SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND
ROBESON COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA,
UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

DJ# 204-54-122

I. BACKGROUND

A. SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

The United States initiated this matter as a compliance review of Robeson County, North Carolina, (Robeson County), under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the United States Department of Justice's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35. Because Robeson County receives financial assistance from the Department of Justice, the review was also conducted under the authority of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G.

The Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division conducted this review of Robeson County's compliance with the following title II requirements:

The United States reviewed compliance with the ADA's new construction and alterations requirements at the following facilities constructed or altered after January 26, 1992: Robeson County Animal Shelter, Industrial and Agricultural Development Commission, Robeson County Zoning and Planning/Inspection Department, Robeson County Water Department Customer Service Center, and USDA/ASCS.

The program access review covered those of Robeson County's programs, services, and activities that operate in the following facilities that were constructed prior to January 26, 1992: Robeson County Administration Building, Robeson County Courthouse, Old Agricultural Building, Board of Elections, Offender Resource Center, Veterans Building, Bradford Pool, Robeson County Department of Social Services, Emergency Management Service/Public Works, Detention Center, O.P. Owens Agriculture Center, Robeson County Health Department, Robeson County Parks and Recreation, Juvenile Services Building, Tax Administration, Calvin Haggins Park, Sammy Cox Park, Prospect Little League Park, Rob Henderson Memorial Park, Parkton Community Park, Mattie J. Oxendine Athletic Park, Tom Cope Park, and James Dial Park.

The Department conducted a program access review of the following polling places: Robeson County Career Center, Evans Cross Roads Volunteer Fire Department, Prospect Elementary School, Parkton Town Hall, Old Pembroke Middle School Indian Education Resource Center, Union Chapel Community Building, Red Springs Community Center, Rowland Police Department, Union Elementary School, St Paul's Civic Center, Rennert County Building, Shannon Fire Department, and Fairmont Town Hall. This review was limited to the areas of the facilities used by the voting public: parking, the route from the parking area to the area used for voting, and the area used for voting.

At the following facilities that are designated as emergency shelters, the United States reviewed areas of the facilities used by members of the public during an emergency, including the parking, the route from the parking area to the area used as a shelter, the area used as a shelter, and toilet facilities serving that area: Townsend Middle School, Purnell Swett High School, Red Springs High School, and St. Paul's Middle School.

The United States reviewed Robeson County's emergency management and disaster prevention policies and Robeson County's sidewalk maintenance policies to evaluate whether people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to utilize these programs.

The United States reviewed Robeson County's Sheriff's Department's policies and procedures regarding providing effective communication to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

B. JURISDICTION

  1. The ADA applies to Robeson County because it is a “public entity” as defined by title II.  42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).
  2. The United States is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to determine the compliance of Robeson County with title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice'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.
  3. The United States is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 42, Subpart G, to determine Robeson County's compliance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements.  Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 29 U.S.C. § 794 and 28 C.F.R. §§ 42.530 and 42.108-.110, to suspend or terminate financial assistance to Robeson County provided by the Department of Justice should the United States fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart G or should the United States bring a civil suit to enforce the rights of the United States under applicable federal, state, or local law.
  4. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and Robeson County, North Carolina.
  5. Based on its review of Robeson County's programs, services, activities, and facilities, the United States has concluded that qualified individuals with disabilities are, by reason of such disabilities, excluded from participation in or are denied the benefits of many of Robeson County's programs, services, or activities or are subjected to discrimination in violation of the ADA or section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The agreed upon remedial actions, below, are intended to remedy those violations.
  6. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of a further investigation and possible litigation, the parties enter into this Agreement.
  7. 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 paragraphs 9 through 65, except as provided in the section entitled “Implementation and Enforcement.”

II. ACTIONS TAKEN BY ROBESON COUNTY

  1. Robeson County represents that it has taken actions to comply with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, including but not limited to the following:

    Robeson County has appointed its ADA coordinator and has offered to bring services to people with disabilities or to move programs to accessible secondary locations when programs cannot be accessed in the primary location.

III. REMEDIAL ACTION

A. NOTIFICATION

  1. Within three to six months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will adopt the attached Notice under the ADA, Attachment A (Notice); distribute it to all its agency heads; publish the Notice in a local newspaper of general circulation serving Robeson County; post the Notice on its Internet Home Page; and post the Notice in conspicuous locations in its public buildings.  It will refresh each posted Notice, and update the contact information contained on each Notice, as necessary, during the term of this Agreement.  Robeson County will provide the Notice to any person upon request.
  2. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, and annually thereafter, Robeson County will implement and send the United States its written procedures to inform interested people with disabilities of the existence and location of Robeson County's accessible programs, services, and activities.

B. ADA COORDINATOR

  1. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will appoint or hire one or more ADA Coordinators.  The ADA Coordinator(s) will coordinate Robeson County's effort to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under the ADA, including any investigation of ADA-related complaints. Robeson County will make available to all interested individuals the name(s), office address(es), and telephone number(s) of the ADA Coordinator(s).  Robeson County will maintain the ADA Coordinator(s) for the term of this Agreement.  If Robeson County changes who it appoints as ADA Coordinator(s), it will notify the United States in writing, and update the name and contact information anywhere it appears, within one (1) day of making such a change.

    C. INDEPENDENT LICENSED ARCHITECT

  2. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will retain an Independent Licensed Architect (ILA), approved by the United States, who is knowledgeable about the architectural accessibility requirements of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.  The ILA must act independently to certify whether any alterations, additions, or modifications made by Robeson County during the term of this Agreement comply with the applicable standard pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(c) and the Appendix to 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(c).  Robeson County will bear all costs and expenses of retaining and utilizing the ILA, including the costs and expenses of any consultants and staff.  Robeson County will compensate this ILA without regard to the outcome.
  3. In issuing certifications pursuant to this Agreement, the ILA will impartially prepare reports with photographs identifying that the violation has been remediated and will use the certification form at Attachment O.  The ILA will be considered a neutral inspector for purposes of issuing certifications of compliance and will be reasonably available to the United States to discuss findings in the reports, photographs, and certifications.  The United States may also, in its discretion, provide technical assistance to the ILA throughout the term of this Agreement.  Upon request by the United States, Robeson County will provide prior notice to the United States of inspections by the ILA to allow representatives of the United States to be present.
  4. Robeson County will submit ILA certifications along with its reporting requirements as set forth in this Agreement.

D. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

  1. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will adopt the attached ADA Grievance Procedure, Attachment B, distribute it to all of its agencies, and post copies of it in conspicuous locations in each of its public buildings.  It will refresh each posted copy, and update the contact information contained on it, as necessary, for the term of the Agreement.  Robeson County will provide copies to any person upon request.

E. GENERAL EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION PROVISIONS

  1. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will identify sources of qualified sign language and oral interpreters, qualified readers, real-time transcription services, and vendors able to put documents in Braille.  Within this time Robeson County will implement and report to the United States its written procedures, with time frames, for fulfilling requests for sign language or oral interpreters, qualified readers, real-time transcription services, and documents in alternate formats, including Braille, large print, cassette tapes, and accessible electronic format (e.g., HTML). 
  2.  Robeson County will ensure that all appropriate employees are trained and practiced in using North Carolina Relay Service to make and receive calls, and report to the United States the details of the trainings and employees trained.

F. 911

  1. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will ensure that each of its 911 consoles or call stations can receive and respond to TTY communications effectively with an analog TTY or computer equivalent.
  2. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will develop written procedures for answering 911 calls that include training all call takers to use a TTY or computer equivalent to take 911 calls, to recognize a “silent” open line as a potential TTY call and respond by analog TTY or computer equivalent, and to ensure that TTY calls are answered as quickly as other calls received.  Robeson County will monitor its incoming 911 TTY calls to ensure it answers them as quickly and accurately as other calls received, and will send the written procedures and details of the monitoring to the United States, or will provide sufficient evidence that its computerized system ensures that TTY calls are answered as quickly as other calls received.
  3. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will  incorporate correct TTY call-taking procedures into 911 call takers' performance evaluations.

G. LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

  1. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will implement Robison County's Sheriff's Office's Policy Statement on Effective Communication with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Attachment C, and distribute to all sheriff department officers the Guide for Law Enforcement Officers When in Contact with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Attachment D.
  2. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will hire or contract with local qualified oral and sign language interpreters to be available twenty-four hours every day to its Sheriff's Department.  
  3. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will equip each police station and substation station and each detention facility with a sufficient number of working TTYs and videophones, but no fewer than one (1) of each, to enable people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments to make telephone calls of the same frequency and with the same availability as those people who do not use TTYs or videophones.  Where telephone calls are time-limited, Robeson County will adopt policies permitting a longer period of time for individuals using a TTY, videophone, or relay service due to the slower nature of these communications as compared to voice communications.  If any person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or who has a speech impairment prefers a different method of communication, such as a captioned telephone or computer, Robeson County will make reasonable efforts to provide the communication device requested.
  4. H. EMPLOYMENT

  5. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will amend its employment policies to comply with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations implementing title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, codified at 29 C.F.R. Part 1630.  The policies will provide at a minimum that Robeson County:
    1. will not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices;
    2. will not ask a job applicant about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability.  Robeson County may ask applicants about their ability to perform specific job functions.  Robeson County may make medical examinations or inquiries, but only after it makes a conditional offer of employment and only if required of all applicants for the position;
    3. upon request will make reasonable accommodations for a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the operation of Robeson County's business.  If an applicant or an employee requests a reasonable accommodation and the individual's disability and need for the accommodation are not readily apparent or known, Robeson County may ask for information necessary to determine whether the person has a disability-related need for the accommodation;
    4. will confidentially maintain employee medical records separate from personnel files; and
    5. will in making employment decisions individually assess whether a qualified person with a disability meets selection criteria.  To the extent Robeson County's selection criteria disqualify an individual because of disability, then those criteria must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

    I. POLLING PLACES

  6. Accessible polling places are and shall be the cornerstone of Robeson County's voting accessibility program.  Robeson County has an obligation to provide an accessible voting program under the ADA, including a program that is accessible to persons who use wheelchairs and persons who are blind or have other vision disabilities.  42 U.S.C. § 12132.  Moreover, Robeson County is required by the ADA to select facilities in which to provide its voting programs, services, or activities in a manner that does not have the effect of excluding individuals with disabilities from, denying them the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting them to discrimination. 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(4).
  7. Robeson County shall maintain in operable working condition on Election Day those features of facilities and equipment (including, but not limited to, both permanent equipment such as lifts and elevators and temporary equipment such as portable ramps, traffic cones, signs, wedges, and door stops) that are required to make each polling place accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a).  If circumstances arise such that a polling place location that was previously accessible is no longer accessible because a feature of the facility or equipment is no longer operable, then Robeson County shall relocate the polling place to an alternative, accessible location pursuant to the process established in Paragraph 8 of this Agreement.
  8. The United States surveyed some of Robeson County's polling places during its investigation.  Barriers to access at polling places owned by Robeson County and the dates by which Robeson County will remove such barriers are listed in Attachments I and K.  For the polling places listed in Attachments I and K, Robeson County will be able to continue to use those polling places only if it remedies the barriers to access in accordance with this Agreement.  For all other locations used by Robeson County as a polling place, Robeson County shall ensure that the polling place is accessible on Election Day, through the use of temporary or other measures. 
  9. Barriers to access that can be remedied temporarily on Election Day at surveyed polling places not owned by Robeson County are listed in Attachment E.  For those polling places listed in Attachment E, Robeson County will be able to continue to use the polling place only if Robeson County implements temporary remedies to make the polling place accessible on Election Day. 
  10. Robeson County agrees that the following temporary measures are reasonable and will be implemented where necessary to make an otherwise inaccessible polling place temporarily accessible on Election Day.  The list of measures is not exhaustive; the Parties may agree to implement other, reasonable temporary measures.
    1. Portable ramps (including curb ramps) up to and including ramps six feet long, with side edge protection.
    2. Portable wedges or wedge ramps.
    3. Floor mats.
    4. Traffic Cones.
    5. Relocating furniture or other moveable barriers.
    6. Door stops.
    7. Propping open doors.
    8. Unlocking doors.
    9. Signage, including parking signage.
    10. Portable buzzers or door bells.
    11. Removing astragals that are not a permanent part of the structure from doorways.
  11. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, using the survey instrument at Attachment F, the ILA hired by Robeson County will survey all polling places not surveyed by the United States to identify barriers to access by people with disabilities in the parking, exterior route to the entrance, entrance, interior route to the voting area, and voting area.  For each surveyed polling place that the ILA determines is not accessible, Robeson County will (1)  remove all barriers to access by people with disabilities in Robeson County owned or operated polling places, and have the ILA confirm this work has been completed to the United States, (2) provide temporary remedies at polling places not owned or operated by Robeson County such that the polling place is temporarily accessible on Election Day, or (3) designate an alternate polling place that is accessible or can be made temporarily accessible on Election Day using the procedure in paragraph 8.
  12. After the Effective Date of this Agreement, Robeson County shall select accessible locations for polling places.  42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(4).  Before Robeson County's selection of a location as a polling place, it shall be the policy and practice of Robeson County to review each newly proposed polling place location to determine whether it is accessible to persons with disabilities or could be made temporarily accessible on Election Day through the use of the remedial measures provided for in Paragraph 5 of this Agreement.  Robeson County shall use the survey instrument at Attachment F of this Agreement to make all future polling place location selections.  If Robeson County ultimately determines that a newly proposed location is not accessible (as defined by the survey instrument) or cannot be made temporarily accessible on Election Day, then Robeson County will reject the location and continue searching until an accessible location or one that can be made temporarily accessible on Election Day can be found.
  13. In the rare circumstances that Robeson County is unable to select an accessible facility (or one that can be made temporarily accessible) to be used as a polling place in a particular voting precinct, then Robeson County may apply the Program Accessibility provisions of the Title II regulation to Robeson County's voting program.  See 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart D.  Robeson County must notify the United States when these circumstances arise.  Robeson County must provide alternative methods to in-person voting that are effective in making voting accessible to persons with disabilities, while giving priority to those methods that offer services, programs, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate.
  14. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, the ILA hired by Robeson County will survey County voter registration locations for accessibility using the form at Attachment F.  The ILA will report the results of this survey to the United States.  If barriers to access are identified, Robeson County will remove the barriers and have the ILA confirm the same to the United States or allow people to register to vote at alternative locations verified to be accessible by the ILA.  Robeson County will publish these alternative locations using media and Robeson County's website.  This provision does not modify, alter, or change Robeson County's obligations under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-5(a), (b).
  15. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will make all voter registration materials available in alternate formats, including Braille, large print, audio tape, and accessible electronic format (e.g., HTML).
  16. As part of Robeson County's poll worker training conducted prior to each election, Robeson County will train poll workers on the rights of people with disabilities and the practical aspects of assuring those rights.  The training will cover, at a minimum, the need to maintain the physical accessibility of polling place locations, how to assist people with disabilities, as necessary, and how to operate any non-standard voting equipment including accessible voting systems, or accessible features of standard equipment.  This provision does not modify, alter, or change Robeson County's obligations under the Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15301.

J. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES AND POLICIES

  1. Robeson County's Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) must comply with the ADA.  Robeson County will use Chapter 7 of the Department of Justice's ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Government (ADA Tool Kit) to address ADA obligations of emergency management, including planning, preparedness, evacuation, shelters, medical and social services, lodging and housing programs, recovery, and rebuilding. 
  2. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will incorporate the provisions of Chapter 7 of the ADA Tool Kit into its EOP and provide a copy (including supporting documents) to the United States.
  3. Robeson County's EOP will include the following:
    1. procedures to solicit, receive, and use input from people with a variety of disabilities on its emergency management plan (preparation, notification, response, and clean-up).
    2. community evacuation plans to enable people who have mobility disabilities, are blind or have low vision, are deaf or hard of hearing, have cognitive disabilities, mental illness, or other disabilities to safely self-evacuate or be evacuated by others.
    3. if its emergency warning system uses sirens or other audible alerts, then procedures to effectively inform people who are deaf or hard of hearing of an impending disaster.
    4. a requirement that emergency shelters have a back-up generator and a way to keep medications refrigerated (such as a refrigerator or a cooler with ice).  Access to back-up power and refrigeration at such shelters will be made available to people whose disabilities require access to electricity and refrigeration, for example, for using life-sustaining medical devices, providing power to motorized wheelchairs, and preserving certain medications, such as insulin, that require refrigeration.  The written procedures will include a plan for notifying people of the location of such shelters.
    5. procedures ensuring that people who use service animals are not separated from their service animals when sheltering during an emergency, even if pets are normally prohibited in shelters.  The procedures will not segregate people who use service animals from others but may take into account the potential presence of people who, for safety or health reasons, should not be in contact with certain types of animals.
    6. plans for providing equivalent opportunities for accessible post-emergency temporary housing to people with disabilities. Robeson County will ensure that information it makes available regarding temporary housing includes information on accessible housing (such as accessible hotel rooms within the community or in nearby communities) that could be used if people with disabilities cannot immediately return home after a disaster if, for instance, necessary accessible features such as ramps or electrical systems have been compromised.

    K. PHYSICAL CHANGES TO EMERGENCY SHELTERS

  4. Some Robeson County emergency shelters may be owned or operated by other public entities subject to title II or by public accommodations subject to title III and therefore they must provide program access or remove barriers to accessibility under the ADA.  This Agreement does not limit future enforcement action against the owners or operators of these emergency shelters.
  5. Within two (2) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will request in writing that each of the owners and operators of the shelter facilities listed in Attachment G will remove the noted barriers to access for people with disabilities.  The request will specify that the remediation be completed within one (1) year of the effective date of this Agreement. Robeson County will simultaneously send a courtesy copy of the request to the United States.
  6. Within one (1) year of the effective date of this Agreement, the ILA will survey the shelters listed in Attachment G to determine whether the noted barriers have been removed.  If not all barriers have been removed, Robeson County will identify within eighteen (18) months of the effective date of this Agreement an appropriate number of alternate accessible shelters as confirmed by the ILA using the survey instrument entitled ADA Checklist for Emergency Shelters, Attachment N.
  7. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement and until all emergency shelters are accessible as confirmed by the ILA, Robeson County will identify and widely publicize to the public and to people with disabilities the most accessible emergency shelters.
  8. L. SIDEWALKS

  9. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will implement and report to the ILA and the United States its written process for requesting and receiving input from people with disabilities regarding the accessibility of its sidewalks, including requests to add curb cuts at particular locations.
  10. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will identify and report to the ILA and the United States: (1) a plan for identifying all streets, roads, and highways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992; and (2) a timetable for providing curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the applicable architectural standards at all intersections of those streets, roads, and highways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992, that have curbs or other barriers from a street level pedestrian walkway.  The plan and timetable must be approved by the United States and will specify completion of all required curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the applicable architectural standards within three (3) years. 
  11. Within three (3) years of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the applicable architectural standards as permitted by 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(c) and its Appendix, copied below, at all intersections of the streets, roads, and highways constructed or altered since January 26, 1992, that have curbs or other barriers from a street level pedestrian walkway.

    Date of Construction or Alteration

    Applicable Standards

    Before September 15, 2010

    1991 ADA Standards or UFAS

    On or after September 15, 2010, and before March 15, 2012

    1991 ADA Standards, UFAS, or 2010 ADA Standards

    On or after March 15, 2012

    2010 ADA Standards

    Annually, the ILA will confirm to the United States that Robeson County has provided curb ramps or other sloped areas where required that are in compliance with the applicable architectural standards in accordance with the approved plan and timetable.

  12. Immediately upon the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the 2010 ADA Standards at any intersection having curbs or other barriers to entry from a street level pedestrian walkway, whenever a street, road, or highway is constructed or altered.  Annually, the ILA will confirm to the United States that Robeson County has provided curb ramps or other sloped areas where required that are in compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards.
  13. Within three (3) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will identify and report to the ILA and the United States: (1) a plan for identifying all street level pedestrian walkways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992; and (2) a timetable for providing curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the applicable architectural standards at all places where those street level pedestrian walkways constructed or altered since January 26, 1992, intersect with a street, road, or highway.  The plan and timetable must be approved by the United States and will specify completion of all required curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the applicable architectural standards within three (3) years. 
  14. Within three (3) years of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the applicable architectural standards as permitted by 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(c) and its Appendix, copied below, at all places where a street level pedestrian walkway constructed or altered since January 26, 1992, intersects with a street, road, or highway. 
  15. Date of Construction or Alteration

    Applicable Standards

    Before September 15, 2010

    1991 ADA Standards or UFAS

    On or after September 15, 2010, and before March 15, 2012

    1991 ADA Standards, UFAS, or 2010 ADA Standards

    On or after March 15, 2012

    2010 ADA Standards

    Annually, the ILA will confirm to the United States that Robeson County has provided curb ramps or other sloped areas where required that are in compliance with the applicable architectural standards in accordance with the approved plan and timetable.

  16. Immediately upon the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the 2010 ADA Standards at all newly constructed or altered pedestrian walkways where they intersect a street, road, or highway.  Annually, the ILA will confirm to the United States that Robeson County has provided curb ramps or other sloped areas where required that are in compliance with the 2010 ADA Standards.

    M. WEB-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS

  17. Within eighteen (18) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will:
    1. Designate an employee as the web accessibility coordinator for Robeson County who will be responsible for coordinating Robeson County's compliance with the requirements of Section M of this Agreement.  The web accessibility coordinator shall have experience with the requirements of Title II of the ADA, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0, and website accessibility generally; and
    2. Retain an independent consultant, approved by the United States, who is knowledgeable about accessible website development, Title II of the ADA, and WCAG 2.0 to evaluate Robeson County's website and any proposed online services for compliance with the ADA and, at minimum, WCAG 2.0 Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and other Conformance Requirements (WCAG 2.0 AA), and who shall be responsible for the annual website accessibility evaluation.  Robeson County will bear all costs and expenses of retaining and utilizing this independent consultant, including the costs and expenses of any staff.  Robeson County will compensate this independent consultant without regard to the outcome.
  18. Within twenty four (24) months of the effective date of this Agreement, and annually thereafter, Robeson County will:
    1. Adopt, implement, and post online a policy that its web pages will comply with WCAG 2.0 AA, published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), available at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG;
    2. Distribute the policy to all employees and contractors who design, develop, maintain, or otherwise have responsibility for its websites, or provide website content, technical support, or customer service;
    3. Provide training to website content personnel on how to conform all web content and services with, at minimum, WCAG 2.0 AA, Title II of the ADA, and the terms of this Agreement;
    4. Incorporate provisions ensuring that all of Robeson County's webpages comply with WCAG 2.0 AA into the performance evaluations of the web accessibility coordinator and all employees and contractors who design, develop, maintain, or otherwise have responsibility for its websites, or provide website content, technical support, or customer service;
    5. Assess all existing web content and online services for conformance with, at minimum, WCAG 2.0 AA, by: (1) performing automated accessibility tests of its website and all online services, using an automated tool approved by the United States, to identify any accessibility barriers; and (2) enlisting individuals with different disabilities, including at a minimum individuals who are blind, deaf, and have physical disabilities (such as those limiting the ability to use a mouse), to test its pages for ease of use and accessibility barriers;
    6. Provide a notice, prominently and directly linked from its homepage, instructing visitors to its websites on how to request accessible information. The link shall provide several methods to request accessible information, including an accessible form to submit feedback, an email address, and a toll-free phone number (with TTY) to contact personnel knowledgeable about the accessibility of the website; and
    7. Provide a notice, prominently and directly linked from its homepage, soliciting feedback from visitors to its websites on how to improve website accessibility. The link shall provide several methods to provide feedback, including an accessible form to submit feedback, an email address, and a toll-free phone number (with TTY) to contact personnel knowledgeable about the accessibility of the website.
  19. Within twenty four (24) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will:

    1. Ensure that its websites and all online services, including those websites or online services provided by third parties upon which Robeson County relies to provide services or content, comply with, at minimum, WCAG 2.0 AA; and
    2. Assess all proposed online services before they are made available to the public for conformance with, at minimum, WCAG 2.0 AA, by: (1) performing automated accessibility tests, using an automated tool approved by the United States, to identify any accessibility barriers; and (2) enlisting individuals with different disabilities, including at a minimum individuals who are blind, deaf, and have physical disabilities (such as those limiting the ability to use a mouse), to test its pages for ease of use and accessibility barriers.

N. NEW CONSTRUCTION, ALTERATIONS, AND PHYSICAL CHANGES TO FACILITIES

  1. Any construction or alterations to Robeson County buildings and facilities by it or on its behalf will fully comply with the requirements of 28 C.F.R. § 35.151, including applicable architectural standards.
  2. The parts of a Robeson County facility that do not comply with the 2010 ADA Standards (or the 1991 ADA Standards, as applicable), as listed in Attachments I and K, prevent people with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying Robeson County's services, programs, or activities and constitute discrimination on the basis of disability within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12132 and 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.149, 35.150, and 35.151.
  3. All architectural changes by Robeson County or on its behalf made on or after March 15, 2012, must comply with the 2010 ADA Standards.
  4. In the event that Robeson County has already undertaken an alteration, addition, or other modification to any element identified in Attachments or otherwise after January 26, 1992, and prior to the Effective Date of this Agreement, Robeson County will submit, within six (6) months, a written report to the ILA and the United States pursuant to paragraph 61 below summarizing the actions taken and providing evidence establishing each individual element's compliance with the applicable architectural standard as permitted by 28 C.F.R. § 35.151(c) and its Appendix, copied below:
  5. Date of Construction or Alteration

    Applicable Standards

    Before September 15, 2010

    1991 ADA Standards or UFAS

    On or after September 15, 2010, and before March 15, 2012

    1991 ADA Standards, UFAS, or 2010 ADA Standards

    On or after March 15, 2012

    2010 ADA Standards

  6. Within six (s) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will install signs identifying the accessible entrances that comply with 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(b), after having an ILA survey all facilities that are the subject of this Agreement for the purpose of identifying those that have multiple entrances not all of which are accessible.
  7. Newly Constructed Facilities:  Robeson County will take the actions listed in Attachments I and M to make the newly constructed parts of Robeson County facilities for which construction was commenced after January 26, 1992, readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
  8. Altered Facilities:  Robeson County will take the actions listed in Attachment M to make the altered parts of Robeson County facilities for which alterations commenced after January 26, 1992, readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
  9. Program Access in Existing Facilities:  Robeson County will take the actions listed in Attachments K and M to make each of Robeson County's programs, services, and activities operating at a facility that is the subject of this Agreement, when viewed in its entirety, readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.
  10. Facilities and Programs that the United States Did Not Survey:  Robeson County will review compliance with the requirements of title II of the ADA for those Robeson County facilities and programs that the United States did not survey or review.  The ILA will survey all Robeson County's facilities for compliance with title II of the ADA that the United States did not survey.  Within one (1) year of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will submit to the United States a detailed report from the ILA listing the access issues identified during the ILA's review together with the corrective actions and completion dates proposed to resolve such issues.  The proposed completion dates may be no later than six (6) months prior to the termination of this Agreement.  The survey conducted by the ILA, the access issues identified, and the corrective actions and completion dates proposed will be consistent with the requirements of title II of the ADA; the review of Robeson County facilities and programs conducted by the United States for purposes of this Agreement; and the access issues, corrective actions, and completion dates reflected in Attachments I, K, and M.

IV. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

  1. Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, six (6) months after the effective date of this Agreement and annually thereafter until it expires, Robeson County will submit written reports to the United States summarizing its actions pursuant to this Agreement.  Reports will include reports with certifications from the ILA, photographs showing measurements, architectural plans, notices published in the newspaper, and copies of adopted policies, among other things.
  2. Throughout the term of this Agreement, consistent with 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a), Robeson County will maintain the accessibility of its programs, activities, services, facilities, and equipment, including routinely testing accessibility equipment and routinely auditing the accessibility of its programs and facilities.  This provision, however, does not prohibit isolated or temporary interruptions in service or access due to maintenance or repairs.  28 C.F.R. § 35.133(b).
  3. Within six (6) months of the effective date of this Agreement, Robeson County will submit for pre-approval by the United States a proposed training program, lasting at least half a day, on the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of serving people with disabilities.  The submission will include a description of the training, the agenda, any handouts, and the name, title, and address of the trainer.
  4. Within one (1) year of the effective date of this Agreement and annually thereafter, after approval of the training program by the United States, all Robeson County employees who have direct contact with members of the public will be trained for at least a half day on the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of serving people with disabilities.  Within thirty (30) days after each training Robeson County will submit to the United States the list of employees trained.

V. IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

  1. Robeson County may seek to modify this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible by notifying the United States in writing, setting forth the modification and the facts to support it.  Until the United States agrees to the modification in writing, no modification will take effect.  The United States' agreement will not be unreasonably withheld.
  2. The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time.  Robeson County will cooperate with the United States.  If the United States believes that Robeson County has failed to comply with this Agreement, then the United States will notify Robeson County in writing.  If, after 30 days of providing Robeson County with written notice of non-compliance, the United States determines that Robeson County has failed to come into compliance, the United States may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement and may take appropriate steps to enforce title II and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 
  3. It is a violation of this Agreement for Robeson County to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of the requirements of this Agreement.
  4. Failure by the United States to enforce any provision of this Agreement is not a waiver of the United States' right to enforce any provisions of this Agreement.
  5. This Agreement is a public document.  Robeson County will provide a copy of this Agreement to any person, upon request.
  6. This Agreement (including its Attachments) is 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 will be enforceable.  This Agreement does not remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or other federal law.  This Agreement does not relieve Robeson County of its continuing obligation to comply with all aspects of the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. 
  7. This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years.
  8. The person signing for Robeson County represents that he or she is authorized to bind Robeson County to this Agreement.
  9. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.

For Robeson County:

 

 

 

By: /s/ Ricky Harris
RICKY HARRIS      
County Manager         
Robeson County

Date: July 20, 2015

For the United States:

VANITA GUPTA
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
EVE L. HILL,
Deputy Assistant Attorney General

REBECCA B. BOND, Chief
AMANDA MAISELS, Deputy Chief

 

By: /s/ Susana Lorenzo-Giguere
SUSANA LORENZO-GIGUERE, Attorney
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. - NYA
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 305-7615
(202) 305-9775 (fax)

THOMAS G. WALKER
United States Attorney

R. A. RENFER, JR.
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Civil Division
310 New Bern Avenue, Suite 800
Raleigh, NC  27601-1461
Telephone:  (9l9) 856-4287
Facsimile:   (919) 856-4821
Email:  rudy.renfer@usdoj.gov
N.C.  Bar No. 11201

Date: July 29, 2015

1  Section 35.104 defines the 2010 ADA Standards as the requirements set forth in appendices B and D to 36 C.F.R. part 1191 and the requirements contained in subpart D of 28 C.F.R. part 36.


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