committee meetings and performing Executive Committee duties (including child care and personal assistance services), and to pay compensation to a member of the Executive Committee, if such member is not employed or must forfeit wages from other employment, for each day the member is engaged in performing the duties of the Executive Committee.
  9. Presumption of Assent
    An Executive Committee member of the Council who is present at any meeting of the Executive Committee, at which action on any Council matter is taken shall be conclusively presumed to have assented to the action taken unless his/her dissent shall be entered in the minutes of the meeting or unless he/she shall file his written dissent to such action with the person acting as secretary of the meeting before the adjournment thereof or shall forward such dissent by registered mail to the secretary of the Council immediately after the adjournment of the meeting. Such right to dissent shall not apply to any Executive Committee member who voted in favor of such action.
  10. Attendance Requirements
    Members shall be expected to attend Executive Committee meetings on a regular basis. Any member missing two consecutive meetings shall be contacted by the Chair to determine his/her continued interest in serving on the Executive Committee. The missing of THREE (3) consecutive meetings without due cause shall be construed as a de facto resignation.

Article VI - Officers

  1. As a Group
    1. It is the responsibility of the Officers to ensure that Council functions fully to accomplish its vision and mission.
    2. They should stimulate, facilitate and request the active participation of each Council member.
    3. They should communicate extensively with DVR management and staff about all issues of mutual concern whenever they arise and keep the Council aware of the status of those issues.
    4. Working with the Executive Committee, the Officers monitor the overall effectiveness of the Council, assuring that policies, procedures and practices implement the Council’s goals.
    5. Provide a bridge between the committees of the Council.
  2. Number
    The Officers of the Council shall be Chair, Vice-Chair, and one At-large member. Any two or more offices may not be held by the same person. An ex officio member may not be an Officer of the Council.
  3. Election and Term of Office
    The Officers of the Council shall be elected bi-annually at the second annual meeting thereof. If the election of the Officers is not held at such meeting, such election shall be held as soon thereafter as conveniently may be. Each officer shall hold office until such time his/her successor shall have been duly elected and shall be qualified or until his death or until he/she shall resign or shall have been removed in the manner hereinafter provided. Member with one year remaining in their appointment shall not be excluded from being elected to office. In the event that as office is vacated due to the expiration of an officer’s appointment term, a special election will be held for the purpose of filling the office for one year. Election or appointment of an officer or agent shall not of itself create contract rights.
  4. Removal
    Any officer, elected or appointed, may be removed by the Governor.
  5. Vacancies
    Any vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification or otherwise, may be filled by the Council as a whole for the unexpired portion of the term.
  6. Chair
    1. Functions as the principal executive officer and has general supervision and control of all business and affairs of the Council.
    2. Needs to keep current on important disability issues in Wisconsin regarding clients and DVR.
    3. Assures that important issues come before the Council in an expeditious manner and that minor issues do not disproportionately occupy the Council's limited meeting time.
      1. Working with the Executive Committee, sets an agenda for each meeting.
      2. Presides over general sessions of the Council, assuring that the agenda is accomplished, leading the group through the decision-making process.
    4. Presides at meetings of the Executive Committee of the Council and at meeting with DVR staff.
    5. Represents the Council in official matters to other organizations and persons. Or, may designate the Vice Chair or an alternate to do so.
    6. Signs documents authorized by the Council or required by law.
    7. Develops and signs correspondence on behalf of the Council as appropriate.
    8. Performs other duties incidental to the office or prescribed by the Council or by the Governor.
  7. Vice-Chair
    1. In the absence of the Chair, or in the event of the chair's inability or refusal to act, the Vice Chair shall perform the duties of the Chair; and when doing so, shall have all the powers of and be subject to the restrictions upon the Chair.
    2. May assist the Chair in the performance of the Chair's duties, as requested by the Chair; and perform other projects and assignments as requested by the Chair or the Council. (This will aid in keeping the Vice Chair actively involved in the Council's affairs and abreast of leading issues of concern to the Council).
    3. Acts as parliamentarian for the Council by becoming familiar with Robert's Rules of Order.
  8. At-Large Member
    Serves as a liaison to the general council membership.

Article VII - Fiscal Year

The fiscal year of this Council shall begin on the first day of September in each year and end on the last day of August of each year.

Article VIII - Amendments

These by-laws may be altered, amended or repealed by new by-laws adopted at any meeting of the Council and by a majority vote of the members present.

Article IX

The Council shall provide advisory and planning efforts to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. It shall further file an Annual Report with the Governor of its findings as to the operations of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and its services to the consumers thereof. The Council shall further encourage and support the coordination and cooperation of any and all agencies that deal with or are concerned with the issues of education and vocational rehabilitation and shall perform a consumers’ satisfaction survey which shall be included in its Annual Report. Such report to be delivered to the Governor and to the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Education. The Council shall from time to time review the process of Order of Selection and transition as provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Department of Public Instruction of the State of Wisconsin. The Council is to instruct the Division to work with private agencies, public agencies, or any such agencies that can best benefit the provider of services of vocational rehabilitation to the citizens of the State of Wisconsin.

Article X - Notice to the Public

The Council shall ensure that the public be made aware of the existence of this Council, the purpose of this Council, the intent of this Council, and the time and place of meetings of this Council. Such notices shall be given in writing, Braille, or tape, telephonically, or visually as the case may be such that the most number of citizens and consumers of vocational rehabilitation services in the of Wisconsin or the wards, parents, or guardians are made aware of same and such shall be in accordance with the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law as revised.

Article XI - Conduction of Meetings

Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order unless otherwise provided herein.


By-laws approved November 2019.