Blind Services Planning Council

Board and Commission Details

Contact Name

Sharon Howerton

Contact E-Mail


Reviews actions of the DHS Bureau for the Blind; facilitates communication and cooperation between department and all agencies responsible for services to blind and visually impaired persons; identifies needs and problems of such persons; makes recommendations to Bureau director, Department director and the Governor.


3 years. Maximum of 2 terms.

Senate Confirmation



At least 6 members must be blind and a balance maintained between males and females. No department employee shall be a member of the Council.


11 members appointed by the Governor: The Council shall elect a chairperson and a recording secretary from its members. Members may be drawn from specific organizations including: -Hadley School for the Blind -Chicago Lighthouse -Department-approved Low Vision Aides Clinics -Vending facilities operators -Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and -Visually Impaired -Blind homemakers -Outstanding competitive employers of blind people -Providers and recipients of income maintenance programs -In-home care programs -Subsidized housing -Nursing homes and homes for the blind


Elected by board


20 ILCS 2410/7

Member Names

Name Member Expiration Member Since Affiliation Appointed By Position Title County
Darnell, Jacqueline 01/01/2021 11/07/2018 Governor Member Madison
Birmingham, Edward 01/01/2022 07/01/2016 Governor Member Cook
Hill, Whitney 01/01/2023 10/14/2020 Governor Member Cook
Esparza, Horacio 01/01/2023 10/26/2020 Governor Member Cook
Hawkins, Daniel 01/01/2023 09/21/2020 Governor Member St. Clair
Holtgreve, John 01/01/2025 02/03/2023 Governor Member Randolph
Howerton, Sharon 01/01/2022 03/31/2017 Governor Chair, Member Cook
Cather, Dustin 01/01/2025 01/28/2022 Governor Member Cook
Gordon, Freddie 01/01/2022 09/25/2020 Governor Member Champaign
Tevelde, Daniel 01/01/2024 01/22/2021 Governor Member Cook
Ely, Mindy 01/01/2022 09/21/2020 Governor Member Sangamon