SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DAVIESS COUNTY, KENTUCKY PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT
UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The United States Department of Justice (Department) initiated this matter as a compliance review of Daviess County, Kentucky Public Library District (Library) under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
The review was conducted by the Disability Rights Section of the Department’s Civil Rights Division and focused on the Library’s compliance with the following title II requirements:
- to conduct a self-evaluation of its services, policies, and practices by July 26, 1992, and make modifications necessary to comply with the Department’s title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.105;
- to notify applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons of their rights and the Library’s obligations under title II and the Department’s regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.106;
- to designate a responsible employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out the Library’s ADA responsibilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(a);
- to establish a grievance procedure for resolving complaints of violations of title II, 28 C.F.R. § 35.107(b);
- to operate each program, service, or activity so that, when viewed in its entirety, it is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.150, by:
- delivery of services, programs, or activities in alternate ways, including, for example, redesign of equipment, reassignment of services, assignment of aides, home visits, or other methods of compliance or, if these methods are not effective in making the programs accessible,
- physical changes to buildings (required to have been made by January 26, 1995), in accordance with the Department’s title II regulation, 28.C.F.R. § 35.151, and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (Standards), 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, App. A, or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS), 41 C.F.R. § 101-19.6, App. A.
- to ensure that facilities for which construction or alteration was begun after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities, in accordance with 1) the Department’s title II regulation and 2) the Standards or UFAS, 28 C.F.R. § 35.151;
- to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others, including furnishing auxiliary aids and services when necessary, 28 C.F.R. § 35.160;
- to provide information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the Library’s accessible services, activities, and facilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(a);
- to provide signage at all inaccessible entrances to each of its facilities, directing users to an accessible entrance or to information about accessible facilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(b).
The Department limited its review to the Daviess County Public Library, located at 450 Griffith Avenue, Owensboro, Kentucky 42301.
1. The ADA applies to the Library because it is a “public entity” as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).
2. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to determine the compliance of the Library with title II of the ADA and the Department's title II implementing regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. § 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.
3. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Daviess County Public Library District.
4. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties enter into this Agreement.
5. In consideration of, and consistent with, the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter regarding all matters contained within this Agreement, except as provided in the section entitled “Implementation and Enforcement.”
ACTION TAKEN BY THE LIBRARY
6. The Library has policies of ensuring equal opportunity in employment for qualified persons with disabilities. Specifically, the Library’s policies provide that:
- the Library will not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices;
- the Library will not ask a job applicant about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability.
- the Library will make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability upon request unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the operation of the Library.
- the Library will make an individualized assessment of whether a qualified individual with a disability meets selection criteria for employment decisions.
7. The Library has consulted with Norb Ryan, the Kentucky ADA Coordinator, regarding providing reasonable accommodations to a Library employee.
8. The Library has identified sources of qualified sign language and oral interpreters to use in fulfilling requests from the public for sign language or oral interpreters.
9. The Library maintains a collection of recorded books in both cassette tape and CD format.
10. The Library provides homebound delivery of materials to residents who find it difficult to visit the library in person.
11. The Library provides reference services via telephone and e-mail.
12. The Library provides remote access to its catalog and a variety of commercial databases.
13. Library users may reserve and/or renew materials via the Internet and/or a touch tone telephone.
14. The Library maintains a relationship with the Kentucky Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, through which access to Braille materials and other recorded materials is provided to library customers.
15. The Library has invited representatives from the Kentucky Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to educate Library employees on the needs of the visually-impaired.
16. Within two months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will adopt the attached Notice (Attachment A); distribute it to all agency heads; post the Notice on its Internet Home Page; and post copies in conspicuous locations in its public buildings. It will refresh the posted copies, and update the contact information contained on the Notice, as necessary, for the life of this Agreement. Copies will also be provided to any person upon request.
17. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, and on yearly anniversaries of this Agreement until it expires, the Library will implement and report to the Department its written procedures for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the Library’s accessible programs, services, and activities.
18. If, at any time during the life of this Agreement, the Library has 50 or more employees, the Library will appoint or hire an ADA Coordinator. The ADA Coordinator will coordinate the Library’s effort to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under the ADA, including any investigation of complaint communicated to it alleging its noncompliance with title II or alleging any actions that would be prohibited under title II. The City/Library will make available to all interested individuals the name, office address, and telephone number of the ADA Coordinator.
19. If, at any point during the life of this Agreement, the Library has 50 or more employees, the Library will adopt the attached ADA Grievance Procedure (Attachment B), distribute it to all agency heads, and post copies of it in conspicuous locations in each of its public buildings. It will refresh the posted copies, and update the contact information contained on it, as necessary, for the life of the Agreement. Copies will also be provided to any person upon request.
GENERAL EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION PROVISIONS
20. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will identify sources of real-time transcription services and vendors that can put documents in Braille, and will implement and report to the Department its written procedures, with time frames, for fulfilling requests from the public for sign language or oral interpreters, real-time transcription services, and documents in alternate formats (Braille, large print, cassette tapes, etc.).
21. The Library will take steps to ensure that all appropriate employees are trained and practiced in using the Kentucky Relay Service to make and receive calls.
22. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will amend its employment policies to provide that the Library will maintain any employee’s medical records separate from personnel files and keep them confidential.
WEB-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS
23. Within 1 month of the effective date of this Agreement, and on subsequent anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will distribute to all persons employees and contractors who design, develop, maintain, or otherwise have responsibility for content and format of its website(s) or third party websites used by the Library (Internet Personnel) the technical assistance document, “Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities,” which is available at www.ada.gov/websites2.htm.
24. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, and throughout the life of the Agreement, the Library will do the following:
A. Establish, implement, and post online a policy that its web pages will be accessible and create a process for implementation;
B. Ensure that all new and modified web pages and content are accessible;
C. Develop and implement a plan for making existing web content more accessible;
D. Provide a way for online visitors to request accessible information or services by posting a telephone number or e-mail address on its home page; and
E. Periodically (at least annually) enlist people with disabilities to test its pages for ease of use.
25. The Daviess County Public Library, currently located at 450 Griffith Avenue, is being relocated to a new site. Before construction on this site begins, the Library shall submit a complete and detailed set of blueprints, architectural drawings and specifications to the Department. Within a reasonable amount of time, but not to exceed sixty (60) days, the Department will review these materials for compliance with the Standards and submit a report to the Library outlining its findings. Upon receipt of the Department’s report, the Library will make the appropriate changes to the drawings and will ensure that the construction of the facility complies with the Standards for new construction.
26. Through its review of the existing library, located at 450 Griffith Avenue, the Department identified a number of elements or features that do not comply with the Standards, including those listed in Attachment K. The Library will share Attachment K with the future owner/occupant of the existing library, and recommend that the future owner/occupant of the existing library take the actions listed in Attachment K in order to ensure that programs, services, and activities operated at that facility are readily accessible to and usable by persons with mobility impairments.
27. Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at yearly anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement until it expires, the Library will submit written reports to the Department summarizing the actions the Library has taken pursuant to this Agreement.
28. Throughout the life of this Agreement, consistent with 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a), the Library will maintain the accessibility of its programs, activities, services, facilities, and equipment, and will take whatever actions are necessary (such as routine testing of accessibility equipment and routine accessibility audits of its programs and facilities) to do so. This provision does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs. 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(b).
29. Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will develop or procure a two-hour training program on the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of serving persons with disabilities. The Library will use the ADA technical assistance materials developed by the Department and will consult with interested persons, including individuals with disabilities, in developing or procuring the ADA training program.
30. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, the Library will deliver its training program to all Library employees who have direct contact with members of the public. At the end of that period, the Library will submit a copy of its training curriculum and materials to the Department, along with a list of employees trained and the name, title, and address of the trainer.
IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT
31. If at any time the Library desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it will promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification. Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the Department, which approval will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.
32. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that the Library has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for a modification of the relevant terms, the Department will so notify the Library in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Library, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement, or it may initiate appropriate steps to enforce title II.
33. For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for the Library to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement.
34. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
35. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by the Library or the Department on request.
36. 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 (including its Attachments, which are hereby incorporated by reference), will be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Library’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
37. This Agreement will remain in effect for three years.
38. The person signing for the Library represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Library to this Agreement.
39. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
For the Daviess County Public Library District:
For the United States
FRANK A. BRANCATO
Board of Trustees
Daviess County Public Library District
450 Griffith Avenue
Owensboro, KY 42301
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
JEANINE WORDEN, Deputy Chief
MARY LOU MOBLEY, Senior Counsel
ERIN MEEHAN RICHMOND, Attorney
MARK J. MAZZ, Architect
MICHELE ANTONIO MALLOZZI, Architect
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Washington, DC 2053
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