Work Choices for Developmentally Disabled Workers May Be Weakened

Helping Individuals Reach Life’s Aspirations
A Message from the President
Dear Lifespire Staff,
Almost a year ago, members of CSEA’s
negotiating team began working on a new
three year contract with members of
Lifespire’s negotiating team. The initial
weeks were spent exchanging ideas about
what aspects of the existing contract
worked well and what items did not. To a
large extent most of these language/
procedural matters were resolved by late
fall in 2012. At that point both sides began
the most difficult part of the negotiations which consisted of the
“economic section”. Representatives from CSEA under the leadership of
Pam Marshall, Local President, made it clear that even though they
recognized that funding for our field was constantly shrinking that the
union members felt that after several years of no raises they wanted to
see some permanent increase in the wages of the bargaining unit
members. Keith Lee, Chief Financial Officer, spent several weeks trying
to ascertain whether there was any way Lifespire could afford to give a
permanent pay increase to staff. After weeks of analysis and several
meetings between the negotiating teams we proposed the following
financial package for the three year contract based on the original State
budget proposed by the Governor:
1.) Upon ratification of the contract, we paid all full time staff a Service
Award check in the amount of $1500.00. Part time staff received a
check for $750.00.
2.) Effective July 1, 2013 we proposed an increase of 1%.
3.) Effective July 1, 2014 we proposed an increase of 1%.
4.) In order to continue to attract new staff to the agency we also
proposed a 1/2% increase in the base salaries of staff for both July 1,
2013 and July 1, 2014.
Within a few weeks of announcing the State budget the Governor
realized that the Federal Government was planning on reducing the
amount of Medicaid money sent to NY. In February we were told that
due to this shortfall the Voluntary Sector would have to absorb a cut of
$120 million dollars. Through the efforts of parents, staff, and the
individuals we serve, the legislature restored $30 million but this still left
a hole of $90 million.
MAY 2013
Work Choices for Developmentally
Disabled Workers May Be Weakened
By Congressional Bid to Repeal
Portion of Labor Law
Future work options for developmentally disabled adults will be greatly eroded if
a congressional plan to repeal section 14 (c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act
wins approval.
However well-intended, the legislation is ill-advised, said consultant Paul Oddo,
a recently retired Executive Vice President of Lifespire. Oddo was instrumental
in establishing the nonprofit organization’s 33-year-old Manhattan North
Comprehensive Services Center, a day habilitation and pre-vocational jobtraining/employment project.
“The reality is that most of our individuals cannot be competitively employed in
the same way that all other people are competitively employed,” said Oddo,
who escorted U.S. Representative Charles Rangel and New York State
Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez on a recent tour of the North Center.
Both men have pledged to support Lifespire and similar agencies in what is a
national fight to block the federal legislation in question.
During their visit, the lawmakers presented awards to Lifespire staffers for their
extraordinary involvement in Hurricane Sandy rescue and recovery efforts.
Employees Who Have Gone
“Above and Beyond”
This “revised” budget will clearly have an impact on the amount of
revenue Lifespire will receive from OPWDD and I strongly considered
the possibility of withdrawing our financial proposal. After much thought
and several discussions with senior Lifespire management, I concluded
that staff deserved a raise and that we would do whatever it took to find
a way to keep the permanent increases as part of the ‘deal” even
though I knew we would receive less money.
I am pleased to say that the members of CSEA overwhelmingly voted to
approve the three-year contract, and Lifespire and CSEA officially
signed the new contract on Monday, April 6th, 2013.
I want to personally thank the members of CSEA’s negotiating team as
well as the Lifespire team. Both sides put forth an extraordinary effort to
find a way to acknowledge the work that staff does even though we are
in very difficult financial times.
Mark van Voorst
Fairwell Linda Kay Keenan
Linda Kay Keenan joined Lifespire (ACRMD) as
a Developmental Aide in December 1992. Over
the past 21 years Linda was promoted on
numerous occasions for her patience,
dedication and hard work. Most recently, Linda
served as the Assistant Director for the John A.
Cook Center located in Queens. Linda, a
valued co-worker to many, celebrated her
retirement on May 3, 2013.
Every quarter, Lifespire honors exceptional staff who have contributed
immensely to the mission and values for which we stand. These individuals are
nominated by their supervisors for their exceptional commitment to our
individuals and having gone “above and beyond” their normal responsibilities.
The honorees are invited to attend a recognition ceremony held at the main
office. They listen to a written acknowledgement prepared by their supervisors
and are presented with an award. In a simple but elegant ceremony held in the
Ida Rappaport Training Room, on May 17, 2013, CEO Mark van Voorst
presented awards to the staff selected for this quarter. After the formal
ceremony, honorees were served brunch by the Senior Management team. We
would like to congratulate the following honorees: Carl Foster – Queens South
CSC; Lasheena Hall-Lewis – Staten Island CSC ; Rita Harrindranauth – Data
Processing Dept. - Central Office; Denise Wright – Manhattan South CSC;
Natasha Benn – East Village Residence; Fabienne Volmar – North Village
Residence; Jywantie Ramautar – Article 16 Clinic; Gail John – Medicaid
Service Coordination.
Sadly but rather joyfully, Linda made her final
“grand entrance” to where it all began, at the
John A. Cook Center in Queens as the Director and two staff members pulled
her through the doors of the facility on a rocking chair, decorated with flowers
and stacks of books to reminisce and celebrate the years of her employment
with the agency. As she visited each activity room on her farewell tour, she was
given cards and mementos to look back on.
The Administrative Professionals
of the Executive Office
This year, Administrative Professionals Week
was celebrated from April 21 –April 27. At
Lifespire, we like to honor our Administrative
Professionals every day. To quote the Senior
Management team “We want to reiterate our
appreciation to the work that each of you have
done and continue to do. We are blessed to
have a team like you who we can count on!
Lifespire’s 13th Annual Golf Classic to be held June 6, 2013
at the prestigious Cold Spring Country Club
Lifespire’s largest fundraising event, the 13th Annual Golf Classic, will be held on Thursday, June 6, at the prestigious
Cold Spring Country Club in Huntington, NY. This year Lifespire will be honoring two very special individuals for their
care, support and dedication in helping Lifespire improve the lives of others; Barbara Lehrer, founder and president of
The Beacon Group and Phoebe Cates Kline, founder and owner of Blue Tree.
Barbara Lehrer, founder and president of The Beacon Group human resources management firm, will be honored for
her work over the years in providing dedicated speech pathologists, nurses, social workers and other clinicians to
Lifespire and similar organizations who serve and enhance the lives of the differently abled. “It is a tremendous honor,”
states Lehrer, “as well as a nice surprise as there are many others who could have been recognized. It has been my
privilege to provide staff to Lifespire’s many programs and services for the past ten years. I admire and share their
passion for helping those with special needs and look forwarding to working with Lifespire for a long time.”
Phoebe Cates Kline was born and raised in New York City. She attended the Professional Children’s School when
she started modeling and acting in 10th grade. She is best known for her roles in the Gremlins movies, Fast Times At
Ridgemont High and the ABC mini series, Lace. She is married to actor Kevin Kline and has two children: Owen, who is
21 and Greta, who is 19. She opened a boutique, Blue Tree, in the Upper East Side in 2005. Blue Tree is part of
Lifespire’s Supportive Employment program. She is honored to be joining us at the 2013 Golf Outing and is proud to be
part of the Lifespire Family!
About the Day…
This year marks the first time that the Golf Classic will be held at the renowned Cold Spring County Club, with its Seth
Raynor-designed course, European-style clubhouse, and the stunning Oheka Castle as a backdrop. Legend has it that
financier Otto Kahn, who built the property in 1919, would install deep sand traps precisely at the spots where his guests’
golf shots landed most frequently.
The event begins at 10:00am with brunch and warm-up, followed by a 40-minute show of golf tricks, tips, and witticisms by noted golfer and entertainer
Dan Boever. There will be tournament contests and team competitions for fabulous prizes, including a 50” flat screen TV, iPods, iPhones, golf bags
and club sets, and more.
Cocktails, dinner and awards begin at 4:30pm and all attendees receive welcome gifts.
The event is sponsored by The Beacon Group, SheppardMullin, Burke Supply, Trooper Foods, and The Signature Group of Companies, who have all
generously donated funds and prizes.
To purchase tickets for the 13th Annual Lifespire Golf Classic, please visit or contact Elia Cintron at Lifespire at (212) 741-0100
Ext. 4527 or [email protected]
(212) 741-0100
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