© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
In December 2022, WBFO published an investigation into the City of Buffalo's violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This series includes the original and follow-up reporting from that story.

City of Buffalo posts new full-time ADA Coordinator job

Mitch Nowakowski stands to the left. He is wearing a suit and tie, glasses, and has short brown hair and a short beard. BJ Stasio sits in his power wheelchair in the middle of the photo. He has a beard, and is wearing glasses, a grey sweater, grey pants, and a superman hat. Todd Vaarwerk sits next to BJ in a power wheelchair and has grey-brown hair and a beard. He is wearing glasses, a black jacket, a multicolored scarf, and a black shirt.
Emyle Watkins
/
WBFO News
Mitch Nowakowski, BJ Stasio and Todd Vaarwerk pose for a photo after the approval of the new ADA advocate/Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator position on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 in the Buffalo Common Council Chambers. Stasio and Vaarwerk have been vocal advocates for months, asking the city to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by designating a coordinator. Stasio recently developed a resolution with Nowakowski to create a full-time "ADA Advocate" job. After WBFO reported on this, the mayor's office said the city was already working on a similar effort but hadn't communicated it.

Last week, we reported on the City of Buffalo’s moves towards creating a full-time ADA Coordinator, including Common Council approval of the $63,000-a-year position. On Tuesday, the city posted the job, referred to internally as the “Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator." The role is also referred to as an ADA Advocate or ADA Coordinator throughout the job description.

The city is accepting applications through January 6, 2023. The primary duties of the job include fulfilling the legal requirements of the city under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This includes handling accommodations and complaints. The coordinator will also do regular reviews of city programs and policies.

WBFO previously reported the city has not had a designated ADA coordinator for almost a year. Under the law, the city only needs to designate an existing employee to come into compliance. Some municipalities, including Erie County, do have full-time ADA coordinators.

WBFO also previously reported the city's public notices and complaint procedure, which are required under the ADA and typically handled by an ADA coordinator, were out of date. The city has since committed to updating them and has taken their public notice down from the website.

Additionally, the full-time ADA Coordinator will be part of the Mayor’s Office and will report to the Chief Diversity Officer. The job description says the coordinator will also handle accessibility for not only the disability community but for the “newcomer population” as well. They will also help plan diversity and inclusion events and programs.

For the full job description, click here.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.