State settles with WPAFB to protect blind vendor

Wright Patterson Air Force Base (Photo/WDTN Staff)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Huber Heights-based food service vendor at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will be able to serve the Air Force base for a little while longer.

Leonard Johnson, who is visually impaired, owns Lenny’s Food Service, that has served the Air Force Base since 1999. Recently, the Air Force “gave notice that it intended to replace Lenny’s Food Service with a Maryland company that is not a blind vendor,” according to a release from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office.

According to the Randolph-Sheppard Act, arbitration is required before a blind vendor can be removed. “The federal law that gives priority to blind vendors to operate dining facilities on federal property,” according to the release.

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities operates the state’s blind vendor program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, according to the release. OOD designated Leonard Johnson as the licensed blind vendor to operate the contract at Wright-Patterson.

It is unclear whether Lenny’s Food Service employs other blind people. The Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities says a requirement of the program is that the owner is impaired, and encourages that he or she employs others who may be impaired as well. Ohio regulation does not require those applying for the job to disclose whether or not they are disabled, but leaders with OOD say the nature of the program is to do so.

After the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and WPAFB held settlement discussions, the two parties filed a joint motion seeking an injunction that would keep Lenny’s Food Service as the vendor while the issues in dispute are arbitrated, according to the release.

 

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