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Testimony of Director Derek K. Orr at the FY12 Budget Oversight Hearing

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Office of Disability Rights Council of the District of Columbia
Committee on Government Operations and the Environment
Budget Oversight Hearing
April 20, 2012
10 am
John A. Wilson Building
Room 412
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Good morning, Councilmember Bowser and other distinguished members of the Committee, staff and stakeholders. I am Derek Orr, Director of the District of Columbia Office of Disability Rights. Thank you for the invitation to appear before you today and present highlights of the Fiscal Year 2013 Office of Disability Rights budget.

The mission of the Office of Disability Rights is to ensure that the programs, services, benefits, activities and facilities operated or funded by the District of Columbia are fully accessible to, and useable by, people with disabilities. ODR is responsible for ensuring that District government is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other federal and District disability rights laws. To accomplish this mission, we provide training, technical assistance, policy recommendations, expertise and informal dispute resolution to District agencies and the disability community.

The Mayor’s FY 2013 budget for the Office of Disability Rights is an effective and efficient budget plan that ensures the necessary funding for the programs and services legislatively mandated and new initiatives planned for the Office of Disability Rights.
The proposed Office of Disability Rights budget for Fiscal Year 2013 is $1,839,671. This is an increase of 13.8 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2012 approved gross budget of $1,616,156.  The budget is comprised of $970,136 in Local Funds; $717,534 in Federal Grant Funds and $152,000 in Intra-District Funds.

The Local Funds budget supports the Office of Disability Rights and Agency Management Program which is comprised of 8 FTE’s; 5 FTE’s in the Office of Disability Rights and 3 FTE’s in the Agency Management Program.

The Federal Grant funds the federally mandated initiatives of the Developmental Disabilities Council and 3 FTE’s; the Executive Director, Program Staff and an Administrative Support Staff. The Director of ODR has no access to or control over these dollars and by Federal Regulations from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD), the agency must maintain a “non-interference” position as to how the DDC allocates and spends its annual grant dollars.

Lastly, effective in FY 2012, ODR implemented a city-wide initiative to manage sign language interpretation services.  As such, the City Administrator and ODR entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with District agencies requiring those agencies to transfer to ODR funding for their sign language interpretation services.  
The estimated amount expected to be collected through intra-district process for FY 2013 is $152,000

In Fiscal Year 2013, ODR will be responsible for achieving the following Performance Plan measures:

  • 70 DC-owned and leased buildings will be modified for accessibility.
  • 30 Agencies trained on Section 508 and content management to ensure web accessibility.
  • 1,000 DC employees, contractors and grantees receiving ADA training
  • 420 technical assistance calls/complaints/re-source requests handled within 30 days;
  • 85 ADA Compliance Plans completed and being implemented;
  • 450 Sign-Language requests completed.
  • 30 Reasonable Accommodations provided to District employees.
  • Production of an on-demand video training program that will review the intent and protections of Title I (Employment mandates) of the American with Disabilities Act.
  • Development of a resource and technical assistance guide for consumers, support systems and relevant stakeholders targeted to community resources that support transition from institutional living to community inclusion.

Year to date for FY ’12, ODR has achieved significant accomplishments in several key performance measures and responsibilities, this includes:

  • Responded to 256 or 52% of our target goal in the handling of complaints, requests for technical assistance and information and referral;
  • Provided training to 460 or 61% of our target training goal to employees, consumers, grantees and contractors;
  • Fulfilled 256 or 52% of our target goal for Sign Language Interpretation requests.
  • Released the District’ Olmstead Initiative, “DC – One Community for All”
  • ODR maintains an active role providing Fair Housing Act training to employees and appointees of DCRA, the Historic Preservation Board and the Board of Zoning.
  • ODR actively participates in the new hire orientation provided by the DC Department of Human Resources providing guidance on the Districts “Effective Communication” policy and the Districts “Reasonable Accommodation” policy.

ODR continues to work collaboratively with DGS to ensure that the $20.4M allotted to address ADA capital improvements is implemented strategically across the District’s portfolio. To enhance the planning and execution of priority projects an ADA Master Plan was completed in 1st quarter of FY12.   

The following projects have been funded utilizing ADA Compliance funds allotted:.

  • Development of an ADA Master Plan at a cost of approximately $575,000.
  • ADA Capital Improvements to the Corcoran and Kramer of approximately $211,000.
  • ADA Capital Improvements to the New York Avenue Shelter of approximately $563,000.
  • ADA Capital Improvements to the Madison Shelter of approximately $460,000.
  • ADA Capital Improvements to V Street Permanent Supportive Housing $100K
  • ADA Capital Improvements to Federal City Shelter  $200K (Federal City Shelter was one of the locations sited in the most recent lawsuit brought against the District).

In FY ’13 $760,00 will be invested in ADA Compliance projects with a priority focus on parks and recreation facilities operated by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.

In closing, thank you for the opportunity to present before you today and I am happy to discuss this testimony.