MN-CCD poised to make key changes

The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MN-CCD) continues to implement a reorganization plan that will bring many changes for the people and groups it serves. MN-CCD members groups heard an update on the plan during the annual meeting Oct. 29.

Joel Ulland of UCare chaired the reorganization committee, which formed two years ago. The group spent a year planning and exploring reorganization ideas. The past year was spent implementing those ideas, after a vote of approval in 2011.

MN-CCD will be a standalone 501(c)4 nonprofit group, with an executive director and part-time administrative assistant. The nonprofit designation will allow the 18-year-old organization to continue to lobby on behalf of people with disabilities and disability service and advocacy groups.

The executive director will be the lead contact for legislators and other policymakers.

The goal is to have staff on board in early 2013. Applications for the executive director job closed Nov. 9. Interviews are to take place in November and December.

“We hope to have someone in place before the start of the legislative session,” Ulland said. The Minnesota Legislature starts its 2013 session Jan. 8.

MN-CCD will also move its offices from The Arc Minnesota, where it has been located for more than four years, to The Arc Greater Twin Cities. Organizations were asked earlier this year to submit proposals to host MN-CCD and several groups responded.

Having an executive director will give MN-CCD a consistent spokesperson at the state capitol and in other leadership situations, according to a task force report released last year. The restructuring will also allow MN-CCD to meet several goals including broadly enhancing the political power of Minnesota’s disability community, strengthening the group’s effectiveness and providing opportunities to build a stronger identity for MN-CCD.

Other benefits of the reorganization cited include enabling MN-CCD to become financially independent. The organization will move on without two longtime leaders. Veteran MN-CCD Co-Chairman Steve Larson, public policy director for The Arc Minnesota, is stepping down from the organization’s board to make way for new leadership. Larson said he will continue to work closely with the organization.

Anni Simons, the MN-CCD senior policy and program manager, left her duties Nov. 5 to become a government relations specialist at the law firm of Fredrikson and Byron. She worked with MN-CCD for 4½ years and is credited with helping MN-CCD grow in political power, greatly expand its grassroots efforts, and evolving into a due- paying organization.

Until a new MN-CCD director is hired, Simons and board members will help out.

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