LSHA Berry nixes ADA compliance
Columbia County, FL (posted
Columbia County’s iron fisted Lake Shore Hospital
Authority (“LSHA”) chairman, Jack Berry, has
demonstrated that for him, the letter and the spirit of
the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) doesn’t have
much influence. Mr. Berry’s secretive and totalitarian
rule has left the handicapped and physically challenged
as second class citizens at the LSHA campus in Columbia
The Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) enables
people with disabilities to join the mainstream of
American life. In many communities more people with
disabilities are enjoying access.
for the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”),
Alex Acosta, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil
Rights explained that according to the census bureau
almost half of all people over 65 have a disability. Mr.
Acosta said that more than one in five have a disability
and that “more people than ever are enjoying access.” He
was not talking about the LSHA.
Wodatch of the DOJ explained that compliance with the
ADA is not optional. He said, “There are no grandfather
provisions in the ADA, it’s a civil right.” “The law is
about common sense.”
The LSHA’s Operating Policies and Procedures should
explain its relationship with ADA policies and their
responsibilities to those with disabilities. The
Observer has been unable to find any such LSHA policy.
The LSHA is not handicapped friendly
The LSHA is not handicapped friendly and the LSHA
campus is nothing short of a mine field for the
physically handicapped and challenged.
Curb cuts and clearly marked walkways are missing
from many sidewalks and roads. In some areas where there
could and should be sidewalks, there are none. Van
accessible parking spaces are not marked in the Lake
Shore Hospital parking lot and some of the handicapped
spaces flood easily and lack the proper drainage and
accessibility to walkways.
Shands employee and hospital administrator, Ms.
Rhonda Sherrod, in a brief walk around with the Observer
said she wants her hospital to be in compliance.
Berry was not so cooperative
Lake Shore Hospital Authority chairman, Jack Berry,
was not so cooperative, demonstrating once again that
nobody tells him what to do, including the Federal
On the afternoon of August 10, 2009 the LSHA
attempted to have two previously scheduled meetings at
their newly renovated jail. The Authority did not have a
quorum, but the meetings seemed to go on, anyway.
In this Ariel photo the distance
from the handicapped parking spaces (circled in red) to
the front entrance is clearly visible. The entrance is
underneath the camera. It is obvious that someone with
crutches or respiratory problems could be at risk.
At the conclusion the meetings, the Observer noticed
that the handicapped parking spaces accessible to the
new LSHA building were far away across the street and
clearly not in compliance with the regulations set forth
in the ADA.
This part of the act is straightforward.
It is the law and common sense that accessible
parking spaces should be the spaces closest to the
Your reporter pointed out to Mr. Berry that at the
west entrance to the building there was a new concrete
curb where there was none before and that the
handicapped ramp was very close to the parking spaces,
yet was inaccessible.
The Observer to Mr. Berry: Jack, why don’t you fix
this? This is the space closest to the building. I think
you need a curb cut here.
Mr. Berry: We have handicapped spaces across the
street in the parking lot.
The Observer: But they are supposed to be closest to
Mr. Berry: Talk to the contractor or to the city.
They approved the plans.
The Observer: Come on Jack.
Mr. Berry (red shirt) turned his back and walked away. A curb cut by
the ramp would be common sense.
Chairman Berry turned his back and walked away to his
truck, which was parked in the new parking lot. Then he
turned to the Observer and yelled across the street, “If
you know somebody that needs some help gettin to the buildin you tell em to call me.”
A few days later, the Observer spoke to Lake City’s
building director, Larry Lee about the parking and road
that runs along the west side of the LSHA building. Mr.
Lee said, “That road was closed years ago for parking.”
Mr. Lee explained that he believed the supervision of
the road was given to the county sheriff and has
remained under county control ever since.
The deficiencies at the LSHA renovated county jail,
now called the administrative complex are clear.
Jack Berry protégé, Commissioner Jody DuPree, was the
construction manager for this project. He worked hand in
hand with the engineer and Chairman Berry.
Sally Conway of the Justice Department, “You don’t
have to do every single thing at once. You don’t have to
gut your building and make every single change in the
world.” “You need to remove barriers that are readily
achievable.” “The important thing is getting folks with
disabilities into your door.” “The important thing is
you do something and you do it now.”
Before the LSHA renovated the jail for their staff of
one, there was parking alongside the main entrance of
the building. The Hospital Authority should have planned
for a passenger loading zone. Instead -- it planted
Sally Conway: The important thing is that people with
disabilities aren’t any different. They want to be
treated fairly and honestly, with dignity and respect,
just like everybody else.
Earlier this year Mr. Berry told the Observer, “I
receive my marching orders from the Governor’s office.”
... “We’re going to do things by the law as long as I’m