SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE VILLAGE OF MIDLOTHIAN, ILLINOIS
UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Press Release | Fact Sheet
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION
The United States Department of Justice (Department) initiated this matter as a compliance review of the Village of Midlothian (Village) 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 Village'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 Village'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 Village'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. §§ 35.149 - 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 Department's 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 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 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 Village'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).
The Department's program access review covered those of the Village's programs, services, and activities that operate in the following facilities: Village Hall, Police Department, Fire Station No. 1, Fire Station No. 2, Raday Lodge, and the Historical Society.
Finally, the Department reviewed the Village's Police Department's policies and procedures regarding providing effective communication to persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
- The ADA applies to the Village because it is a "public entity" as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).
- The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to determine the compliance of the Village 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.
- The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the Village of Midlothian.
- 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 VILLAGE
- The Village designated the Superintendent of Public Works to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out the Village's ADA responsibilities as an ADA coordinator on July 26, 1992.
- The Village completed their Transition Plan on July 22, 1992, which listed, in detail, all structural changes to be made in order to comply with the ADA. The Village Board then adopted this plan.
- The Village grievance procedure was adopted on July 22, 1992.
- A public notice was published in the Midlothian-Bremen Messenger, of a special meeting in order to hold a public hearing pertaining to Village Self-Evaluation as mandated by the ADA, on January 26, 1993.
- The Village's Self-Evaluation Plan was completed and adopted by the Village Board on January 26, 1993. This plan included the removal of physical barriers to Village programs, program accessibility options, and Village employment policies.
- Based on the Village's Transition Plan, the Village has made modifications necessary to comply with the Department's title II regulation.
- The Village developed a sidewalk data base to track tripping hazards and other barriers to accessibility. Since 2005, the Village has spent over $300,000 repairing sidewalks and maintains plans to continue.
- Per the Village's Self Evaluation plan, all administrative personnel are required to be aware of the telephone relay system provided by Illinois Relay Center to enable effective communication with persons who have communication disabilities who communicate using a TTY.
- The Village purchased new TTY keyboards and two interface units for existing Emergency 9-1-1 telecommunications.
- Within two months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village 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 Village; 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 six months of the effective date of this Agreement, and on yearly anniversaries of this Agreement until it expires, the Village 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 Village's accessible programs, services, and activities.
- Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village 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
- Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village 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 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.).
- The Village will take steps to ensure that all appropriate employees are trained and practiced in using the Illinois Relay Service to make and receive calls.
- Within 18 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will provide documentation stating that it no longer bears the responsibility for 9-1-1 emergency services.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
- Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will adapt for its own use and implement the Village of Midlothian Police Department's Policy Statement on Effective Communication with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing [Attachment C] and distribute to all department officers the Guide for Law Enforcement Officers When in Contact with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing [Attachment D].
- Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village 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 six months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will ensure that each police station or substation and each jail 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 inmate telephone calls are time-limited, the Village will adopt policies permitting inmates 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.
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES AND POLICIES
- If the Village 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 Village will ensure that the other entity complies with the following provisions on its behalf.
- Within 12 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will implement and report to the Department 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 12 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will implement and report to the Department 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 Village adopts or maintains such a registry, its report to the Department 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 Village plan should address accessible transportation needs for persons with disabilities.
- Within 12 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will implement and report to the Department 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.
WEB-BASED SERVICES AND PROGRAMS
- Within six months of the effective date of this Agreement, and on subsequent anniversaries of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village 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 Village (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 Village 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.
NEW CONSTRUCTION, ALTERATIONS, PROGRAM ACCESSIBILITY,
AND PHYSICAL CHANGES TO FACILITIES
- The Village will ensure that all buildings and facilities constructed by or on behalf of the Village are constructed in full compliance with the requirements of 28 C.F.R. § 35.151, including applicable architectural standards.
- The Village will ensure that alterations to Village facilities are made in full compliance with the requirements of 28 C.F.R. § 35.151, including applicable architectural standards.
- The Village will ensure that its programs, services, and activities, including those occurring in facilities not specifically referenced in this Agreement, comply with the program accessibility requirements of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. §§ 35.149 - 35.151.
- The elements or features of the Village facilities that do not comply with the Standards, including those listed in Attachments I, J, K, and L, prevent persons with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying the Village services, programs, or activities and may 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 Village will comply with the cited provisions of the Standards when taking the actions required by this Agreement.
- Within 12 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village 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.
- Program Access in Village Existing Facilities: In order to ensure that each of the Village 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 Village 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 Village will submit written reports to the Department summarizing the actions the Village 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 Village 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 12 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will develop or procure a two-hour training program on the requirements of the ADA and appropriate ways of serving persons with disabilities. The Village 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.
- Within 18 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Village will deliver its training program to all Village employees who have direct contact with members of the public. At the end of that period, the Village 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
- If at any time the Village 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.
- The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time upon 60 days notice. If the Department believes that the Village 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 Village 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 60 days of the date it provides notice to the Village, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement.
- For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for the Village to fail to reasonably 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.
- 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.
- 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 Village or the Department 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 Village's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
- This Agreement will remain in effect for three years.
- The person signing for the Village represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Village to this Agreement.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
For the Village of Midlothian,
an Illinois Municipal Corporation:
Terrence M. Stephens
For the United States:
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
JEANINE M. WORDEN, Deputy Chief
DOV LUTZKER, Special Counsel
JOSH MENDELSOHN, Supervisory Attorney
SUSAN GEIPE QUINN, Investigator
MICHELE MALLOZZI, Architect
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
(202) 514-7821 (fax)
Date: July 28, 2009
On June 17, 2008, the Department published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register. In the NPRM, the Department proposed amending the regulation implementing title II of the ADA, including the proposed adoption of new architectural accessibility standards used to comply with the program accessibility requirements of the regulation and the proposed elimination of the option of using UFAS as the architectural accessibility standards used to comply with the program accessibility requirements of the regulation. A copy of the NPRM is available on the ADA Home Page at www.ada.gov. If this proposed regulatory amendment is adopted, state and local governments will no longer be permitted to use UFAS as the architectural accessibility standards for compliance with the program accessibility requirements of the title II regulation. Any final rule effectuating a change to the title II regulation, including any change to architectural accessibility standards, will be published in the Federal Register and on the ADA Home Page.
Project Civic Access | ADA Home Page
September 8, 2008