Published on September 19, 2015
1. Observe & Report What's Under the Umbrella of Title VI Protections? The Facts and Farces of Grant Com Iiance TITLE V 1. ; *'~_, .. Civil Rights Actii = -«. »—- -—'~, -sk. 45,3’,
2. To understand how Title VI and the Americans with Disabilities Act covered citizens are supposed to be protected, let's start by taking a look at an excerpt from the "Contract Administration Core Curriculum Manual" (2014) of the Federal Highway Administration. How does this relate to your Civil Rights? Well, anyone or any municipality that gets grant dollars from the federal govemment, any federal agency, signs an agreement (when they do that) that says that their buildings, programs, services and events do not discriminate against anyone. The idea is that "taken on a whole'', they are in compliance with ALL federal laws related to The Civil Rights of anyone covered under these laws. This would include, people with disabilities, women, the elderly, people that are not caucasian (white) in race and people with varied ethnic and religious backgrounds. Take a look at this excerpt from page 19 of the manual to start with: "Nondiscrimination provisions apply to all programs and activities of Federal—aid recipients, sub—reclpients, and contractors, regardless of tier. Tire obligation to not discriminate is based on the objective of Congress to prohibit the use of Federal funds in ways that subsidize, promote or perpetuate discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, or physical or mental disability.
3. Primary recipients are responsible for determining and obtaining compliance by the sub-recipients and contractors. The basic statutory authority for the nondiscrimination requirement is Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which FHWA implements through 23 CFR 200. Title VI mandates that Federal assistance not be used to discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Through enactment of other legislative acts, the mandate has expanded to prohibit discrimination on the additional grounds of religion, sex, age, and disability. " Taking the example of the Federal Highway Administration further, this would mean that any money granted to your town, city, county or village would be monitored by an oversight entity at the State level. In most states, this would be the Department of Transportation.
4. Generally, the federal agency involved gives the grant money to the state, then the state "dishes" it out to sub- recipients at the county, city, town or village levels. Then the state is required by federal law to MAKE SURE that their sub—recipients are in compliance or have a compliance plan in place to address various Civil Rights concems. And, for citizens, this is where things become troubling. Many states have very similar "language" that they use in their contracts with their sub—recipients. They charge the sub-recipient with the duty to comply with Civil Rights laws or lose funding. The problem is that many states take no action to actively insure that a sub-recipient is in compliance BEFORE they grant any money and they take little to no action to monitor for compliance after the sub-recipient is a “regular” grantee. Once you get money for the ﬁrst time, you're in a "cycle" and it's very hard for the people affected by violations to get compliance without active monitoring and consequences. State agencies have excuses, lots of them.
5. Even when people ﬁle Title VI (Civil Rights) complaints, many state level monitoring agencies claim that they do not have enough staff to investigate the claims or to correct the actions or lack of actions that violate the citizen's civil rights. Or, they will claim that they have addressed the complaint by simply writing a correction letter to the violating entity. That's kind of like telling your kids not to eat the cookies. ... and then leaving them alone in the room with them. “I couldn't help it, I was hungry! " is what your kids would say. The sub-recipients will say: “We couldn't help it, we didn't understand! ''. Let's see they signed a contract and had to have their lawyers review that contract (federally required), but they didn't understand? The worst part of this is that the state level monitors are quite happy to “let this be” because it reduces their workload. Some attempts might be made to provide education, but then, it is, once again, up to the aggrieved person to bring problems to the attention of either the state or federal authority that monitors the sub- recipient if things are not corrected or if they get corrected brieﬂy, then go "back to the old habits”. To me, this is a fundamental problem with Civil Rights protections. They depend on people being obedient to the law "because we say so". Every parent in the world knows how well this type of directive works, especially with teenagers.
6. Now imagine “teenagers” who live and work at the exponential level of an elected leader or a bureaucrat in Municipality, USA. We have the combined problem of lack of monitoring with fairly large egos and “feet in the mud" postures when it comes to change. ... .changing anything. And to get compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or with Title VI usually means something has to change. Have questions? Want to comment? Write to the author, Debra Buell, at: Rea| Wor1dasDisabled@gmail. com Copyright (c) 2015 Debra A. Buell
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