SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE TOWN OF VIAN, OKLAHOMA
UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Settlement | Fact Sheet
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The United States Department of Justice (United States) initiated this matter as a compliance review of the Town of Vian, Oklahoma (Town) 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 of Justice Civil Rights Division, and focused on the Town'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 ADA title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.105;
- to notify applicants, participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons of their rights and the Town's obligations under title II and the U.S. Department of Justice regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 35.106;
- 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. § 35.149 - § 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 ADA title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.150 and 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 ADA 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 direct access via TTY (text telephone) or computer-to-telephone emergency services, including 9-1-1 services, for persons who use TTY's and computer modems, 28 C.F.R. § 35.162;
- to provide information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the Town's accessible services, activities, and facilities, 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(a); and
- 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).
As part of its compliance review, the United States reviewed the following facilities, which – because construction or alterations commenced after January 26, 1992 – must comply with the ADA's new construction or alterations requirements: Vian Fire Station; Vian Waste Water Treatment Plant; City Lake Park; and Anna Belle Farmer Park. In addition, the United States reviewed the sidewalks at the intersection of State Routes 82 (Thornton Street) and 64, and Main Street and Thornton Street.
The United States' program access review covered those of the Town's programs, services, and activities that operate in the following facilities: Town Hall; Police Station; Nutrition Center; and Vian Youth Baseball Field.
The United States reviewed the Town's policies and procedures regarding emergency management and disaster prevention, and sidewalk maintenance to evaluate whether persons with disabilities have an equal opportunity to utilize these programs.
Finally, the United States reviewed the policies and procedures of the Town's Police Department regarding providing effective communication to persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
- The ADA applies to the Town because it is a "public entity" as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).
- The Attorney General of the United States (Attorney General) is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to determine the compliance of the Town with title II of the ADA and the 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 United States fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.
- The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Town of Vian, Oklahoma.
- In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties enter into this Agreement.
- 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."
ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE TOWN
- The Town, which has 20 full-time and 5 part-time employees, conducted a Title II Self-evaluation.
- The Town has actively worked with the United States even before this Agreement was signed to begin addressing accessibility concerns set out in this Agreement.
- Within two months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will adopt the attached Notice (Attachment A); distribute it to all agency heads; publish the Notice in a local newspaper of general circulation serving the Town; 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.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, and on yearly anniversaries of this Agreement until it expires, the Town will implement and report to the United States its written procedures for providing information for interested persons with disabilities concerning the existence and location of the Town's accessible programs, services, and activities.
GENERAL EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION PROVISIONS
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will identify sources of qualified sign language and oral interpreters, real-time transcription services, and vendors that can put documents in Braille, and will implement and report to the United States 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, accessible electronic format on compact disc, etc.).
- The Town will take steps to ensure that all appropriate employees are trained and practiced in using the Oklahoma Relay Service to make and receive calls.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will adapt for its own use and implement the Vian Police Department's Policy Statement on Effective Communication with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing [Attachment C] and distribute to all police officers the Guide for Law Enforcement Officers When in Contact with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing [Attachment D].
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will contract with one or more local qualified oral/sign language interpreter agencies to ensure that the interpreting services will be available on a priority basis, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, to its police department or make other appropriate arrangements (such as contracting directly with or hiring qualified interpreters).
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will ensure that its police station is equipped with a working TTY to enable persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have speech impairments to make outgoing telephone calls. Where detainee/prisoner telephone calls are time-limited, the Town will adopt policies permitting detainees/prisoners who use TTY's a longer period of time to make those calls, due to the slower nature of TTY communications compared with voice communications.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will amend its employment policies, as necessary, to comply with the regulations of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission implementing title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, codified at 29 C.F.R. Part 1630. At minimum, those policies will provide that the Town:
- will not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices.
- will not ask a job applicant about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. Medical examinations or inquiries may be made, but only after a conditional offer of employment is made and only if required of all applicants for the position.
- 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 Town'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 otherwise known, the Town may ask the individual for information necessary to determine if the individual has a disability-related need for the accommodation.
- will maintain any employee's medical records separate from personnel files and keep them confidential.
- will make an individualized assessment of whether a qualified individual with a disability meets selection criteria for employment decisions. To the extent the Town's selection criteria have the effect of disqualifying an individual because of disability, those criteria will be job-related and consistent with business necessity.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES AND POLICIES
- If the Town contracts with another entity, such as the American Red Cross or another local government, to provide its emergency preparedness plans and emergency response services, the Town will ensure that the other entity complies with the following provisions on its behalf.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the United States its written procedures that ensure that it regularly solicits and incorporates input from persons with a variety of disabilities and those who serve them regarding all phases of its emergency management plan (preparation, notification, response, and clean up).
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the United States its written procedures that ensure that its community evacuation plans enable those who have mobility impairments, vision impairments, hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, mental illness, or other disabilities to safely self-evacuate or be evacuated by others. Some communities are instituting voluntary, confidential registries of persons with disabilities who may need individualized evacuation assistance or notification. If the Town adopts or maintains such a registry, its report to the United States will discuss its procedures for ensuring voluntariness, appropriate confidentiality controls, and how the registry will be kept updated, as well as its outreach plan to inform persons with disabilities of its availability. Whether or not a registry is used, the Town plan should address accessible transportation needs for persons with disabilities.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the United States its written procedures that ensure that if its emergency warning systems use sirens or other audible alerts, it will also provide ways to inform persons with hearing impairments of an impending disaster. The use of auto-dialed TTY messages to pre-registered individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, text messaging, e-mails, open-captioning on local TV stations and other innovative uses of technology may be incorporated into such procedures, as well as lower-tech options such as dispatching qualified sign language interpreters to assist with emergency TV broadcasts.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will implement and report to the United States its written process for soliciting and receiving input from persons with disabilities regarding the accessibility of its sidewalks, including, for example, requests to add curb ramps at particular locations.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will identify and report to the United States all streets, roads, and highways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992. Paving, repaving, or resurfacing a street, road, or highway is considered an alteration for the purposes of this Agreement. Filling a pothole is not considered an alteration for the purposes of this Agreement. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards at the intersections of the streets, roads, and highways identified in Attachment J. Within two years of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at all remaining intersections of the streets, roads, and highways identified under this paragraph having curbs or other barriers to entry from a street level pedestrian walkway.
- Beginning no later than three months after the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at any intersection having curbs or other barriers to entry from a street level pedestrian walkway, whenever a new street, road, or highway is constructed or altered.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will identify all street level pedestrian walkways that have been constructed or altered since January 26, 1992. Paving, repaving, or resurfacing a walkway is considered an alteration for the purposes of this Agreement. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards at all places identified in Attachment J where a street level pedestrian walkway intersects with a street, road, or highway. Within two years of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at all remaining places where a street level pedestrian walkway identified under this paragraph intersects with a street, road, or highway.
- Beginning no later than three months after the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will provide curb ramps or other sloped areas complying with the Standards or UFAS at all newly constructed or altered pedestrian walkways where they intersect a street, road, or highway.
WEB-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS
- Within one month of the effective date of this Agreement, and on subsequent anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town 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 Town (Internet Personnel) the technical assistance document, "Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites to People with Disabilities," which is Attachment H to this Agreement (it is also available at www.ada.gov/websites2.htm).
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, and throughout the life of the Agreement, the Town will do the following:
- Establish, implement, and post online a policy that its web pages will be accessible and create a process for implementation;
- Ensure that all new and modified web pages and content are accessible;
- Develop and implement a plan for making existing web content more accessible;
- 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
- Periodically (at least annually) enlist people with disabilities to test its pages for ease of use.
PHYSICAL CHANGES TO FACILITIES
- The elements or features of the Town's facilities that do not comply with the Standards, including those listed in Attachments I, J, and K, prevent persons with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying the Town'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 and 35.150.
- The Town will comply with the cited provisions of the Standards when taking the actions required by this Agreement.
- Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will install signage as necessary to comply with 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(b), after having surveyed 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.
- Newly Constructed Facilities: In order to ensure that the following spaces and elements in Town facilities, for which construction was commenced after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, the Town will take the actions listed in Attachment I.
- Altered Facilities: In order to ensure that the following spaces and elements in Town facilities, for which alterations commenced after January 26, 1992, are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, the Town will take the actions listed in Attachment J.
- Program Access in the Town's Existing Facilities: In order to ensure that each of the Town's programs, services, and activities operating at a facility that is the subject of this Agreement, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by persons with mobility impairments, the Town will take the actions listed in Attachment K.
- Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at yearly anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement until it expires, the Town will submit written reports to the United States summarizing the actions the Town has taken pursuant to this Agreement. Reports will include detailed photographs showing measurements, architectural plans, work orders, notices published in the newspaper, copies of adopted policies, and proof of efforts to secure funding/assistance for structural renovations or equipment.
- Throughout the life of this Agreement, consistent with 28 C.F.R. § 35.133(a), the Town 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).
- Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will develop or procure a two-hour training program on the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of serving persons with disabilities. The Town will use the ADA technical assistance materials developed by the United States and will consult with interested persons, including individuals with disabilities, in developing or procuring the ADA training program.
- Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, the Town will deliver its training program to all Town employees who have direct contact with members of the public. At the end of that period, the Town will submit a copy of its training curriculum and materials to the United States, along with a list of employees trained and the name, title, and address of the trainer.
IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT
- If at any time the Town 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 United States 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 United States to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the United States, which approval will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.
- The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that the Town has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the United States for a modification of the relevant terms, the United States will so notify the Town in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the United States is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the Town, 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.
- For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for the Town to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the United States for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement.
- Failure by the United States 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 United States' right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
- 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 Town or the United States on request.
- 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 Town's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- This Agreement will remain in effect for three years.
- The person signing for the Town represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Town to this Agreement.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
For the Town of Vian, Oklahoma:
For the United States:
KENNETH JOHNSON, Mayor
Town of Vian
P.O. Box 687
GRACE CHUNG BECKER
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
PHILIP L. BREEN, Special Counsel
JEANINE M WORDEN, Deputy Chief
MELLIE H. NELSON, Supervising Attorney
SUSAN H. CRAWFORD, Investigator
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section - NYA
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
Project Civic Access | ADA Home Page
October 22, 2008