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The Current State of Deaf in Government

Deaf in Government (DIG) is currently in its organizational transition process in becoming a section of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). The current section officers are:

President - Cham Le

Vice President - Angela Cannella

Board Member - Traci Goodrich

Board Member - David Cardenas

Board Member - Janet Richards

Below is a FAQ to address most of the questions we have received from members of the community. If you have any additional questions, please email the DIG Board at we@deafingov.org. We are unable to accommodate any marketing requests at this time. Thank you for your patience with our transitional process.


1. How did DIG come to an organizational decision to becoming a section of NAD?

The conversation for DIG’s organizational structural change began in 2016 when the DIG Board recognized that Deaf and hard of hearing government employees wanted more from Deaf in Government, despite having provided wonderful professional training opportunities and serving as a resource organization. DIG also have been struggling to secure volunteers who would be willing to take care of administrative work, in addition, to their full-time employment. On August 25, 2016, DIG hosted a “State of DIG” meeting at Tortilla Coast in Washington, DC. New officers were elected and they received insights from members who attended that meeting, which prompted the new board to re-evaluate the DIG’s organizational structure and brainstorm on how to evolve DIG to become something greater. In the fall of 2016, DIG sent out a membership survey and collected feedback. The DIG Board assembled at an all weekend retreat to analyze the result from the membership survey and came up with strategies that could help DIG serve its members better. At the social gathering on April 12, 2017 at Cotton & Reed (Washington, DC), DIG Board interacted with Deaf and hard of hearing government employees and continued to acknowledge that most members agree that organizational change is necessary.

On May 22, 2017, President David Rice and Vice President Christopher Samp released a video warning DIG members that if there are not enough sufficient candidates to take DIG to the next level, then DIG Board will propose an alternative, to dissolve DIG’s 501(c)3 status and become a section of NAD. However, some DIG members were divided, a few were resistant to change and some were open to the new alternative plan. 

On June 6, 2017, President David Rice released a video sharing the pros and cons of DIG becoming a section of NAD and to clarify some of the confusion. 

On June 22, 2017 at the 2017 Annual Meeting and Election, only one candidate ran for a board member-at-large position and won, but no candidates ran for President, Vice President, and two other vacant board member-at-large position. However, members did not vote on the alternative plan and requested more time to discuss it. On October 11, 2017, the CEO of NAD, Howard Rosenblum, presented at the subsequent annual meeting to answer questions members had about the alternative plan to come a section of NAD. Members then voted unanimously to move forward with the alternative plan. Click here to see the draft minutes. 

At the 2018 NAD biennial conference, more members became supportive of the alternative plan and 20 members signed the petition, more than enough signatures required by NAD in order to consider DIG’s application to become a section. On July 5, 2018, DIG President David Rice announced his resignation and Vice President Christopher Samp became acting President. On July 29, 2018, interim President Christopher Samp requested volunteers to run the 2018 election committee and DIG marketed five vacant positions. However, Christopher then suspended the 2018 election because the NAD section application process required more time, in addition, it was also not clear which part of the organizational transition to elect officers for (to remain as independent entity or to lead the new section of NAD). On the other hand, a few members came to the DIG Board expressing concerns about the overall transition process, especially what will happen to DIG’s financial assets.

In November 2018, the DIG Board has reached out to several legal professionals for advice on how to move forward and protect DIG’s interest. The DIG Board then wrote a memorandum of understanding to be included with the application, which protects DIG’s interest. The MOU also instructs NAD that DIG’s financial assets is restricted for DIG operations only and the fund must return to DIG if DIG decides to become a 501(c)(3) organization in the future. In March 2019, the NAD has conditionally approved DIG to become a section of NAD, with the understanding that when DIG has newly elected leadership, NAD will work with new leadership to formalize this transition of DIG from its own 501(c)(3) status to NAD’s 501(c)(3) as a section. Immediately upon having this clarification, DIG moved forward to host an election on March 29, 2019. Prior to the 2019 election of officers for the section of NAD, DIG updated the website and create a Facebook event page that includes a FAQ about the election process and encouraged members to focus on the organizational transition process. At the 2019 Election, a majority of the voting members supported the alternative plan by electing officers who will commit and lead the way. In the month of April, the NAD Board will consider DIG’s application to become a section and make a decision.


2. What was the 2019 DIG Election on March 29, 2019 for?

The 2019 DIG Election on March 29, 2019 was the election for DIG members to elect officers for the DIG section under NAD. Thirty-nine individuals attended the 2019 DIG Section Election. Interim President Christopher Samp facilitated the meeting. Alex Werner oversaw the election process and Robb Dooling assisted with the tally of votes. As the result of that meeting, members voted new officers for the new DIG section of NAD and they are,

President - Cham Le

Vice President - Angela Cannella

Board Member - Traci Goodrich

Board Member - David Cardenas

Board Member - Janet Richards

These newly elected officers currently serve on the DIG Section Committee and will become official DIG Section Officers upon NAD Board’s approval of DIG’s application to become a section of NAD. The election also reaffirmed members support of DIG moving forward with the Section plans. The current and outgoing organizational DIG Board (Christopher Samp, Jessica Moseley, Steven Gagnon, Tommy Parker, and Alyssa Schreiner) will remain as officers until the IRS officially dissolve the DIG’s 501(c)3 status.

The 2019 DIG Election took two years of planning and coordinating. In 2017, DIG members approved the voting measure for DIG to become a section of NAD. That voting measure affected how DIG could plan and host the next election by either a) elect officers for DIG becoming a section of NAD if approved by the NAD Board or b) elect officers to continue DIG as a stand-alone organization if NAD rejected our application. Since 2017 the outgoing DIG Board have been working with the NAD staff on clarifying government regulations and complications with the 501(c)3 paperworks, clarifying potential what-ifs scenarios, and steps to moving forward to becoming a section of NAD. In 2018, David Rice resigned from his role as President and Vice President Christopher became acting President. It was interim President Christopher Samp and the board’s decision not to appoint new officers to fill in the vacancies, but to empower members to fill in those vacancies through an election.


3. What will happen to DIG’s financial assets (e.g., stocks, savings, etc.) under NAD?

The financial assets that Deaf in Government owns will always belong to DIG. Under the National Association of the Deaf, DIG’s financial assets will be placed in a restricted fund that only DIG section can use and spend for its operation. As a section, NAD staff will help take care of accounting paperwork and IRS filing. A few members have expressed concern about any potential misuse of DIG’s financial assets, so the DIG Board produced a memorandum of understanding to go with the application to become a section of NAD. In that MOU, it instruct NAD to protect DIG’s financial assets and return them to DIG should DIG section decided to revive DIG’s 501(c)3 status in the future.


4. Is membership with NAD required to have NAD become a person’s legal representative?

NAD may represent any deaf or hard of hearing person who has a legitimate case that would have a systematic impact. A membership with NAD is not required for that person requesting NAD to become his/her legal representative.


5. Is it a conflict of interest for a NAD lawyer to represent a client in a case presented at an EEOC hearing or to an Administrative Judge?

There is no conflict of interest for a NAD lawyer to represent a client as long the client has a legitimate case and follows proper protocol for filing a complaint. This should also not be an issue of NAD representing anyone serving or is a member of a section under NAD. The NAD has litigated against federal agencies on behalf of NAD members, DIG members, and/or general community members that have no membership with either organizations.


6. If DIG becomes a section of NAD, will DIG be able to collaborate with different agencies, companies, and/or other entities?

Absolutely, as long the section officers and section members communicate with the NAD staff in advance as well as making sure that their activity do not contradict NAD’s mission and objectives. NAD encourages partnership with organizations, companies, and other entities that further advance NAD’s mission and objectives.


7. If DIG becomes a section of NAD, what is the new reporting and oversight process?

As a section of NAD, board officers may host meetings, plan events, and support its members. The benefit of being a section is that section officers can propose annual budget and spend from its restricted fund while NAD takes care of accounting and IRS paperwork. Section officers are also responsible for recruiting members and keeping them informed of section activities.


8. What kind of events will DIG continue as a section of NAD?

As a section under NAD, DIG section officers will discuss strategies and plan traditional events such as Holiday Social, One Day Seminar, and Government Employee Training. DIG section officer may also come up with new ideas and encourages volunteers to support their activities. Please contact any one of the DIG section officers if you are interested in volunteering or would like to discuss an idea that would benefit government employees.


9. What is the new membership process once DIG becomes a section of NAD?

Deaf in Government has been a membership-based organization since 1998. The National Association of the Deaf is also membership-based. In the past, DIG have charged membership fees, but most of the time offered free membership because the major source of revenue came from events. However, as a section of NAD, you are encouraged to sign up for membership. Membership benefits include subscription to NAD magazines, special discounts for workshops and conferences, and being represented at the national level. To learn more about your benefits as a member, please go to www.nad.org/join.

On the other hand, DIG section officers may vote on using its restricted fund to reimburse membership fees for up to 15 members including section officers and volunteers in order to meet the NAD’s annual requirement of having a minimum of 15 active members. DIG section officers will work with NAD staff to an alternative way for government employees that cannot use agency’s fund to pay for membership in order to participate in a workshop or a conference. For an example, NAD may offer government employees a different registration package that will allow them to bypass NAD’s membership requirement, and that option has been offered in the past events.


10. What happened to DIG’s tangible assets such as laptops or projectors?

DIG does not have a physical office to store tangible assets such as a laptop or a projector. Laptops and projectors that DIG previously owned were purchased before 2010 and they were beyond repairs or became outdated. In addition, those laptops and projectors no longer had any value because they were depreciated past their life cycle. In 2017, the DIG board made a decision to donate tangible assets to other organizations and rented (or borrowed) office equipment instead of purchasing them.


11. Can DIG become 501(c)3 stand-alone organization in the future?

Yes, section officers and members must develop a plan to re-activate its 501(c)(3) status and work with NAD staff to implement a reasonable organizational transition timeline. NAD will then transfer DIG’s restricted fund and assets to the stand-alone organization as soon IRS recognize Deaf in Government as a separate independent entity.


12. There's another Facebook group pretending to be DIG, is it legit?

There is a Facebook group titled, “Deaf and Hard of Hearing In Government Employees Networking Group,” which was created by a previous DHHIG Board member. Even though that Facebook group is not officially managed by Deaf in Government, there are some unverified information posted on there that we could not regulate. Nonetheless, community members have the right to participate in any social media groups. However, we strongly advise community members to refer to our official website and official Facebook page as their main source of information (and for accuracy). Check our official Facebook page and DIG forum





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