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NLC teleconferencing network addresses ADA.

Featuring diverse speakers at several sites, the National League of Cities held a second training teleconference dialogue on August 25, 1992 on the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The focus of the two hour session was the mandates' equal opportunity for qualified individuals with disabilities in employment by city, state, and local government.

NLC Executive Director Donald J. Borut set the tone of the teleconference by stressing the importance of the new federal law, which went into effect for cities on January 26, 1992.

The teleconference was facilitated by William E. Davis, director of NLC's Center for Education and Information Resources, and included presentations and discussions among participants in Austin, Tex.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Orlando, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; Monrovia, Calif. and Washington, D.C.

Linda Schulte, president of the City Council of Laurel, Md., a small suburban community nestled between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, shared her perspectives as an elected official trying to comply with ADA as well as a person with a disability. Her view is that elected officials are leaders in the community and can be spokespersons and implementors to make the law work in a balanced, effective manner.

More specific information on job applications, descriptions, and interviews was presented by Betty Siegel, an ADA consultant in Austin, Tex., and Tony Blanca, bureau chief in the City of Orlando's Personnel Management Department. Siegel urged that job descriptions be current, complete, and accurate. They should describe what the person actually does and delineate what the incumbent/applicant must do to succeed. The latter are the essential job functions. Other duties are marginal functions. Siegel reviewed a sample job description that had been distributed. Blanca discussed how the City of Orlando determined essential job functions and approached job descriptions. He noted how ADA effected other personnel practices, such as pre-employment physical examinations.

Oral Miller, executive director of the American Council of the Blind, Washington, D.C., urged city officials to consult with the disabled individual in determining the accommodation. He displayed a number of devices, including a simple talking calculator. Bear in mind that in determining whether an accommodation is reasonable it is the added cost (the feature which provides Braille on the computer screen) not the basic cost (the computer and the screen) that determines reasonableness.

Attorney Charles D. Goldman is a recognized expert on the new ADA law and frequently writes a column on this subject for NCW.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities; Americans with Disabilities Act
Author:Goldman, Charles D.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 31, 1992
Previous Article:Political possibilities are keys to working with public.
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