TITLE VI POLICY STATEMENT

Pickens County is determined that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin as provided by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any county program or activity.  Pickens County further asserts that every effort will be made to ensure nondiscrimination in all of its programs and activities.

Pickens County receives Federal Financial Assistance.  In the event that Pickens County distributes SCDOT federal aid funds to another entity, Pickens County will include Title VI language in all written agreements and will monitor for compliance.

The Pickens County Title VI Coordinator and liaison staff members are responsible for initiating and monitoring Title VI activities as required by 23 CFR 200 and 49 CFR 21.

TITLE VI PUBLIC NOTIFICATION AND OUTREACH

Pickens County will solicit public input on an ongoing basis through social media strategy including, but not necessarily limited to the County’s website and other tools. This approach will provide opportunities for proactive, early, and continuing public participation for Pickens County projects, programs and decision making.  Pickens County will hold meetings in locations accessible to people with disabilities.  Meetings will be scheduled at convenient times to make attending more manageable.  Minutes for these meetings will be posted on county website. Link is http://www.co.pickens.sc.us/council/Agendas/default.aspx.

Pickens County will advertise all public meetings in English and Spanish.  Pickens County will also provide notice of the availability of language assistance upon reasonable request time.  The county will also partner with community groups to engage members of the public who are less likely to come to public meetings, such as minorities or low income families.

Pickens County has identified the following relevant groups for Title VI analysis:

• The general public
• Low income
• Federal assistance recipients
• Minority
• Elderly
• LEP or English spoken as a second language
• Disabled populations

Public Notices – To engage in efforts to reach a greater portion of the Spanish speaking population, all public notes regarding any federally funded projects will be provided in English and Spanish.  A translator will be available, upon reasonable advance request, at public meetings.  In addition, a sign-in sheet will be at all public meetings so that staff can make sure that data will reflect the population served.

Pickens County believes that public input into its process is valuable and makes its products better.  The qualitative information derived from citizen involvement is essential to good decision-making.  As a matter of long-standing policy and a requirement of federal law, the County planning process will make special efforts to consider the concerns of traditionally underserved communities, including low-income and minority communities and people with disabilities.  Press releases and advertisements for meetings are sent to the following media sources for publishing: The Greenville News, Anderson Independent Mail, Upstate Today, Easley Progress, and The Pickens Courier. Such notices are also posted on Pickens County’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

PICKENS COUNTY AMERICAN WITH DISABILITIES (ADA) POLICY

Americans with Disabilities (ADA) of 1990, requires Pickens County to make its programs, services and jobs accessible to persons with disabilities.  Pickens County does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities with regard to standard procedures for filing of Requests for Accommodation or Complaints for citizens, applicants and/or employees.

1. CITIZENS

Any citizen of Pickens County who believes that he/she requires an accommodation, or has been discriminated against based upon a disability as described in the ADA with regard to the provision of a program or service by Pickens County, shall have the right to submit a Request of Accommodation or a Discrimination Complaint.

2. EMPLOYEES/APPLICANTS

Any applicant or employee of Pickens County who is disabled as described in the ADA may file a Request for Reasonable Accommodation in the event that he/she believes that such a request is necessary to perform the essential functions of his/her job.  Any applicant or employee may file a Discrimination Complaint in the event that he/she has been discriminated against with respect to the hiring process, or with regard to the terms or conditions of employment.

All complaints or RRA shall be submitted to Human Resources, to the ADA Coordinator.  The ADA Coordinator is the employee designated by the County Administrator with the responsibility of facilitating and coordinating all ADA issues, complaints and RRA for Pickens County. 


CITIZEN REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATION

All informal citizen inquiries or concerns regarding accessibility to Pickens County programs or services should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at the Human Resources Department at 864-898-5940.  A request or inquiry may also be submitted in writing to:
  
   Michael Hayes, ADA Coordinator
   Pickens County Human Resources Department
   222 McDaniel Ave B-14
   Pickens, SC 29671

In the event that a Department receives an informal inquiry or concern from a citizen, the Department shall forward the expressed concern or inquiry to the ADA Coordinator immediately.  The ADA Coordinator will work with any Department involved or affected, and respond directly to the citizen to any inquiry or question received on an informal basis.

Formal Requests for Accommodation

A citizen may file a Citizen Request for Accommodation in the event he/she perceives that an accommodation is necessary in order for the citizen to have the ability to utilize a program or service offered by the County.  This form may be downloaded from the “Title VI” section of the   Human Resource page on the Pickens County website. All formal requests will be directed to the ADA Coordinator.

Submission of Requests to ADA Coordinator by Departments

In the event that any Department should receive a formal request for accommodation by a citizen, the Department shall immediately forward such request for the ADA Coordinator.  Upon receipt of a RFA, the ADA Coordinator will consult the Department involved and investigate and determine whether the requested accommodation, which will be countersigned by the Department Head of the affected Department.  The recommendation will then be forwarded to the Administrator or Assistant Administrator for review and approval.  In the event that the Department Head does not agree with the recommendation of the ADA Coordinator, then the Coordinator shall submit his/her recommendation to the Division Director for review. The Division Director may elect to approve the recommendation of the ADA Coordinator, or adopt an alternate recommendation.  The Assistant Admin will then forward the recommended action to the County Administrator for review and approval.  After approval by the County Administrator, the Citizen will be notified in writing by the ADA Coordinator of the final determination with respect to the RFA, including whether or not any accommodation will be undertaken, a description of any approved accommodation, and the estimated time frame for implementation.  A citizen who is aggrieved by the determination of Pickens County with regard to a RFA may appeal the decision in writing to the County Administrator, within 14 days of the mailing of the determination by Pickens County.  Individuals requiring assistance in the process of completing a written appeal may obtain assistance from Human Resources.  The decision of the County Administrator with respect to the appeal shall be final and binding.

EMPLOYEE/APPLICANT REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATION

Requests for Reasonable Accommodation - In the event that applicant or employee of Pickens County wishes to request that an accommodation be extended to him/her with respect to the performance of the essential functions of his/her job, or in regard to the employment application process, this request shall be submitted in writing.  The employee or applicant shall submit an Employment Request for Accommodation.  This form may be downloaded from the “Title VI” section of the Human Resource website, which is located on the Pickens County website, http://www.co.pickens.sc.us/. All ERFA (employment requests for accommodation) shall be directed to the ADA Coordinator.

Investigation and Recommendations

Upon request of an ERFA, the ADA Coordinator will consult the Department involved, and the applicant or employee, to investigate and determine whether an accommodation is appropriate, feasible and/or reasonable.  The ADA Coordinator will then make a recommendation, which will be countersigned if agreed to by the Department Head.  The recommendation will then be forwarded to the County Administrator for review or approval.  In the event that the Department Head does not agree with the recommendation of the ADA Coordinator, then the ADA Coordinator shall submit his/her recommendation to the Administrator for review.  The Administrator may elect to approve the recommendation of the ADA Coordinator, or adopt an alternate recommendation.  The applicant or employee will be notified in writing by the ADA Coordinator of the final determination with respect to the RFA after approval by the County Administrator.  In the event that the applicant or employee is aggrieved by the final determination of the County with respect to the RFA, the applicant or employee may appeal in writing to the County Administrator, within 14 days from the mailing of the written notice of the final determination.  The applicant or employee shall set forth the reasons for the appeal, and may suggest an alternative proposed accommodation from the accommodation originally requested.  The decision of the County Administrator with respect to the appeal shall be final and binding.

TITLE VI DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

Complaint Procedures for Federally Assisted Programs and Activities – These procedures cover all complaints filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, including it DBE, EEO, and OJT Components, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, relating to any transportation of Public Works program or activity administered by Pickens County, as well as to subrecipients, consultants, and contractors.  These procedures apply to complaints filed against a program and/or activity funded by either the FHWA, FTA, or FAA.  The procedures outline herein do not obstruct or deny the right of any complainant to file formal complaints with other state or federal agencies or to seek private council for complaints alleging discrimination.  Every effort will be made to resolve complaints at the lowest level.  The option of informal mediation between the affected parties and the investigator may be utilized to explore potential resolutions at any stage of the process.  The investigator will make every effort to pursue complaint resolution, and will request information concerning the relief sought and settlement possibilities at the initial interview stage.  Any individual or community that wishes to file a Title VI complaint or discuss concerns regarding Pickens County Government’s process or procedures may contact:

Title VI Coordinator/Pickens County Human Resources Department
Tel: 864-898-5831

Eligibility

If any individual, group of individuals or entity believes that they or any other program beneficiaries have been subjected to discrimination prohibited by Title VI as a recipient of benefits and/or services, he/she may file a complaint with Pickens County.  Title VI complaints filed by an aggrieved party received by an employee or department should be directed to the Title VI Coordinator.  Employees or departments who receive informal or formal complaints under Title VI must notify the Title VI Coordinator of the complaint as soon as possible.  Title VI complaint forms are available online at http://www.co.pickens.sc.us/ in the Title VI section of the HR site, or may be obtained in person from a Human Resources office during regular business hours.


Title VI Complaint Process for all other County Departments

1. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title VI Coordinator will review the complaint to determine whether it falls within the jurisdiction of the County under Title VI.

2. The Title VI Coordinator will forward a copy of the complaint to the County Administrator, County Attorney, and the SCDOT for investigation.

3. In order to be accepted, a complaint must meet the following criteria:

    • Must be filed within 180 days of the alleged occurrence or issue
    • Must involve a covered basis such as race, color, or national origin
    • Must involve a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance

4.    The SCDOT will be notified of complaints received and intent to investigate.  If the SCDOT accepts the complaint it will assume responsibility for the investigation.

5.    If the complaint involves a matter in which Pickens County is not a sub-recipient of the SCDOT, then Pickens County will conduct its own investigation and forward a Report of Investigation to the Administrator, County Attorney, and affected Department.

6.    In the event the Complainant is not satisfied with the results of the investigatory process, they shall be advised of their right to appeal SCDOT’s decision.  Appeals must be received by the DOT within 60 days of the Report’s mailing to the complainant.  The decision of the DOT will be final.

7.    Pickens County Government will maintain a log of all complaints received.  The log will include the name of the complainant and respondent, the basis of the complaint, the date received, the date SCDOT notified, the disposition of the complaint and an explanation of the actions taken or proposed to resolve the issue raised in the complaint.