Commission on Disabilities

The Commission on Disabilities is under creation, approved Nov. 20, 2019 by Special Town Meeting.  There are five positions available. The Selectboard, as the appointing authority, appoints residents to positions three times a year - February, June and October. If you are interested in applying to the Commission on Disabilities, please apply here. The Administration Office will coordinate with you for a February interview.

Meetings

  • Regular meetings shall be held at least six  times a year. A quorum shall consist of three members. This commission will operate in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

Agendas & Minutes

       TBD


Name Title Term Expiration 
     
     
     
     
     

Mission Statement 

The purpose of the commission is to coordinate or carry out programs in coordination with programs of the Massachusetts Office on Disability in order to bring about full and equal participation in all aspects of life in the Town of South Hadley - for people with disabilities.  The purpose of these bylaws is to establish principles, policies and procedures for the governance of this commission.


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

Members


South Hadley Town Meeting Members approved on Nov. 20, 2019 the creation of a five-member Commission on Disabilities. The Selectboard is the appointing authority. The majority must be persons with disabilities and one may be a member of the immediate family of a person with a disability. In addition, one member must be an elected or appointed municipal official.

The members shall initially serve the following terms: (a.) Two members shall serve one-year terms; (b.) Two members shall serve two-year terms; and (c.) One member shall serve three-year terms. After the initial term, all members shall serve three-year terms.  Resignation shall be made by notifying the chairperson in writing and filing with the town clerk. 
The Selectboard shall fill any vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term in the same manner as an original appointment. No member may act on his/her own without prior approval of the Commission.  



Officers


The officers shall include a chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary. Officers shall be elected annually by the majority vote of the Commission. 

Duties: The chairperson shall develop the agenda in coordination with the other officers; preside over all meetings; appoint subcommittees as needed; and authorize expenditures as needed. (The vice chairperson shall perform all the functions of the chairperson in his/her absence.) The secretary shall: Keep records of all meetings attendance, minutes, and correspondence; post notice of all meetings forty-eight (48) hours before each meeting at the Town Clerk’s Office.

Meetings

Regular meetings shall be held at least six  times a year. A quorum shall consist of three members. This commission will operate in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.


Powers & Duties


1. Research, understand, evaluate and advocate local issues, challenges and opportunities encountered by people with disabilities. 
2. Coordinate the activities of other local groups organized to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
3. Review and make recommendations about policies, procedures, services and activities of departments and agencies of the Town of South Hadley - as they affect people with disabilities. 
4. Work in cooperation with the departments and agencies of the Town of South Hadley - to bring about maximum participation of people with disabilities. 
5. Initiate, monitor, and promote legislation at the city, state and federal level which advances the equal status of people with disabilities.
 6. Encourage public awareness of disability issues. 
7. Provide information and advice to individuals, businesses, organizations and public agencies in all matters pertaining to disability. 
8. File an annual report, which shall be printed in the Town report. 
9. Receive gifts of property, both real and personal in the name of the Town subject to the approval of the Selectboard or Town Meeting as appropriate. 
10. Take such action as the Commission considers appropriate to ensure the equal access status of persons with disabilities. 


ADA Self Evaluation & Transition Plan

The Town of South Hadley recently had an ADA Self Evaluation and Transition Plan performed by Center for Living. This report is an essential requirement in respect to numerous grant and program applications for both the federal and state government.


There were many items identified in the report which will need attention.  The place to start is by establishing a COD under the provisions of MGL Chapter 40 section 8J which will establish a “Commission” to assist in making South Hadley accessible by structural changes or by way of providing accommodations.

Read the ADA Summary, here.

Read the full South Hadley Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan, here

Read the Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan Cost Estimate, here.  

Accessibility


The Town of South Hadley is committed to serving all citizens. We continue to improve our services and website content to make town hall services accessible for everyone. If you are having accessibility issues, please contact Acting ADA Coordinator Matt Cowie at (413) 538-5017 ext 134 or by email here. We will work to accommodate your in-person service request or offer an alternate format / update our website content to make it more accessible to you and others.