From: William Pumphrey Jr.
This community prides itself on inclusion of all which reside here. The Republic wrote in a March 11 article, “Consulting budget wiped out; Americans with Disabilities mandate a challenge for city.” The writer interprets the civil rights legislation, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990, as an “unfunded federal mandate.” Rick Flohr, president of Bartholomew County commissioners, said the budgeted consultant money awarded to DLZ for $39,000 is being spent to be in compliance with the ADA. The write-up continues to say that if the county doesn’t do this, it risks losing as much as $3 million.
This is not an unfunded mandate. You get money by following the ADA civil rights law. How greedy can one get? Larry Kleinhenz is then quoted as saying “It’s like spending $100 at the supermarket, and walking out without anything.” No, Larry, it’s more like emptying the shelf and hoping no one is looking.
There was no need to hire a consultant in the first place. The previous mayor developed the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability and Accessibility, and the current mayor has elected to continue it. They are a hand-picked group of people who work with and live with a disability every day and know their rights. Not only were they at your disposal, there is another resource available free of charge. It’s called the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. The Human Rights Commission in Columbus can acquire it for you. So, Mr. and Mrs. taxpayer, someone is emptying your shelves, hoping you’re not looking.
The news story goes on to say that deputy auditor Sandy Beatty said the commissioners have ways to get more funds for consulting if needed. So it must be misleading to have mentioned “Consulting budget wiped out.” The only wipe needed in this brilliant article is the eyes of some grumpy people who would like to use Americans with Disabilities as a scapegoat to shed some tears over providing them their civil rights so they too can be included in this so-called diverse community.