Commission on Disabilities

Mission:

  • To advise and assist municipal officials in ensuring compliance with federal and state disability laws;
  • To review policies and activities of municipal departments and boards as they affect persons with disabilities;
  • To provide information, referral, advocacy and technical assistance to individuals, businesses and organizations in all matters pertaining to disability
  • To coordinate the activities of other local groups organized to meet the needs of persons with disabilities

Tasks:

  • Research local problems of people with disabilities.
  • Coordinate the activities of other local groups organized to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
  • Review and make recommendations about policies, procedures, services and activities of departments and agencies of the Town of Harvard as they affect people with disabilities.
  • Work in cooperation with the departments and agencies of the Town of Harvard to bring about maximum participation of people with disabilities.
  • Initiate, monitor, and promote legislation at the town, state and federal level which advances the equal status of people with disabilities and ensure that appropriate regulations are adopted and enforced pursuant to such legislation.
  • Encourage public awareness of disability issues.
  • Provide information, referral, guidance and advice to individuals, businesses, organizations and public agencies in all matters pertaining to disability.
  • Recruit and recommend prospective Commission members to the Select Board. At least one month prior to making recommendations, the Commission shall solicit nominations and ensure that said nominations reflect different disabilities.
  • File an annual report, which shall be printed in the Town report.

Membership:
Commissions consist of no fewer than five members chosen by the Select Board. The majority must be persons with disabilities and one may be a member of the immediate family of a person with a disability. One must be an elected or appointed municipal official.

Applicable Laws:
MGL chapter 40 section 8J, gives municipalities the authority to establish commissions;
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires inclusion and integration of persons with disabilities in the programs, services and employment opportunities of organizations and agencies that receive federal money;
Amendment Article 114 of the Massachusetts Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability under any service or program within the Commonwealth;
The regulations of the Architectural Access Board require access in newly built and renovated building.

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