Welcome to the Josephine County Board of Commissioners workshop. In this session, we will discuss the importance of the Ada coordinator position and its role in ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Board is currently considering the possibility of cutting the position or finding a new home for it within another department. It is essential to understand the implications of such a decision and the potential effects on the county’s ADA compliance efforts.
The Role of the ADA Coordinator
The Ada coordinator position is responsible for various tasks related to ADA compliance. Firstly, they respond to Ada complaints from the public. This involves investigating the issues raised and finding suitable solutions to address them. Additionally, the coordinator plays a crucial role in drafting the annual ADA compliance plan and working with various departments to ensure compliance with ADA regulations, especially in construction projects.
Advancing ADA Compliance
An often overlooked aspect of the Ada coordinator’s role is their responsibility to show advancements in ADA compliance. This means influencing department heads to allocate budget resources towards improving accessibility. While it can be challenging to measure progress, it is crucial to demonstrate the county’s commitment to making continuous improvements.
Uncertainty Surrounding Future Compliance Goals
One concern that arises when considering ADA compliance is the ever-changing nature of compliance standards. Will the goalposts keep moving, forcing the county to continually invest in improvements? While there are no definitive answers to this question, it highlights the need for the county to stay vigilant and adapt as federal guidelines evolve.
Legal Obligations and Risk Management
Another important aspect to consider is the county’s legal obligations and risk management. The Ada coordinator position serves as a point of contact for public complaints regarding ADA issues. Having a dedicated coordinator ensures that the county can promptly respond and address these concerns. Moreover, in the event of legal disputes, having an Ada coordinator can potentially bolster the county’s defense.
Possible Departmental Homes for the Ada Coordinator
The workshop also explored various options for housing the Ada coordinator position within different departments. Each department has its pros and cons, and it’s important to evaluate them thoroughly.
One option is to centralize the Ada coordinator position within the legal department. While legal possesses the necessary skills to handle lawsuits, they may lack the expertise in compliance issues. There is also the concern that having legal defend the county on the stand in an ADA lawsuit could create conflicts of interest.
Human Resources (HR)
Another option is to keep the position within the HR department. This maintains the status quo and ensures consistent funding for the role. However, the county is currently looking to downsize HR, which may affect the future of the Ada coordinator position.
Facilities could be another department to consider. While they may have the funding to support the role, they may lack the bandwidth required to take on such additional responsibilities. Additionally, it’s not considered best practice to have the same department responsible for both compliance and auditing the compliance work.
Public Works, being funded solely by gas taxes, is not subject to budget constraints. They have the capacity to support the Ada coordinator position. However, concerns arise about whether their funds can be allocated towards non-dedicated services like ADA compliance for facilities.
Building Safety handles ADA compliance for buildings and sidewalks. While they have the necessary expertise, the workload remains a concern. They could potentially manage the on-site tasks, while legal takes care of the paperwork.
Evaluating the Options
When considering departmental homes for the Ada coordinator position, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option and prioritize the county’s needs. In the case of HR, maintaining the status quo provides consistency but may restrict the county’s ability to make necessary organizational changes. On the other hand, considering Facilities or Public Works offers potential funding and capacity for the position but raises concerns about overlapping roles and compliance auditing.
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners must carefully evaluate the impact of the Ada coordinator position on ADA compliance. Each option for housing the position comes with its set of benefits and challenges, and it is crucial to consider budgetary constraints, expertise, and workload distribution. Ultimately, the county’s decision should prioritize advancing ADA compliance, meeting legal obligations, and effectively responding to public complaints. By doing so, Josephine County can ensure it remains proactive in creating a more accessible and inclusive community for all.