Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The City Of Dickinson, North Dakota

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-56-18

BACKGROUND
  1. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ァァ12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("Department"), against the City of Dickinson, North Dakota ("City"). The complainant alleges that the City has violated title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, by failing to provide access to individuals with disabilities to all the programs, services, and activities, located in the Dickinson City Hall ("City Hall"). Specifically, the complaint alleges that both the upper and lower levels of the City Hall are inaccessible. Therefore, the City services held on these levels including, but not limited to, City Commission meetings, Municipal Court, voting, and City Hall offices, are inaccessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. Pursuant to the provision of the ADA entitled, "Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution," 42 U.S.C. 12212, the parties have entered into this Agreement.
  2. The Department of Justice is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complaints in this matter to determine the City's compliance with title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulations, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Further, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. ァ12133, to bring a civil action to enforce title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.
  3. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and the City of Dickinson. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation and from filing civil suit in this matter. In the interest of securing compliance by voluntary means, the parties hereby agree as follows:
JURISDICTION
  1. The ADA applies to the City of Dickinson because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulations implementing title II. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.104.
  2. The City of Dickinson is responsible for the operation of the Dickinson City Hall located in the City of Dickinson, North Dakota.
  3. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities, on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of a public entity such as the City of Dickinson. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.130(a).
  4. Title II of the ADA requires that the services, programs, and activities provided by the City of Dickinson, when viewed in their entirety, must be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. 35.150(a).
  5. The City of Dickinson may not deny individuals with disabilities participation in, or the benefits of the services, programs, or activities, of Dickinson City Hall because the City Hall is inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.149.
REMEDIAL ACTION
  1. Due to architectural barriers, the Dickinson City Hall located at 122-2nd Avenue West, Dickinson, North Dakota, is inaccessible to and unusable by many individuals with mobility impairments. The Municipal Court, City Commission meetings, City Hall administrative offices, and voting are currently located in the City Hall.
  2. The subject of this Agreement is the construction of a new City Hall in the City of Dickinson and the provision of access by the City to its programs, services, and activities that are located in City Hall in the interim.
  3. Within ninety (90) days of the execution of this Agreement, the City agrees to provide the Department of Justice with construction plans for the new City Hall, including a timetable for completion of construction, with sufficient time for the Department of Justice to review and approve the plans prior to commencement of construction.
  4. The City further agrees to provide the Department of Justice with monthly status reports beginning on the date this Agreement becomes effective and continuing throughout the duration of the construction of the new City Hall, informing the Department of the status of construction and any actual and/or anticipated delays in construction.
  5. Following completion of construction of the new City Hall, the City shall conduct a comprehensive review of the facility, including an on-site inspection, within 120 days of the date that construction is completed at the facility. To conduct this inspection, the City shall retain the services of an ADA consultant, who shall prepare a report identifying all elements of the facility that do not comply with the Standards. This report shall be made available to the Department.
  6. The City shall modify all non-compliant elements of the facility within 120 days of the date that the report identified in Paragraph 13 is issued.
  7. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City further agrees to post the following notice, or its equivalent, in various prominent locations inside and outside the existing City Hall:

    In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, no qualified individual with a disability shall, because a public entity's facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by individuals with disabilities, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity. Any individual requiring assistance accessing the services, programs, and/or activities at the Dickinson City Hall, should contact at (701) - , at Dickinson City Hall, for further assistance.

  • Prior to the completion of the new City Hall, the City further agrees to relocate the City Commission meetings, and any and all public meetings, to the National Armory Building in Dickinson.
  • The City further agrees to relocate any and all Municipal Court proceedings to the Stark County Courthouse, until the completion of the new City Hall.
  • The City further agrees that for any elections held prior to completion of the new City Hall, the City will reassign voters with mobility impairments to an alternate, accessible polling place in Dickinson.
  • Until completion of the new City Hall, the City further agrees to provide the services of the City's administrative offices in the front foyer of the existing City Hall, upon request. In addition, the City agrees to provide an accessible counter in the foyer to enable individuals who use wheelchairs, or are otherwise mobility impaired, to transact business. The accessible counter will provide privacy to enable the individual to transact business with the designated City employee(s) under the same conditions as persons who have physical access to the City's offices.
  • Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City agrees to train all City Hall personnel regarding its responsibilities under the ADA. Specifically, the City agrees to train all City Hall personnel in responding to inquiries from individuals with disabilities who require accommodation(s) to participate in any service, program, or activity, offered by the City.
  • Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City will develop a written policy, equivalent to the policy attached hereto, which provides that any person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in any service, program, or activity, offered by the City, should contact the designated Dickinson representative(s), for further assistance. Copies of the policy will be posted in conspicuous locations throughout the first floor and entrance of the City Hall. This notice will also be published on all informational publications distributed by the City, including, but not limited to, traffic citations, tax assessment forms, jury summons, and, witness subpoenas. In addition, copies of the policy will be provided to members of the public upon request.
  • IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
    1. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the City or the Department upon request. The City will provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
    2. The Department of Justice may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department of Justice believes that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated and has not been able to resolve the dispute through reasonable attempts at conciliation, it may institute a civil action in Federal district court following written notice to the City of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which the City has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
    3. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein, will not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
    4. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
    5. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, will be enforceable under its provisions.
    6. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the City's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title II of the ADA.
    7. The signer of this document for the City of Dickinson represents that he or she is authorized to bind the City to this Agreement.

      For the City of Dickinson:

      North Dakota:


      _____________________________   Date:_________________________



      For the United States:

      Isabelle Katz Pinzler
      Acting Assisting Attorney General for Civil Rights


      _____________________________   Date:_________________________
      John L. Wodatch, Chief
      Allison Nichol, Deputy Chief
      Disability Rights Section
      Civil Rights Division
      U.S. Department of Justice
      P.O. Box 66118
      Washington, D.C. 20035-6118
      (202) 305-1117

      Attachment

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    Updated August 6, 2015

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