Changes to Come in the ACB National Office

by Melanie Brunson

It is my sad responsibility to begin this article by letting you know that Eric Bridges is leaving the ACB office.  By the time you read this, Eric will no longer be ACB's director of advocacy and governmental affairs.  He has accepted a new opportunity that will keep him in the Washington area, but take his career in another direction.  Eric has done a phenomenal job during his six years with ACB, and I want to publicly thank him for tremendous work he has done for this organization.  Eric has said that he intends to remain active in ACB, so when you see him in the future, I hope you will thank him as well for the work he has done on our behalf.
Our search for a new director of advocacy and governmental affairs has already begun.  Below you will find the text of a vacancy announcement that ACB released on July 16th.  Applications will be accepted until Sept. 6, 2013.  Copies must be submitted by electronic mail, with a hard copy sent by U.S. mail.  Please read on for further information about the position, as well as instructions for potential applicants.
Vacancy Announcement: Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
The American Council of the Blind (ACB) is seeking a director of advocacy and governmental affairs to work in its national office in Arlington, Va.
The primary duties of this position will include:

  • Promoting and developing ACB's advocacy and legislative agendas;
  • Recommending actions to be taken and policies to be adopted by ACB;
  • Overseeing the implementation of resolutions adopted at ACB conventions;
  • Representing ACB on advisory committees and consultative bodies seeking organizational input;
  • Drafting proposed legislative and regulatory language for presentation to members of Congress, or administrative agencies;
  • Preparing written comments on pending legislation and proposed regulations;
  • Presenting oral comments on pending legislation at Congressional committee hearings;
  • Developing and maintaining ongoing working relationships with members of Congress, Congressional staff and agency administrators to promote ACB's legislative and advocacy agendas;
  • Maintaining cooperative relationships with other disability and civil rights organizations;
  • Creating and enhancing collaborative relationships with corporations in order to influence the usability and accessibility of their product/service offerings; 
  • Providing technical assistance to ACB members and affiliates pursuing advocacy projects;
  • Responding to requests for information and advice concerning the rights and/or obligations of individuals and organizations regarding blindness-related issues, and providing referral to other appropriate sources of assistance;
  • Preparing articles on legislative, judicial, and administrative developments for ACB publications and ACB Radio;
  • Serving as a member of the ACB social media team to support  the expansion of ACB's efforts to communicate key legislative and advocacy issues using social media;
  • Insuring that ACB members receive regular communications regarding ongoing legislative and advocacy issues;
  • Serving as staff liaison to ACB committees;
  • Other duties as assigned by the executive director.

The director of advocacy and governmental affairs reports to the executive director.
The successful candidate must:

  • Be a self-starter with excellent organizational skills;
  • Have a minimum of two years experience working with federal legislative and regulatory processes;
  • Have knowledge of service-delivery systems and government programs impacting people who are blind;
  • Demonstrate excellent written and verbal communication skills;
  • Have the ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously;
  • Have the ability to respond promptly to deadlines;
  • Demonstrate an ability to locate and understand laws and regulations;
  • Be available for frequent travel;
  • Be willing to work evenings and weekends to attend meetings with ACB committees and affiliates.

Desirable skills or training include general familiarity with assistive devices used by people who are blind, and a degree in political science or law, or other specific disability-related advocacy training. Experience in the use of social media to communicate organizational messages is highly desired. Salary depends upon experience.
Applicants must send a resume, cover letter, and brief writing sample by e-mail to, as well as send a hard copy of these items by U.S. mail addressed to: Governmental Affairs Director Search, American Council of the Blind, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201.
Applications must be received in the ACB national office by Sept. 6, 2013.