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Brian Charlson's Resignation From Major Leadership Position  Patricia Price
 Mar 12, 2004 07:48 PST 

The following is my resignation letter from the WBU North
Region Board as one of the two American Council of the Blind
representatives. A copy of this letter has been mailed to ACB President
Chris Gray.

Brian Charlson
57 Grandview Ave.
Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 926-9198

March 10, 2004

Chris Gray
1155 50th Street NW
Suite 1004
Washington DC 20005

Dear Chris:

As I indicated to you during our conversation on February 29th, I feel
compelled to hereby tender my resignation from the World Blind Union
America/Caribbean Region Board, a position I have held as one of the two
representatives from the American Council of the Blind. I was first
appointed to this position by then American Council of the Blind
Paul Edwards and have served on the WBU North America/Caribbean Region
for the past eight years.

I have very mixed feelings on taking this action. I believe that I have
served ACB well on the international seen and have enjoyed both the
professional and personal contacts I have been privileged to make in
arena. However, the remarks you made during our telephone conversation,
calling into question my dedication to the work of ACB and the WBU; and
apparent belief that somehow I was responsible for the fact that the
O.N.C.E. had failed to change their web site to indicate that you are
ACB president rather than Paul Edwards was a personal insult on my part
you. Furthermore, you equated my disagreement to many of the actions you
have taken within ACB as disloyalty to you as the president of ACB, even
though I have not shared my disagreements with you within the WBU North
American/Caribbean Region board, has left me little recourse other than
resign my position. My guiding principle has always been to conduct
in the business of what is best for ACB and not to demonstrate fealty to
given member of the ACB leadership.

Unfortunately, I have not enjoyed the same collegial relationship with
during your presidency of ACB that I have been fortunate to enjoy with
WBU colleagues. This conflict has lead to disagreements and
misunderstandings between the two of us that I believe have, and will
continue, to harm the interests of the American Council of the Blind
the WBU. Beginning with your impromptu attendance at the WBU North
America/Caribbean Region meeting held in Seattle early in your first
where you had a private conversation with the region president excluding
both Paul and me and then later leaving Paul and I alone to explain to
regional board why we, the ACB representatives, couldn't articulate the
president's position on the Unified English Braille Code (UEBC) -- a
position you never bothered to share with either of us. Subsequent to
meeting, you published a statement in The Braille Forum misrepresenting
region's position on UEBC, which resulted in tremendous enmity from the
regional leadership, resulting in a Braille Forum letter to the editor
the WBU regional president to set the record strait. If that is how you
wish to conduct ACB's affairs in the international arena, then I am
that I have no choice but to step aside and stop preventing you from
carrying out your international agenda. It is not my intent to list all
the disagreements or misunderstandings you and I have had with respect
international matters here, but I feel compelled to acknowledge their
In selecting my successor you will need to keep in mind that I currently
serve as the chair of the newly formed regional Technology Committee and
have been charged with reviewing the minutes of the regional board to
together a list of procedural understandings that could be used in the
absence of a regional constitution. I will forward the many documents I
collected to this point as the first step in generating a WBU North
America/Caribbean region list of policies and procedures back to the
regional president so that he can pass them on to whom ever will be
this project on in my absence.

In addition to the two projects listed above, I was elected by my WBU
colleagues as one of the four members from the U.S. region to serve on
WBU Executive Committee -- the first time ever that this honor had been
connected with ACB. My being elected to this position required a great
of hard work by me as well as relationship-building, and the efforts of
people over many years, and I believe it brought tremendous respect and
awareness to ACB in the international community. As a member of the
Executive Committee I was able to redirect the activities of one of the
international committees to assure that the needs of developing
would be addressed by the WBU in more than a word-bound legal document,
in a true plan of action. In as much as this is an elected office, it
be up to the regional board to elect my replacement. It is highly
that either of the two ACB representatives will be elected to this

As I further stated in our conversation, I will do what I can to assist
replacement in transitioning into this position. Please feel free to
my contact information to them. I doubt that the ACB has anywhere near
money it will cost to send a delegate to the quadrennial convention of
WBU scheduled to take place in South Africa in December 2004, but if
delegates are able to participate fully in that convention, I would
encourage them to take time to get to know the candidates for president
including Dr. William Roland of South Africa, so that when they cast the
vote, they truly understand the potential effect of that vote.

I am sending a copy of this memorandum to the World Blind Union North
America/Caribbean Region Board president, the members of the ACB Board
Directors, our Acting Executive Director and CFO so that they will be
informed as to my changed status and the events that lead to my

I know the president of the WBU North America/Caribbean Region Jim
will extend all courtesies to my replacement. I offer to the WBU
my hart-felt thanks for the years of service we shared. My only regret
that I will not be there with all of you in South Africa to assure that
changes in the WBU constitution truly serve the needs of blind people

Sincerely Yours,

Brian Charlson

James Sanders, President, WBU North America/Caribbean Region
James Olsen, ACB Chief Financial Officer
Melanie Brunson, ACB Acting Executive Director
Members of the American Council of the Blind Board of Directors
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