DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-50-43
This Settlement Agreement is entered into by Delaware County, New York and the United States of America, through the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("the Department of Justice").
WHEREAS, a complaint was filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12131-12134, with the Department of Justice against Delaware County, which alleges that Delaware County failed to conduct a self-evaluation and prepare a transition plan for all of the county's services, policies, and practices in accordance with the requirements of the ADA. In addition, new construction and alterations made to the Delaware County Clerk's Building and Courthouse do not comply with current ADA accessibility standards in that, the facility is not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
WHEREAS, the Department of Justice is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complaint in this matter, to determine compliance with title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, to issue findings, and where appropriate, to negotiate and to secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12133, to bring civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F; and
WHEREAS, the ADA applies to Delaware County because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.104.
THEREFORE, Delaware County, New York (the "County") and the United States, desiring to resolve this matter without resort to litigation, agree to the following voluntary compliance agreement:
- In consideration for the County's performance of its obligations under this Settlement Agreement, the Department of Justice agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-50-43 or from filing a civil suit arising from Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-50-43.
- The County agrees that the various services, programs, and activities that it provides to the public shall be made accessible to all qualified individuals.
- To insure that the various services, programs, and activities that the County provides to the public are accessible to all qualified individuals, the County will evaluate each of its current services, policies, practices, and activities to determine whether such services, policies, practices, and activities comply with ADA standards. The areas of evaluation shall include, but are not limited to, the services, policies, programs, and activities of: the Department of Social Services; senior citizen programs; alcoholism clinics; board of elections; civil defense offices; the county clerk's office; mental health clinics; planning commissions or boards; treasurer's office, youth services programs; fire departments; health departments; parks and recreation departments; and police or sheriff's departments. The evaluation process and results of the evaluation shall be reduced to writing and shall be referred to as "The Delaware County Self-Evaluation."
- The Delaware County Self-Evaluation shall be finished and a copy provided to the Department of Justice six months from the effective date of this Settlement Agreement.
- The Delaware County Self-Evaluation shall include a description of each area examined, any problems identified, and any modifications immediately made.
- To the extent that the Delaware County Self-Evaluation identifies services, policies, practices, or activities which need to be modified to comply with ADA standards, the County shall set forth a transition plan to make the necessary modifications to the service, policy, practice, or activity.
- In the event that structural changes to facilities will be undertaken to achieve program accessibility, the transition plan shall set forth the steps necessary to complete such changes. Delaware County shall provide an opportunity for interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the development of the transition plan by submitting comments.
- If Delaware County has responsibility over streets, roads, or walkways, the transition plan shall include a schedule for providing curb ramps or other sloped areas where pedestrian walks cross curbs, giving priority to walkways serving entities covered by the ADA, including State and Local government offices and facilities, transportation, places of public accommodation, and employers, followed by walkways serving other areas.
- The transition plan shall, at a minimum: identify physical obstacles in Delaware County facilities that limit the accessibility of its programs or activities to individuals with disabilities; describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible; specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve compliance with the ADA, and if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition plan; and indicate the individual responsible for the implementation of the plan.
The transition plan shall be attached to the Delaware County Self-Evaluation as Appendix A.
- The County shall notify interested parties of the opportunity to participate in the evaluation process set forth in paragraphs 3 and 6a, including but not limited to individuals with disabilities that reside within Delaware County and all organizations, located in Delaware County, representing individuals with disabilities. Notification to individuals with disabilities may be made by legal notice published in a newspaper of general circulation within Delaware County. Notification to organizations representing individuals with disabilities must be made by certified letter to all organizations, with offices in Delaware County, known to the County to represent individuals with disabilities. Copies of the legal notice and of all letters sent to organizations shall be attached to the Delaware County Self-Evaluation as Appendix B.
- Participation in the evaluation process set forth in paragraphs 3 and 6a, by individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities may be had by actual participation at any meeting held by the County during the evaluation process or by the submission of written comments. A copy of all written materials submitted to the County concerning the evaluation process set forth in paragraphs 3 and 6a shall be attached to the Delaware County Self-Evaluation as Appendix C.
- The County shall maintain on file, for at least three years following the completion of the Delaware County Self-Evaluation, a list of all interested persons consulted during the evaluation process set forth in paragraph 3 and 6a. A copy of the list shall be attached to the Delaware County Self-Evaluation as Appendix D.
- If the Department of Justice determines that this Settlement Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Settlement Agreement and other appropriate relief in any appropriate Federal court.
- Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Settlement Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Settlement Agreement.
- In the event that the County fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Settlement Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement from the Department of Justice as a temporary modification of the relevant terms, this Settlement Agreement shall become immediately enforceable in an appropriate Federal court.
- This Settlement Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Settlement Agreement or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the County or the Department of Justice on request.
- The effective date of this Settlement Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
- This Settlement 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, shall be enforceable. This Settlement Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Settlement Agreement does not affect the County's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
For Delaware County:
For the United States:
John L. Wodatch, Chief
Joan A. Magagna, Deputy Chief
Kirk M. Flagg, Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Right Division
U.S. Department of Justice.